OK Go performs with plenty of creativity and confetti

If there is one word that can sum up the OK Go concert at the Turner Hall Ballroom last Friday, it is simply this: confetti. Lots and lots and lots of confetti.

Known for its do-it-yourself approach both with songs and viral YouTube videos, OK Go brought much of the same spirit and creativity to their show. Prior to the start of the show, several contraptions could be seen rigged up on the stage, including projectors, strobe lights, large screens and what appeared to be small cannons on the sides of the stage.

The audience was about as eclectic as the band itself, with an assortment of attendees ranging from middle-aged couples to throngs of college students to young children with their parents. The opening set by James Freshluggage was fair, at best, with most attendees continuing to mingle and drink while the DJ played a set of familiar tunes by Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, and others.

The main show kicked off with an exciting montage of OK Go clips from the mounted projectors, followed by the image of the band’s floating, disembodied heads singing while the band itself provided the vocals for the new song, “Upside Down & Inside Out.” After two songs, the screen dropped, revealing band members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka and Andy Ross amid a storm of strobe lights. Just a few minutes later, as the band played their new single and YouTube hit, “The Writing’s on the Wall,” the stage cannons went off, filling the ballroom with a shower of tissue-paper confetti. With an opener that felt as high-powered as a normal concert finale, the audience was visibly thrilled to see what would come next.

With OK Go’s fourth album, “Hungry Ghosts,” releasing this week, much of its tour has been geared towards promoting its new singles, with most of its set list featuring new songs such as “Obsession” and “Turn Up the Radio,” mixed in with classics such as “Get Over It” and “This Too Shall Pass” from previous albums. True to form, there were some experimental bits to the concert as well, with the band turning the audience into a human beatbox for “There’s a Fire.”

Even with a successful career spanning over fifteen years and made up of millions of YouTube views, OK Go still plays with the same down-to-earth enthusiasm and energy as a fresh-out-of-mom’s-garage indie band, and they were just as accessible as well. Kulash and Nordwind took turns engaging the crowd in informal Q&As during the show, even taking a selfie per an audience member’s request, and Kulash thanked the audience eagerly for their applause after each song.

Of course, with such passion and informality came a few slip-ups during the show. There were a few moments where Kulash would come in with the vocals a measure too early, prompting bandmate Ross to quickly correct him.

And, of course, there was the confetti.

From right to left: Andy Ross, Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, and Dan Konopka of OK Go perform amid a flurry of confetti at the Turner Hall Ballroom. Photo via facebook.com/PabstTheater
From right to left: Andy Ross, Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, and Dan Konopka of OK Go perform amid a flurry of confetti at the Turner Hall Ballroom.
Photo via facebook.com/PabstTheater

The audience was in awe when, after such a heavy shower of confetti, the cannons went off and filled the ballroom a second time. By the third time, however, much of the excitement of being rained upon seemed to have worn thin, as audience members got distracted from the show while shaking confetti out of their hair and off their clothes. The cannons would continue to fire off throughout the show; by the end of the concert, the floor was layered thick with tissue-paper fragments. While certainly a ploy meant to enhance the experience, its use simply ended up being overdone.

Confetti aside, OK Go’s comeback was hardly a disappointment. Just like the band’s music and videos, the show was charmingly messy and spirited, incredibly creative, and, ultimately, very memorable.  As the band closed out “Here It Goes Again”- yes, that wonderful treadmill song – it was evident that the audience had a great time in OK Go’s company for the night.