OK Go mesmerized ’90s babies, and their dads, at the Riot Room

Riot Room, Kansas City
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From the moment they walked onstage (two hours after doors opened), the four members of OK Go were treated like gods by fans of various ages. YouTubers and baby boomers constantly took photos with smartphones — and even compared notes on the number of takes it took to make each of the band’s famed music videos. Two large video screens fanned out across the stage and projected multitudes of imagery and colors, leaving just enough space for the quartet to shake their stuff without knocking into stage monitors.

Fans cheered and stragglers made their way closer to the limited open spaces as the first song, “Upside Down & Inside Out,” began. “How ya doin’, Kansas City?” lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash asked as colored confetti poured from the ceiling and black-and-white, modlike imagery flashed on the screens.

OK Go played “You’re So Damn Hot” next, followed by the newly released “The Writing’s on the Walls.” The band pulled songs from all four of its albums, including a handful from the upcoming release, Hungry Ghosts.

Kulash joined the crowd “campfire style,” as he called it, for “Last Leaf,” singing through a mic that had been left in the crowd after a looped rendition of (what seemed to be) “There’s a Fire.“ The chorus was the only remnant from the original song, as recorded and looped stomps and shh’s from the crowd sounded out.

The latter half of the set featured upbeat songs like “Get Over It” and “Turn Up the Radio,” which seemed to intensify the crowd’s excitement (and possible confetti intake). The act itself was more of a theater performance than a concert. The bandmates even threw in some dramatic role play, topped with hilarious attempts at worldly accents and poetic language. The hour-and-a-half set was highlighted by some rather low-budget ingenuity in immersing the audience in visuals, catchy drumbeats and bass lines.

The band kept the crowd hooked until midnight in the packed, sweaty Riot Room, with an encore featuring “The One Moment” and “Here it Goes Again,” which drew crowd members even closer to the stage.

“Thank you, dirty people,” Kulash said. “Thank you, Kansas City.”

Leftovers: The show felt a little too planned out and stiff for my taste, and the music was a little too reminiscent of random rom-coms that I probably shouldn’t have watched so much.

Set list (approximate, please leave corrections in the comments):
Upside Down & Inside Out
You’re So Damn Hot
The Writing’s on the Walls
I Won’t Let you Down
I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe
This Too Shall Pass
There’s a Fire
Last Leaf
Get Over It
I’m Not Through
Do What You Want
Turn Up the Radio

The One Moment
Here It Goes Again

Categories: Music