Thursday, October 27, 2005

OK Go.10.26.05.Irving Plaza

by Charlotte Deaver

When I first saw this band back in April, I felt as though we, the entire audience and I, were witnessing a moment in history. You know -- Prague Spring, Kennedy's assassination, the first walk on the moon -- something like that. A little over the top, you say? I know, but I was ecstatic. Gone. Hooked.

Ok Go was the band that started it all for me, this rock and roll kick I'm on. I began to see a lot of live music after that night, something I didn't think I enjoyed too much anymore. This was partly due to the performance spaces themselves; they were safe, controlled environments -- the civilized kind, with seat numbers and ushers.

Now I want nothing other than General Admission. I want arm-waving, body-jamming, high-decibel cheering, and if I'’m lucky, some crowd surfing. I want the band spitting on me (not on purpose, of course).

Which brings me back to OK Go, a glam-boy, cock-rock kind of band. These boys play neatly crafted rock and roll songs with quite the rousing mix of accuracy and energy. When a band promises as much rock and roll and fun as this band does, the crowd will follow eagerly, provided there are no sloppy distractions. And this is a tight, clean, band. They rock precisely as they churn and sweat, and I like that. (All rock and roll bands must sweat. A lot. Never trust a band that doesn'’t sweat.)

On Wednesday night, we (my friends and I) agreed that this performance paled in comparison to their April show at Northsix. Playing here at Irving Plaza, a larger space, and performing new material from their second CD, Oh No, they seemed spread out, flatter.

We wanted that compact, exploding package they were before.

But instead, we got gift wrap.

One problem, I think, was that they assumed too much from their audience. First, they made us wait forever before coming on stage (BIG mistake, boys). Then, they complained about being sick, and about how they always get sick in New York. Wait. Do you not get that we are New Yorkers? And did you just (sort of) insult our city? Do not say ANYthing about this town. And while I'm at it (rage), we don't really care if you're sick!

So, it was a bad start. But then they pulled and pulled, worked their tight little chords, ground out the bass lines (really nice), got their vocal mix together (ow! ow! ow! ow!), and Damian finally started feeling the effects of his Tylanol 3 or whatever. He jumped and hollered a-plenty, they did their adorable dance number for an encore (see the last four photos), and all was right in the world.

But for that gift-wrap. The band presented the audience a nicely designed package, like the alternating William Morris wallpaper that continually flashed onto the stage's backdrop.

But I wanted them to tear the paper off like Christmas morning. No, I wanted more than that. I wanted shards and ashes. I wanted the whole damn stage to blow up in my face.

What. Am I asking too much?


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