Ok Go at The Stern Grove, San Francisco (27/8/2012)

27 Aug

Today being that rarity of a sunny day in San Francisco, I decided to brave the great outdoors and go to a park. Naturally, if one is going to a park, then one should choose one where a reasonably well known indie rock band happens to be playing. Admittedly, I am not the greatest fan of OK Go. The one song of theirs that penetrated my consciousness was not quite enough to get me to try another. There is no shortage of indie rock bands, and this one had nothing special to offer for me. Still, the price was right, and as I said before, any excuse to wear my sweater and get out into the sunshine was good enough for me.

The concert was slated for 2:00, but I could only make it to Stern Grove by 2:30, and so I missed most of the day’s opening act, The Family Crest. They seemed decent. They certainly showed a lot of enthusiasm and some small degree of spark. Keep an eye out for them.

The concert began with a cringingly bad hype piece. Being asked by a robotic voice to shout the band’s name before they come on stage is admittedly pretty harmless ego stoking and considering the band’s name I found it a funny thing to chant before they even appeared on stage, but no one asked me and the whole thing was over quickly.

The band began their set with no preamble. The music began almost as soon as they found their instruments, which was refreshing and certainly gave them a professional appearance. The only issue was the music itself. It was not bad, but it was not really any good either. There was nothing in there that one could sink into. There was quite a lot of confetti however.

For roughly the first third of the concert, the story was pretty much the same. Their music was almost decent. There would be brief moments where you could fall into it, but on the whole just slightly sub-par. Then, it improved. I can’t be sure precisely which song it was that changed things, probably Invincible.

From that moment, sure there were still a lot of what were at best mediocre songs, but at least there were enough moments with substance in them to give the concert meaning. There was a moving performance of Return with only hand bells.

 

There was Skyscrapers. There was “The Treadmill Song”, which featured Damian Kulash asking if anyone in the crowd could play the guitar and then handing his to just such a person to play for half the song. I certainly wasn’t the only one in the crowd to have only heard that song by OK Go and no other (actually I had also heard A Million Ways, but had forgotten completely about it until they were halfway through the song). And there was still lots and lots of confetti.

Also, there was Damian Kulash coming down into the crowd and performing Last Leaf by himself.

Finally, they may never be anywhere near someone like The Flaming Lips. They may have only had four songs of note in their entire two hour concert. A full third of their concert may have had me considering walking out. Still, at the end of the day, they put up a really good performance. I can’t think of any way that I could have better spent this Sunday afternoon, and I think most of the crowd would have agreed with me.

From Damian’s Instagram

– Nikhil

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