I don’t remember the first concert I ever attended. But now, I will forever be wishing it was OK Go.

OK Go is a four-member rock band from Chicago, IL.  The Grammy-winning group is known for their elaborate music videos, including one with dancing on treadmills, another taken on an airplane in zero-gravity, and even one including dogs in a cleverly choreographed routine.  Needless to say, they have successfully mastered the art of music video creation.

Photograph by Nicole Spring / WBRU

While the band has not released an album since Hungry Ghosts in 2014, the members are still busy at work.  In an exclusive interview with WBRU, lead singer Damian Kulash explained that the band is in the process of creating new music, but have not yet raised enough funding to create accompanying music videos yet. OK Go have struggled to do this in the past. Because their music video ideas are so elaborate, they are often forced to release music first in order to raise enough money to transform their dreams into reality. Kulash explained that their intent with their eccentric one-take music videos is to chase the “sense of wonder that can be communicated human-to-human.” Because the band values the inclusion of “weird, unique elements” in their videos, and keeps editing limited in order to preserve the humanness, their videos can often be a big investment.  

In the meantime, Kulash is creating a feature film with his wife, Kristen Gore, and is also directing commercials for fun.  Band members Tim Nordwind and Dan Konopka are working together in an electronic project, while Andy Ross is writing software and involved in “cryptocurrency stuff.”

Photograph by Nicole Spring / WBRU

This concert differed from the typical concert format – it was a “live video performance”in which they incorporated their music videos and questions from fans into the show.  The band created this format in order to have a show that would enjoyable to fans of all ages.  However,  as a concertgoer who usually enjoys jamming out in general admission, I was a bit apprehensive going into it. The entire venue (including general admission) was seated, and the crowd was full of families and young children – not the typical setting a college student would find themselves in on a Saturday night.  However, I was blown away by how much I truly enjoyed the show.

The band knows how to keep an audience engaged.  While they kept the focus of their songs on the music videos playing behind the band’s live performance, they delighted the sold-out crowd with confetti cannons and dance routines.  Despite the seated venue, many fans were standing up and dancing along to the music.   Band member Andy Ross, who majored in computer science at Columbia University, even created an app allowing the audience to play along to one of their songs.

Photograph by Nicole Spring / WBRU

In between songs, lead singer Damian Kulash welcomed questions from fans, responding with humor and honesty.   He explained how choreography became such an important element to their videos, and the process of incorporating Ross into the band when a previous member left. They also spoke candidly about some of the issues they combatted behind the scenes in the creation of their music videos – including zero-gravity induced nausea and a duck that would not leave Ross’s side for nearly 48 hours.

During the performance, Kulash acknowledged the teachers in the crowd, thanking them for their role in educating our youth.  OK Go has clearly emphasized the importance of education and even has a website demonstrating how to use their music videos as educational content.  There were many teachers present in the crowd thoroughly enjoying this positive energy from the band.

At the end of the show, the band stayed for an encore, followed by an invitation for young fans to join them onstage.  The kids could hardly contain their excitement, ecstatically jumping around stage while the band played in front of them.  It was an all around fantastic evening, and I would do it all again if I could.  

OK Go has six shows currently on their calendar and those lucky enough to seem them perform will surely enjoy the experience.  It is rare for a concert to not only be accessible to all ages, but also thoroughly enjoyable.  The band promised a return to Providence… I will surely be in attendance!

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