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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeHigh-energy creativity is the name of the game for the Chicago-borne four-piece OK Go, and despite feeling the effects of a long haul from Salt Lake City to Denver to Milwaukee to start their tour, the alternative rock/power pop outfit still stoked up a creative whirlwind with their Turner Hall performance.
Touring in support of their third album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, released before parting ways with EMI earlier in the month and starting their own label called Paracadute Records, OK Go are likely more well-known for their endearingly creative video clips that have gone viral on YouTube, but the new album, produced by Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann, offers material that should stand to further their musical notoriety as well.
With stage gear that included fish-eye cameras on everybody's mic, a confetti cannon, lasers and coats with synchronized lights on the back, OK Go had the optical appeal of a Lips show and also threw in "What To Do" performed on handbells and "Last Leaf" performed acoustically by frontman Damian Kulash while standing on a case in the middle of the crowd.
The performance was being filmed, which may have induced more banter than usual from Kulash- often going on about beer, Laverne & Shirley and such- but even an unedited version of the show would reveal the strength in their new, Prince-inspired funk sound found in "White Knuckles," "I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe" and "WTF?" Earlier material such as "Here It Goes Again" and "Good Idea At The Time" were sung by the crowd with as much enthusiasm as the new hit "This Too Shall Pass," but the most surprising of the new sounds came in the smoothly rumbling "Back From Kathmandu" and the brash, guitar-propelled "Needing/Getting," as well as a nod to the Pixies with a cover of "Debaser" for good measure.
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