With a large video wall, frequent blasts from a confetti cannon and a rather overblown, glam encore featuring feathers, fluorescently lit guitars and lasers, indie-pop quartet OK Go had considerable visual impact at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on Wednesday night.
And it seems the geekish, Californian group have a new gimmick: handbells. Playing a whole track, What To Do
, on the unusual instruments was as unconventional as their last winning idea, 2006's phenomenally popular treadmill video
. It certainly did the job, killing chatter dead in the old music hall.There were moments when it seemed the visuals might prove too powerful for the music, especially as Damian Kulash's voice got a little lost in heavier sections. But the clean-cut frontman held it together, asserting his authority with a solo number before noticeably jacking up the tempo for Good Idea At The Time
, a catchy, pop-rock track from the band's second album.With a record out just a couple of days before, we'd expected a good chunk of new stuff. We got it - and thankfully it didn't prompt a dash for the bar. This Too Shall Pass
was the pick; a dirtier, dancey feel, operatic chorus and full on, all guns blazing electro finale made it really stand out.For all their talent, OK Go need to be careful. Their sense of fun and well-judged banter are real assets, but the OTT encore hinted at how easily the whole act could tip over into self-parody. Mind you, going by what we saw, they already know just how far to push it. Their performance was flamboyant, fun and thoroughly entertaining. Just a shame the only treadmills were projected onto the video wall behind them. (Image / Damian Kulash on stage in Shepherd's Bush.)
Last Updated 16 January 2010