OK Go Dazzles Fans at Union Transfer

Sixteen years into their career, OK Go has still got it.  The Chicago-natives’ show at Union Transfer on Saturday night was innovative, lively, and consistently entertaining.  From shooting confetti cannons to projecting film clips on a screen, there is never a dull moment at an OK Go performance.

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The crowd contained a mixture of teenage hipsters and thirty-something parents with young children clinging to their sides. Though OK Go played many of their early 2000’s punk hits like “Get Over It” and “You’re So Damn Hot,” the majority of their set came from newer, more upbeat material. Throughout the set, OK Go played the entirety of their summer release Upside Out, a four-song EP that provides a preview into the catchy, poppy style of the upcoming album Hungry Ghosts, due out in October.

After an energetic DJ set from Philly-natives Broadzilla DJs, the stage was shrouded behind a large, white projector screen. As OK Go prepared to begin their set, they projected a cycling series of brief clips from popular movies and TV shows, where a character would say either “OK” or “Go” over and over. This is only to be expected from a band whose music videos are considered to be some of the most creative of all time.

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The set began with “Upside Down & Inside Out,” the opening song of Hungry Ghosts. By the third song “The Writing’s On The Wall” (also from the upcoming album), the white projector screen was ejected in exchange for bursting confetti cannons.

Between songs, a teenage girl in the pit yells that it’s her birthday—lead singer Damian Kulash leads the crowd in singing “happy birthday” before telling a story about performing at Barack Obama’s 50th birthday party.  “You can’t [call him] ‘Barack,’ and you can’t call him ‘Obama,’” said Kulash. “But I’ve seen Marilyn Monroe, and the president is staring straight at me when I sing, ‘happy birthday, Mr. President…’”

A highlight of the set was the peaceful acoustic rendition of “Last Leaf” from OK Go’s 2010 release Of the Blue Colour of Sky. Damian Kulash ran to the center of the pit and stood on a small, circular platform with just his guitar and performed the song in the center of the crowd.  While the band reassembled their stage after “Last Leaf,” bassist Tim Norwind engaged the crowd in a short Q&A. In typical Philadelphia fashion, someone asked if Tim likes Wawa (He said yes!).

Other fun tricks included an impromptu collaboration with the crowd, as Kulash recorded his fans making stomping and clapping noises, and then turned the recordings into a looping beat during “There’s a Fire.”  In response to the strength of the crowd’s percussion, Kulash said, “Philly is full of badasses—are you sure industrial music didn’t start here?”

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In a three-song encore, OK Go concluded their set with “Here It Goes Again,” their most well-known hit single. A final array of neon confetti exploded from cannons on either side of the stage.  Though these gimmicks are unique when compared to other bands, within the context an OK Go show, they are pretty standard; each performance features a similar set list and nearly identical “surprises.”  But you can’t blame them for sticking to the same set, because it works incredibly well.  An OK Go performance is guaranteed to be a fun time, whether you’re a teenager anticipating Hungry Ghosts, or a dad with his daughter on his shoulders reminiscing about listening to “C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips” in his college dorm.

Now, check out OK Go’s new single “The Writing’s On The Wall” and make more memories of your own!

3 Comments

  1. Lauren S

    September 23, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Interesting to hear the variety of ages in the audience! I’m glad they put on a good show.

  2. Wakana

    September 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    It’s awesome that they incorporated videos into their show

  3. Pingback: YACHT and White Fang: A Religious Experience? - Rock On Philly

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