Lollapalooza 2011, Friday: OK Go
OK Go are showmen. The former Chicagoans now live in L.A. The four come on stage in monochrome suits—blue, red, yellow, green. Like Skittles, fingerpaint or the components colors of TV. Fitting, as the crafty kings of the music video are pure candy. This is a band that understands the simple joy of a cowbell. But that was a minor bell.
Halfway through its set of funky power-pop, OK Go wheeled out a dinner table covered in brass bells of various sizes. They donned white gloves. Damian Kulah, the blue one, bantered, "Rock & roll is dirty, nighttime music. You people are dirty people. I can feel it wafting off you. So we're going to play you some wholesome music. On the instrument that God himself invented. The handbells." The field laughed and cheered. Kulash said, "Alright, shut up you sinners." Then OK Go played an elaborate, four-part version of "What to Do" on hand bells. Like the band's videos, it probably took countless hours of rehearsal to pull off the ridiculously fun gimmick.
Kulash kicked big red balloons and climbed into the crowd to serenade fans with a lovely acoustic version of "Last Leaf." Back behind his mic, he snapped a photo of the audience. "I'm going to put these on Facebook tonight."
Of course, "Here It Goes Again," even without the treadmills, was a riot. It's a genius bit of power-pop, with big, chunky riffs and savvy harmonies. Everyone but the drummer stands in a line against the lip of the stage. They have choreographed moves. Ed Sullivan would have loved these guys.