Review: OK Go gets intimate at Crystal Ballroom

I’ve seen OK Go perform in Portland twice. They play great music, but at end of the day, a good number of bands play great music. What really defines an OK Go concert is the fact that the band knows exactly how to put on a show to remember.

If you went to their concert at the Crystal Ballroom earlier this week, you didn’t just get to stand there and tap your foot to some good music; you got to witness a spectacle.

From a giant projector screen lit up with trippy patterns that whirled around while the band played to giant cannons that blasted out a rain of confetti on the audience for the better part of the show, OK Go had it all.

They know how to connect with their audience in more ways than just serenading them with their infectiously catchy, upbeat tunes. When lead singer Damian Kulash waded out into the middle of the audience with an acoustic guitar in hand, the crowd went wild.

When the band changed outfits just before their encore and put on a wild, choreographed routine in the vein of one of their quirky music videos, I can attest to the energy that lit up the Crystal from front to back.

Brook Thompson, a student at PSU, said that March 23’s show was one of the best she’s seen at the Crystal Ballroom out of six or seven shows she went to in just the last year.

[I] loved it,” Thompson said. It had the best visuals that I’ve ever seen in a show. [I] loved the energy.”

When asked about her favorite part of the show, Thompson said the encore really got her attention both because of the audience’s enthusiasm and the band’s experimentation with black lights and glow in the dark costumes.

I liked how charismatic the lead singer was and like how chill he was going into the middle of everything,” Thompson said.

Nick Bohlke has been a fan of OK Go for five or six years. According to him, seeing the band perform live surprised him—in a good way.

Technically, like dynamically, from a sound production point of view, it was phenomenal,” Bohlke said. The sound quality, the lights dude, that was so rad. Unbelievable. I have never been such a huge OK Go fan.”

According to Bohlke, he planned on seeing the band perform again in Seattle the night after the show.

When they started playing Black Dog, from that point on, it was just a riot,” Bohlke said. The show was unbelievably good up until that point and then it just got better. It was crazy.”

Maria Slade and Josephine Appleyard were lucky enough to get up on stage and dance with the band during their encore.

I may or may not have been standing on Tim’s foot for like a solid two minutes,” Slade said. I was like, ‘I hope he doesn’t know that I’m the chick who was standing on his foot.’”

According to Slade, two of the things that made the show stand out were the coordination of the band’s choreography and their use of props—like a machine that sprayed the audience with glow in the dark bubbles.

If we’re being honest, I was waiting all night for them to end with ‘Here It Goes Again,’” Slade said. I was like, ‘They’ve got to play it, everybody knows that video,’ and then they played it. What a way to go out.”

Josephine Appleyard got a kick out of the five inches of confetti that littered the floor of the Crystal Ballroom by the end of the show.

The song selection was really good,” Appleyard said. I think it was a good combination of new songs and stuff that got them [up] on the charts and stuff.”