While they are more than capable of putting on an incredible rock show, OK Go toned down the theatrics for this live-scored performance. Moving in chronological order from their humble beginnings, the Chicago natives played a full set over their quirky music videos. This unique take gave the 500 capacity venue an intimate show highlighting their art and innovation.
They opened their set with their very first video, “Cinnamon Lips,” which was performed in 2007 on Chic-a-go-go, a children’s cable access dance show. The next two songs, “Get Over It” and “Don’t Ask,” featured more traditional 2000’s rock music videos, but entertained the audience nonetheless. The quartet then took a break from their instruments to reenact the full choreography from their 2009 song, “A Million Ways.” The amusing, low-res video was shot in their back yard from a single angle and provided a modest start to what would eventually evolve in to their extravagant, one-take style.
Frontman, Damian Kulash, took the time to answer questions from the crowd, especially younger children. His casual yet articulate banter broke down the barrier between artist and audience, and gave the room an easygoing, friendly vibe.
The tame crowd seemed to enjoy watching the history of OK Go and noting the progress of their work- the most popular being their single, “Here It Goes Again” off of their 2009 album, Oh No. The notorious treadmill choreography was quite impressive but paled in comparison to their later work to come. They continued with “Do What You Want,” and their 2010 single, “WTF?” both of which display psychedelic visuals with the help of green screens.
They then transitioned in to their 2010 LP, Of the Blue Color of the Sky, playing “This Too Shall Pass,” “End Love,” “All is Not Lost,” and “White Knuckles,” the videos for these tracks are all masterpieces in their own regard. Kulash noted that “End Love” took two 21-hour takes, while “White Knuckles” took over 100 takes as they were working with live animals.
After a brief intermission the group came back with a full range of handbells to accompany “Shooting the Moon” and “What to Do.” The band utilized a variety of instruments for “Needing/Getting,” including glass jars, PVC pipes, and plastic buckets to achieve a similar sound to the outlandish, automotive video.
OK Go wound their set down with “The Writing’s on the Wall,” “I Won’t Let You Down,” “Upside Down & Inside Out,” and “The One Moment.” While every ingenious video is executed with extreme precision, their explosive, zero-gravity visuals for “Upside Down & Inside Out” has to be their magnum opus- they explain the process with the documentary, Gravity is just a habit.
Their encore was a cover of Blur’s classic “Song 2.” They invited every child under the age of fourteen to dance on stage with them with one lucky girl, Lily, strumming a single-stringed guitar alongside the band.
While this was an unconventional concert, their creative genius was inspiring and thought-provoking. OK Go deserves far more recognition beyond that one viral video with the treadmills- I highly recommend clicking through and watching all of their videos. The rest of their tour rolls through California next month- find tickets here.