OK Go may be a four-piece group, but in their performance Friday night at Mercy Lounge, a sold-out crowd of 500 people might as well have been added to their lineup.
The band, touring in support of its new album “Hungry Ghosts,” took the stage for almost two hours and never once allowed the energy to decrease or the crowd to not be entertained–or, for that matter, not be involved.
“It was great,” said lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash. “We had a fun time–sweaty and delicious. We’ve played here a few times and it’s always really, really hot, but I like that. It’s physically uncomfortable, but it makes you get into it more. It was like I’d been in a shower.”
In terms of musicality and execution, the band performed more or less flawlessly. The setlist featured most of its greatest hits and a healthy dose of new tracks, all of which were played with passion and skill.
But the music is not what ultimately set the show apart.
What made Friday’s concert uniquely memorable was the band’s intentional and consistent interactions with the audience, including a spirited rendition of a number from “Les Miserables” and numerous Q-and-A sessions.
Questions ranged from the mundane– “How many pounds of confetti do you guys use?,” one audience member asked– to the personal–“How single and experimental are you?” another asked of Kulash–but the band members answered them all with a trademark quick wit and good humor.
These antics occurred during song transitions, or, in one case, to cover for lighting issues. In situations where many bands would stand idly by, drinking water or pretending to tune guitars, OK Go seized the opportunity to make the audience laugh and have fun.
Overall, “fun” would be the best word to describe the concert as a whole. Once the band began playing, both the stage and the audience lit up. They opened with “Upside Down & Inside Out,” the energetic first track from their new album, and the music could barely be heard over earsplitting cheers and shouts.
People of almost every age group were represented in the crowd, and the majority of them were joyfully dancing as one in the rain of colorful confetti, which was blasted from a cannon during the band’s biggest songs.
By the end of the set, the hardwood floors of Mercy Lounge were completely covered by a veritable snowstorm of the small bits of paper–75 pounds of it, to be exact.
The set covered the band’s nearly decade-long history, ranging from early hits such as the audience favorite “Get Over It” to more recent singles like “This Too Shall Pass” and “Writings on the Wall.”
For the closer, however, OK Go brought the audience interaction to another level by inviting about 30 people to join them on stage for their biggest hit, “Here it Goes Again.”
And what those people most likely saw was a room full of 500 fans, smiling and singing right back at them. The giddy energy and unbridled creativity which has come to define OK Go and their famous music videos was omnipresent Friday night, and that, compiled with the audience involvement, made for much more than just an OK show.
“It’s more fun for us, too,” said Kulash. “The whole point of playing live is to be able to actually enjoy the people both ways. And people get so much more into the music when they actually feel human onstage, and we get so much more into the music when they get into the music.”
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