Wednesday, July 19, 2017

OK Go at the Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place

Damian Kulash
Guitarist/vocalist Damian Kulash met bassist Tim Nordwind at an arts camp in Michigan when they were 11 years old. They had an art teacher there who frequently said "OK... go!" when the students were to begin drawing. Nordwind later attended college in Chicago, Illinois, where he formed the band Stanley's Joyful Noise with drummer Dan Konopka. Kulash moved to Chicago to join the band in 1998, and the band was renamed OK Go. Andy Ross replaced the band's original guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist in 2005. OK Go had a few pop hits, but is best known for several award-winning videos. OK Go's fourth and most recent album is 2014's Hungry Ghosts. Since 2001, the band has been based in Los Angeles, California.

Arts Brookfield brought its seventh annual Lowdown Hudson Music Fest to the Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place, and OK Go headlined the second night of the open air series. A substantial part of OK Go's draw has been its ingenious collaboration of music and visual art, but for this occasion the visuals were diminished significantly. To considerable loss, the band did not use a front screen, which in the past interspersed interactive live action with video projection. Instead, the stage featured only the LED screens behind the musicians, showing video projections and kaleidoscopic geometrics that throbbed with the music. Stripped down visually, the focus was more on the performance of the audio, and the band proved to be more than musically adept at quirky pop songs. Clever? Indeed! The performance opened with a fast-moving montage of movie clips featuring many actors saying "ok" and "go" before the band began performing "Upside Down & Inside Out" live. Surprises? Indeed! For a cover of Blur's "Song 2," the band invited someone from the audience on stage to play a repetitive one-note guitar lick. Despite the downscaled visual aids, OK Go's concert was fun indeed.

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