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« Record Store Day 2010, Part 2 Contest: Hotflush Impresario Incyde @ Smartbar 4/22 »

Review Mon Apr 19 2010

Review: OK Go @ Metro 4/17

OK Go has received all kinds of attention lately surrounding their battle royale with record label EMI over YouTube royalties, which even included an op-ed in The New York Times from band leader Damian Kulash. All the drama ultimately ended with the band walking away from EMI (amicably supposedly) and starting their own label, Paracadute Recordings. If you saw their show at Metro on Saturday though, you would never have guessed any of this, outside of a couple remarks from Kulash that major labels suck, and an announcement of the re-release of Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky on their new founded label. Saturday night was all about the music, with fans singing along to every song (including all the new ones), proving that there is more to this band than quirky viral videos.

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OK Go's Damian Kulash makes an adjustment. (Photos by Katie Hovland)

The band of course made it big in thanks to those outlandishly creative music videos, most famously the treadmill video, but those who call them a "gimmicky band" obviously haven't listened to the new album. With or without the green screen magic, the Notre Dame marching band, or the Rube Goldberg Machine, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky is a huge leap forward and a downright great album from start to finish. There are major touches of influence from Prince and The Flaming Lips--no surprise since the album was produced by none other than longtime Lips' producer, Dave Fridmann.

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Tim Nordwind

I found myself wishing I hadn't waited to write about the new album until the show review because there was just so much in the performance worth raving about. They commanded the crowd from the moment they took the stage, bursting out of the gates with "Invincible." Taking a couple more notes from The Flaming Lips, they had the same "nose cameras" projecting on the backdrop, and the stage was so littered with confetti they were practically swimming in it by the end of the show. There were lighters (and cell phones) in the air for "Oh Lately It's So Quiet", tiny tambourines tossed into the crowd for "Get Over It", a special "wallpaper" video for "White Knuckles", a kick-ass Pixies cover, even a special photograph with the audience for Facebook. And, in case you ever doubted their actual musical talent, the song "What To Do" was performed using only hand bells.

Kulash offered a lot of onstage banter, including anecdotes of things heard during their day spent in Wrigleyville on a game day. He also shared reminiscent stories that served as little reminders that the group used to call Chicago home, one being that their very first record release party was held at Metro, which segued perfectly into the song "A Million Ways" — their very first video to go viral.

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There was never a lull in energy, even for the solo performance of slow song "Last Leaf" Kulash climbed into the audience saying that fans said "they would like me to be touched, which means I gotta get in the crowd." Kulash found himself in the crowd once more during the first finale "This Too Shall Pass" for which bassist Tim Nordwind instructed the crowd, "don't worry at all about melodies, just fuckin' scream, I want you to blast this goddamn roof off!"

The show was so jam packed with goodness that I didn't even notice they hadn't played the lead single from the new album, "WTF?", until the encore, in which they had arcade light up jackets spelling out OK GO and fuzzy (literally) laser light shooting guitars (I cannot make this stuff up).

With the music industry in the state of despair that it is, and the future of the business unsure, bands like OK Go and performances like this one make me feel good about the future of music.

 
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tankboy / April 19, 2010 12:24 PM

What a freaking great show that was!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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