OK Go! (And other things)

OK Go performing at the Wonder Ballroom.
OK Go performing at the Wonder Ballroom.

As Gchat would say: …and we’re back!

Thanks all for bearing with me while I took quite the refreshing blog-cation. It might happen a few more times over the next few months, but I’m still lurking ’round…not to worry!

The last few weeks were crazy!

I’ve started taking a conversational Spanish class, which made me realize that the crazy 5-year gap since I had my last formal class (and the 2-year gap since I’ve been able to practice) has done more damage than I thought! It was totally embarrassing when our maestra started asking me questions, and, while I could understand them completely, when I opened my mouth, I spit out a mixture of gibberish and Spanglish. Yikes!

First OK Go concert in June 2005. My friends Judy (far left) and Marta (far right) came along.
First OK Go concert in June 2005. My friends Judy (far left) and Marta (far right) came along.

In other news, when everyone in the Great State of Oregon was taking their spring breaks, I got to take my baby sister to the OK Go show at the Wonder Ballroom as part of her Christmas gift (I bought the tickets on presale, back in December).

They became famous a year or two back after winning a Grammy (methinks) for their backyard dance video to their song “A Million Ways.” Then they rocketed further when they did a dance routine on treadmills to “Here It Goes Again,” which garnered more than 45 MILLION views on YouTube.

Damian croons to the crowd.
Damian croons to the crowd.

Anyhoo, I’ve followed them since BEFORE they were famous, as proven by the photo of me and the lead singer, Damian Kulash at a 2005 show. The show was super-intimate, and the band was very accessible after the concert, signing stubs (where IS mine, anyway???), taking photos with fans, and chatting everyone up. They were adorable and sweet!

I was really hoping that the Wonder Ballroom show would be the same. Well, they definitely didn’t fail to entertain. For one, they performed “What To Do” entirely with handbells. Hilarious interludes, lots of confetti,  you know the usual.

That said, the show was SOLD OUT. And was packed with preppy highschoolers. I was probably the oldest one there.

But I suppose that’s the crowd that the pop/rock genre tends to attract…unless you’re the Dandy Warhols, whose pop is loved mostly by hipsters and stoners. Damian had cut his hair, and was wearing a tight suit. And gone were the days where they’d hang out with the crowd afterward. Because, realistically, they would maul the band, probably.

Overall, it was a great show, but my best memory of them was definitely before they were famous.


This post has no photos

I have declared that this post, about the Woven Hand show I just got back from, will have no photos.

You may ask yourself, and curse the heavens, WHY? Why, Danielle, must you not include photos? And the answer to that would be a simple one, of course: I don’t take photos at concerts unless I’m commissioned by the band.

Several years ago, when I first started going to shows, I took my camera with. But then I found myself preoccupied with taking photos and video, that I didn’t actually get to step back and enjoy the show. So I stopped, and I actually can be absorbed by the music. Very nice! (Also worth noting is that I truly believe that it’s totally disrespectful to the band to weasel your way up front only to use flash photography.)

The show tonight was at the Doug Fir, which has quickly become my new favorite venue (acoustics rock and I like that it’s very intimate). And I was actually surprised by the bands live listen-ability, considering that I listen to Woven Hand’s albums when I’m ready to zone out.

Have you heard of 16 Horsepower? Although now defunct, the two bands share the same frontman, David Eugene Edwards who, with a bandanna and everything, reminded my friend of Bret Michaels, only much better looking, and slightly crazy when speaking in tongues.

Anyhoozles, both of the bands are a rock-country-Gothic American-gospel infusion (really, it’s possible), the content of which explores the darker side of God and Christianity, in a sort of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God way. Which makes it appealing to the non-religious folk like myself and my two buds accompanying me to the show.

Edwards quaked and shouted and blessed us with his words, and it was really a very intense yet satisfying set…and was nothing like I’d ever seen before. And at the end, he actually told us “God bless you,” which both took me off guard and made me surprisingly happy.

I could have done without the annoying concert-going scenesters getting all up in by biz, gyrating and dancing all over me, but I suppose–especially in Portland–that it comes with the territory.

Dandy Warhols, take three

The Dandy Warhols in 2006
The Dandy Warhols in 2006

Wow, this blog is quickly becoming a music blog.

Whoops! My bad!

I’m working on three hours of sleep today, people, which is never pretty.

And in a few hours, I’ll officially decide if the Dandy Warhols show at the Roseland was worth it. Counting last night, this was the third show of theirs I’ve been to.

You never really know what to expect with their shows. For example, the first one I went to, they had a 20-minute psychedelic jam session. That kind of pissed me off, because I definitely wasn’t in the mood, crammed in the Crystal Ballroom like sardines, and such.

Anyway, last night was a really good performance — even though I wasn’t crazy about the fact that the set didn’t start until 11 p.m., and then lasted a solid two hours. I’m obviously not one for endurance standing, even with a good pair of Danskos, and this CRAZY girl in front of me was so close, she was practically giving me a lap dance. Eek! I am of the ilk that believes you should have a personal bubble when going to a show. And mine is always violated.

Well, back to the actual music. Courtney Taylor-Taylor (CTT) had, yet again, another hairstyle. This time, it was channelling the Kurt Cobain “bob,” if you will. And his lips were still plumpalicious.

And they played a lot of their classics in addition to several of their new songs. At times, I thought the performance and singing was kind of forced, but overall, I thought it was good.

Oh, and apparently I’m that girl who wears band shirts to the show. Boo! I literally had no idea it was faux-pas. Whoooooops!