Thursday, November 02, 2006

OK Go At the Glass House in Pomona

So, it was Jess’ turn to pick the concert and she was so excited about going to see OK Go. Thank God my daughter doesn’t have the rap gene, or for that matter the boy band gene (although we got a little of that by nights end). It’s a pain in the butt getting out to Pomona on a week night, but… it was worth it. Really.

Knowing the venue a bit better after seeing Jenny Lewis, we moved quickly to the risers on the far left wall so that even though we stood all night, we got to lean on something and see above most of the crowd. My friend Susan and her son Jon showed up too, so we had a nice little parent kid group going. I also ended up meeting a guy who started the conversation with me with, “So, is this your favorite band too?” It turns out he was even older musically then we were, “My daughter likes my music too; Frank Sinatra, jazz”. Anyway, we made up the majority of the old folk there (maybe they planned it that way).

Up first: Quit Your Day Job. I kid you not, that is their name. And you know, with a name like that, there has to be some humor going on. Sure enough, this is maybe one of the funniest bands since the Dickies (although they really do not compare… sorry guys). It is a three piece band, with guitar, keyboard and drums. The keyboard player does the bass lines and really gives the band an 80’s sound. But truly they are a not quite hardcore punk band. The song titles are the highlights to the songs and in fact generally they are pretty much all of the lyrics too. With songs like, “Pigs from Hell”, “Pissing on a Panda”, “Sperms are Germs” (their only love song) and “Look, there’s a Dollar”, we were laughing or at least smiling throughout the show. Actually, the smiling by the guitar player (this big, show your teeth smile) was almost as bizarre as the keyboard player slowly stripping throughout the show (we found his sock on the floor after the show but decided not to touch it). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself buying any of their CDs anytime soon. But it was fun to watch.

Okay, how do I describe OK Go? I guess you could say that they are a rock band that wants to be a boy band; but not really. They are charismatic, fun, their music is filled with hooks, the melodies aren’t bad and the lead singer has a lot of Mick Jagger in him. They also use a healthy dose of gimmicks to keep the show exciting. And like their music, which is a mix of old (80’s) and new, the gimmicks represented the good old days (floating in the audience) and the new electronic days (having everyone hold up their cell phones instead of lighters… and what an amazing blue tinted scene that was!). They also did an acoustic song out in the middle of the audience. Now those of you who saw Melissa Etheridge know that she has done this. But, they brought small flood lights with them and had the audience be the lighting crew while they played in the middle of them all. They also had small web cams attached all over the stage. The coolest one was right on the microphone of the lead singer. You got this distorted black and white picture of his face that was displayed on the back screen. It was pretty cool.

They did two covers during the show, a song by the Damned and a Violent Femmes song. But I will always remember what they didn’t do. They were about to sing an ELO song (probably “Don’t Bring Me Down”), but an audience member said she had heard it last night, so he said, “Okay we won’t play it. Hey guys, how about some Violent Femmes”. And off they went.

So you may say, I know OK Go from somewhere. Well, they are the band that does that amazing treadmill video: . There is no way they are going to do a club tour and bring a half dozen treadmills with them, but you know, seeing the video that dancing is their life. And so, at the end, their boy band inside them comes out and they do an amazingly complicated choreographed dance that had everyone yelling and laughing, all at the same time. It is nice to see that someone still knows how to put on a show.

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