4/9/15 – House of Blues

“Writing’s on the wall?” More like “confetti’s on the floor.”

House of Blues wasn’t packed to the gills on Thursday night for reasons that are beyond me. But had more Bostonians known about the visually dazzling spectacle OK Go would bring to the stage, they surely would have turned out in droves.

White Arrows was supposed to take the stage as openers but suddenly had to pull out of the tour. While the lack of an opening act was initially disappointing, the guys of OK Go turned it into a positive: more time to spend with the audience. For their long, grandiose opening, a translucent screen dropped in front of the stage, projecting artful images and short video clips set to the rhythm of their track “Upside Down & Inside Out.” Silhouettes of each band member shone behind the screen, and after a while, the screen dropped to reveal their human forms.

Almost immediately, an array of visual effects lit up the stage. Flashing mic stands! Spinning lights! More projection screens with fancy moving designs! Confetti! The little flecks of multicolored paper burst out of guns on either side of the stage, bathing the band in an almost heavenly rain as they played “The Writing’s On The Wall.” It piled up in sweatshirt hoods, drink cups, hair, and every single cubby of open space. There had to have been at least an inch of it on the floor. After a third or fourth time brushing it off clothes and spitting it out, a few audience members looked as if to say, “Okay guys, we get it. You like confetti.”

What the audience did seem to enjoy, though, was how OK Go made them as much a part of the show as the band itself. Frontman Damian Kulash played “This Too Shall Pass” in the middle of the House of Blues dance floor, which was touching, but presented a problem for people near the front of the crowd—nobody there could see him. He also took frequent chat breaks with fans, answering questions in a hilarious, nerdy fashion.

“Can you touch Tim’s beard? Um, I mean I guess technically you can. But will he let you? Probably fuck no,” he said to a fan who was particularly enthusiastic about bassist Tim Norwind’s facial hair.

While visual creativity was the theme of the night, the band did not let fancy lights and moving pictures compromise the quality of the music. Backed by catchy electronic beats and thumping bass lines, Kulash displayed his impressive vocal chops, especially during a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” In an interesting move, the band used their phones to record audience stomps and claps, then set the recording as background for “There’s a Fire.” Kulash also toyed with a cowbell to generate beats for “Obsession.” Despite the unconventional instrumentation, their sound remained impeccable and clear.

Near the end of their nearly two-hour set, OK Go changed into white suits to perform a goofy choreographed routine to “White Knuckles” under glow-in-the-dark bubbles. They then finished off the show their biggest hit, “Here it Goes Again.” The whole “best for last” approach was a little cliche, but the nostalgia was so strong that it didn’t matter.

Confetti Masters: OK Go
Pros
  • Visually stunning
  • Excellent audience involvement
  • Personable presence
Cons
  • Confetti overkill (for everyone else, at least)
  • Performing in the audience is cool, but only if everyone can see you
9Overall Score

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