The members of OK Go might claim Chicago as their hometown, but there's another important city in the annals of the band's history.
"The first place we ever played was Columbia, Mo., like 700 years ago," frontman Damian Kulash told the crowd two songs into Ok Go's set Tuesday night (Apr. 20). "If you were one of the three people who were there that night, thanks."
Though the crowd numbered significantly more than three at this show, the audience came nowhere close to filling the venue's 800-person capacity. Still, fans were treated to a full-blown, arena-worthy production. OK Go took the stage to "Invincible," while a white backdrop projected film clips, paisley wallpaper and live video from each member's microphone stand. This sort of larger-than-life projection might not have been necessary in a smaller venue, but it was a creative and inventive way for the audience to see their idols up close and personal.
The setlist focused heavily on songs from the band's past two releases, 2005's "Oh No" and this year's "Of the Blue Color of the Sky." The sultry "I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe" was the standout of the 19-song set, while a cover of the Pixies' "Debaser" began with promise but ultimately fell flat. Kulash's vocals were spot-on early in the set, but he was noticeably hoarse as the band began the psychedelic "Back From Kathmandu" and continued through the encore.
But that didn't stop OK Go from turning The Blue Note into a veritable party. On no fewer than four instances, the band shot a sea of colored confetti onto the crowd, leaving some scrambling to catch pieces and the venue staff surely grumbling about the cleanup process. Elsewhere, after winning the crowd over with a rowdy rendition of the hit "Here It Goes Again," the band ditched its instruments for a version of "What to Do" played entirely on hand bells ("The instrument God invented"), in an attempt to "bring God to the heathens."
Kulash spent the next five minutes in the center of the crowd singing "Last Leaf," and more confetti on "This Too Shall Pass" brought a triumphant and fun-filled end to the band's set. OK Go is already known for its innovative music videos, but its attention to detail when crafting an engaging and interactive live show should be imitated more often.
Openers the Booze kicked the night off with a set of retro pop that blended '60s-style rock with jangly indie-pop and had many in the audience. Brooklyn's Earl Greyhound followed with a genre-defying set of rock, blues and funk.
OK Go's current tour wraps May 28 in Portland, Ore.
Here is OK Go's setlist:
"A Million Ways"
"All Is Not Lost"
"I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe"
"Oh Lately It's So Quiet"
"A Good Idea at the Time"
"Here It Goes Again"
"What to Do"
"Don't Ask Me"
"Get Over It"
"Back From Kathmandu"
"This Too Shall Pass"
"Do What You Want"