Ok Go mix new tunes with old hits at the

A review of Ok Go at the Paradise Rock Club on March 12, 2009

, Staff Writer

The Paradise hosted an exuberant, diverse crowd on Thursday night as Ok Go took the stage for what turned into an explosive performance to a pack of hungry, appreciative fans. Coolly strolling onstage while the sound system blasted some severe& 80’s style synthesizer jams, bassist Tim Norwind got things going by banging on a floor drum while his bandmates adjusted the various instrumentation onstage, which included a full set of chimes, multiple percussives, and, eventually, handbells.&

The band opened with “Shoot The Moon”, a new tune from their as-yet-untitled upcoming album (expected to hist stores in late summer/ early fall). The song is a quiet, meditative jam with a wonderfully catchy chorus and thoughtful lyrics, but Ok Go didn’t keep things slow and mellow for long. Barely after the last chord of “Shoot The Moon” faded out, the familiar heavy drum beat of “Get Over It” came pulsing from the stage, which started to warm things up a bit. After three songs, lead singer/guitarist Damian Kulash talked to the crowd about working on the new record in an Amish barn “in the middle of nowhere and someplace very cold” as a segway into another new song.&

If the song was written in a rustic hay barn, it doesn’t show. It starts with a bouncy disco beat, then blurs into a loud rush of guitars, then shoots confetti all over the place. Well, not all the time. Kulash & co. move all over the stage, switching instruments, doing little dance numbers, and fiddling with synthesizer knobs. Their energy is intensely fun, and they bring the& audience into the performance with them, handing out tambourines before “A Million Ways” and pausing for conversation with individuals from the crowd to the entertainment benefit of all. From correcting his own speech because “you cannot fuck up grammar in Boston, because one of you smart-ass college kids will call me out on it,” to telling stories about giving permission to a church group to use one of the band’s songs, Kulash is witty and personable onstage, even when he makes absurd claims like that Boston doesn’t get much snow (We let him know he was wrong on that one).&

Kulash, sporting a classy slim-cut suit and a couple sexy vintage guitars, is the epitome of Ok Go’s trademark fashion and pop-rock cool. He constantly banters with members of the audience and serves as the perfect face for the collection of talent he performs with. The overall level of musicianship of these guys is much higher than they may sound on an album (not that those are bad). The flashy vintage clothes and awesome music videos may be what make you notice Ok Go, but the quality of their music is what made this concert great.&

After a time out to tell a story about drummer Dan Konopka pissing in a bucket of marquee letters during one of the band’s first visits to the Paradise (“Please do not piss on anything on your way out”), Ok Go quieted things down for a bit and played a brilliant version of “What To Do?” with handbells (Youtube it), after which Kulash played his “wholly earnest love song” titled “Last Leaf”, a sweet little number. They finished the first part of the set with “Do What You Want”, whipping everyone into a frenzy and leaving them panting for more. Ok Go returned to the stage with another new song, which featured pedal steel guitar and had a sort of MGMT-ish feel to it. The closer of the night was the arena-rock monster “Invincible”.&

Ok Go put on a show that showcases the range of their musical influence and ability. Never dull, always engaging, and totally rockin’, they left their fans staggering out into the street, sweaty and high on rock n’ roll, ready for Boston’s premier weekend-long celebration, St. Patrick’s Day.

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