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In concert: OK Go at 9:30 club

STokgoweb07-06.jpgOK Go: Overstimulated and underwhelming at the 9:30 club. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Chris Klimek

Power-pop power-pranksters OK Go fear nothing but boredom - theirs or ours - but that fear is huge. Also motivational: They've lately made news with their third single-shot, singularly brilliant performance video - the Rube Goldberg machine clip for "This Too Shall Pass" - and with frontman Damian Kulash's February takedown of their record company on the op-ed page of the New York Times. (They announced they were leaving the label soon after.) Their current album, "Of The Blue Colour of the Sky," sounds little like their first two, burrowing deeper into electropop and funk, but it shares the prior records' impatience to get to the hook.

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The band's 95-minute 9:30 club gig Wednesday night was similarly overstimulated. Opening with the feral crunch of "Invincible" and the first of a half-dozen (!) confetti-cannon blasts, the show felt as much like a variety show as a rock concert. Nearly every performance had a gimmick: The foursome played "What to Do" entirely on handbells, which must have taken a long time to learn. For "WTF?", they donned jackets with electronic message boards sewn into the backs and mounted lasers on their guitars, red and green beams slicing across the club. And DC-native Kulash's rambling patter about his meeting with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on net neutrality, or the paucity of road signage in Northern Virginia, amounted to a semi-successful stand-up comedy act. The extramusical amusements were fun, but ultimately prevented the gig from building up the momentum a great rock show needs to take flight.

At one point, Kulash ventured to the center of the club floor to perform the ballad "Last Leaf." Midway through he abruptly stopped and swung his mic stand around, resuming the song facing the other side of the house. He wants to please everyone. Ironically, if he'd dare to risk boring us just a little, his very good band could soon be closing in on greatness.

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By Ally Schweitzer  |  May 6, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: OK Go  
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