On this chilly Tuesday evening, I warmed up at the Beacham to tunes by City and Colour. Having been a fan of theirs for years but never seeing them live, this was an ultimate treat.
The band started off with a few new songs to get the audience together. Dallas Green, jumping in immediately from one song to another, is relentless with his vocal talent. His smooth angelic voice floats across the airwaves to excite the crowd while the band supports that notion.
Over the past dozen years, they’ve only released four albums, including their excellent recent release, Hungry Ghosts. While OK Go has not exactly poured out non-stop new music, they have churned out an amazing number of ingenious high quality videos.
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There’s been a tremendous buzz around OK Go and their innovative and captivating videos, highlighted by their 2007 Grammy Award winning video for “Here It Goes Again,” and I’ve heard that they offered up an excellent live show, but until their show at The Beacham late last week, I’d never had the chance to experience it.
Simply put, this talented quartet offers up an amazing live experience that I will never miss again. I see 100 artists per year, and have witnessed a slew of kick ass concerts, but I have never seen anything like the multi-sensory extravaganza that this band dishes out. Videos, technology, live footage, special effects, audience participation, three trombones and confetti – lots of confetti.
The show kicked off with a montage of movie and TV scenes with characters speaking “OK” and “Go,” culminating with Kermit the Frog’s “OK Go” and the show was off. The band kicked into “Upside Down & Inside Out” which along with “You’re So Damn Hot” was played with the foursome hiding behind a semi-transparent video screen plastered with a collage of band member photos and psychedelic images. It was a cool twist for sure, but the crowd was excited when the curtain finally dropped before “The Writing On The Wall.”
And, that’s when the confetti started. Two huge cannons flanked the stage and filled the air frequently. There was literally an inch of confetti on the ground by the end of the show, not to mention in 90% of my photos, in my mouth, in my hair and inside my clothes.
Before “I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe,” frontman Damian Kulash welcomed the crowd, and reminded us that on his last visit to the city he ended up sleeping in a jail cell. Then, he held a quick Q&A with the fans – something he repeated again late in the show and an item that bassist Tim Nordwind took a turn at, as well. It was great stuff, and we got a priceless glimpse at the humorous improvisational talents the two lifelong friends shared. We learned that they met at summer camp nearly 30 years ago, that Kulash was arrested for ignoring an undercover female cop with a bad sense of humor, and that broccoli and olives have no place on an OK Go pizza.
I loved the nerdiest part of the show, which was another very cool audience participation moment, but I’ll let you all experience that for yourselves, and not spill the beans about it here. Other highlights included an invigorating singalong version of “This Too Shall Pass” and the dual guitar fronted “Get Over It” where keyboardist/guitarist Andy Ross joined Kulash for dual solos. Kulash also journeyed into the crowd for a nice acoustic version of “Last Leaf.” And, late in the set, the quartet cranked out a rocking cover version of “Black Dog, where drummer Dan Konopka wonderfully channeled the spirit of John Bonham. (The full setlist is provided below)
For their encore, it was another fantastic excursion into their fertile minds. We saw a video montage, a choreographed dance number, two tracks with the members of Bonerama (three trombone players) joining them on stage, and a frenetic finale of “Here It Hoes Again” that include a few dozen audience members joining them on stage.
Absolute genius, and a show that any music fans needs to see.
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Upside Down & Inside Out
You’re So Damn Hot
The Writing’s On the Wall
I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe
This Too Shall Pass
There’s a Fire
I’m Not Through
Get Over It
The One Moment
I Won’t Let You Down
Do What You Want
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin cover)
Turn Up the Radio
A Million Ways
Skyscrapers (with Bonerama)
Here It Goes Again (with Bonerama)
Since January when we first wrote about this uber-talented band out of Iceland, I’ve been looking forward to catching them live, to see if their live show lived up to my lofty expectations. After their powerful, engaging fourteen song set at The Beacham, there’s no doubt, we witnessed the next huge Indie breakout band.
Of Monsters and Men is often compared to The Arcade Fire, and although there are indeed musical similarities the crew from Iceland have a sound all of their own. It’s unique indie-rock with a folksy flair that comes across even better live than on their hit album, Into The Woods. I do see valid comparisons to The Arcade Fire in their huge potential to become the next Indie rock act to cross over to huge mainstream success, both critical and commercial.
The Beacham was sold out for this show, and the packed crowd was eagerly engaged from the opening notes of “Dirty Paws” to the powerful closing notes of the final encore “Yellow Light.” Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson share the vocals and sounded magnificent all night trading off between the female and male leads. Their voices were pure all night, distinct and captivating, at times reminding me of the exceptional vocals of The Beautiful South which is high praise.
The band has added a seventh member for this tour, and it works magnificently, as they sound bigger, fuller and more vibrant than in their recordings. Their line-up features three guitars (including the left-handed Ragnar), a bass, drums, keyboards, accordion, kettle drum and trumpet, offering up plenty of unique mixes. The band members enjoyed the packed house throughout the show and seemed humbled by the crowd’s constant participation, either clapping or singing along to most songs.
The house was rocking all night, but the fervor kicked up a notch for “Slow and Steady,” where the entire corwd had their hands aloft clapping rhythmically, and then hit a fever pitch for their current hit “Mountain Sound.” They also threw in a nice cover of The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs’ “Skeletons.”
The highlight of the show was an extended version of “Lakehouse,” where drummer Arnar Hilmarsson came out front and led the crowd through an animated singalong. From there, they closed out the set with an exhilaration version of their hit single “Little Talks.”
From there, it was a nice three song encore, that led off with a stripped down version of “Sloom” with just the three guitarists on stage. They were rejoined on stage by their band mates for “Beneath the Bed,” before closing with a raucous version of “Yellow Light,” which featured grewat drums from Hilmarsson, as well as Nanna on kettle drum – a rousing end to a great night of rock music. For the 1200 in attendance it was a great glimpse into the future of rock stardom, and likely a fleeting chance to see them in a cozy venue, as their next trip to Orlando will find them in a much bigger venue.