OK Go @ Granada

9:20 am by

OKGo

If You Are Interested in Where Pop Music is Headed,
Look No Further than Ok Go
Words by Michael “Grits” Smith. Photos by Anna “Hash Browns” Vernon.

I remember hearing Ok Go for the first time and being pissed off. How dare a rock band in the 21st century write something catchy? What the fuck were they thinking? Rock bands were supposed to be dark, brooding characters with greasy hair and/or leather. Not beautiful, suited frontmen who look like Cillian Murphy with an obvious taste for cultural irony and snark.

Then, I left puberty, grew a beard and realized that a band of four jaded assholes who write intelligent catchy pop is actually pretty bad ass, and way more admirable than a group of douches who over-pronounce their “R’s.” Ok Go grew on me and actually turned into one of my favorite bands. I’ve spun the hell out of their first two records and an EP they recorded with trombone band Bonerama, but regrettably have not picked up their third and most recent record. Read on after the jump.

The evening began with an overly vocal sound checker who checked each individual instrument and with me begging to god that the subs would push more air in hopes of it mimicking AC. Granada might be trying to save on their AC bill in the steamy Texas summer months, and I was losing fluid faster than my beers were replacing it. This was infuriating me, because I knew I was never going to take home one of the hundreds of gorgeous girls literally turning Granada into a sardine tin while dripping that much sweat. (Author Note – Crowd volume aside, you can assess with alarming precision how high an artist has ascended the pop-cultural ladder using a formula that calculates the ratio of pretty girls to guys wearing Jncos in the audience. Ok Go ranks much higher than Dinosaur Jr., but is certainly eclipsed by John Mayer.)

Ok Go has released three powerfully poppy LPs, but found a cultural niche with their viral videos. This unique brand of marketing helped pave the way for their musical success, but obviously made them a few enemies along the way. The cock-rock douches in Hinder were even quoted in Rolling Stone talking shit about Ok Go. (Author aside: Fuck Hinder) Midway through the show at Granada, Damian Kulash let the audience know that tonight’s show would be available for purchase on a jump drive along with their new record following the performance – an awesome incentive to buy instead of steal the new record. This was also after telling everyone that his two dogs were the presidents of Ok Go’s record label, which is why Ok Go was able to get their way so often.

This non-corporate approach to backing a band has obviously proved successful for the guys, and is one of the more creative approaches to making money in music I’ve seen. It wouldn’t surprise me to see major labels start copying many of Ok Go’s marketing tricks. Ok Go also commissioned State Farm to pay for their latestviral video for This Too Shall Pass, which is also a brilliant marketing move, allowing Ok Go to retain all creative control, but giving the corporate goons at State Farm the exposure of however many million hits said video has. (Fuck you major labels!)

The set began with Invincible, the first track off their sophomore EP, Oh No. Confetti burst into the air as the band began, and four suit-clad gentlemen emerged with the obvious intent to entertain. The rest of the evening would be a healthy mix of songs from all three records, ranging from a wonderful handbell version of What to Do? to the neo-soul jam Million Ways to be Cruel, to the latest single This Too Shall Pass.

What struck me the most about Ok Go wasn’t necessarily their stellar musicianship, although they were extremely tight all night. It was the ease with which they played that allowed them to entertain. Any night of the week, you can go see a band of technically sound, even impressive, musicians. But to see true entertainers is rare, and it is a gift that Ok Go has honed. Damian Kulash had the entire crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, and while I’m sure that was due in no small part to his dashing good looks, the fact that he and his band killed it all night didn’t hurt either.

The evening closed with perhaps the band’s biggest single Do What You Want and another confetti explosion. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and should they return, I will be attending again. Even if you aren’t a fan of radio-friendly pop, I would recommend going to the show. You will be in for an entertaining evening.

–Grits
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Slightly Stoopid & Del The Funky Homosapien @ Warehouse Live

9:30 am by

Slightly Stoopid & Del The Funky Homosapien @ Warehouse Live

In my constant search for a good live show, there are always a few groups that seem to come into my radar a bit more often than others. Two of these groups decided to bring their musical performances together back to Houston for a showcase of hip-hop, reggae, punk-rock and ska. Slightly Stoopid and Del The Funky Homosapien holed up at Houston’s Warehouse Live a few weeks back, and brought all of Houston’s kiddies with them. I truly made my way there to catch Del, but I do definitely dig the more mellow sides of Slightly Stoopid. Del performed several classic cuts including “If You Must,” “Mr. Dobalina” and his version of the Gorillaz’s “Clint Eastwood” in which he was featured on the original version. Leaving a good taste in the mouth of the rearing and ready teens that were hungrily awaiting Slightly Stoopid, Del proved again that he is one of the best and cleanest MC’s in hip-hop.

 

As soon as Slightly Stoopid hit the stage, the crowd swelled as close to the band as possible. I happened to be just a bit too close to the madness, and lost at least a half a beer in the process of standing and listening to the first few songs. While you can’t really blame kids for being really excited for one of their favorite bands, they need to learn some manners and common sense before the next time they run into me at a show. Elbows will be thrown. Overall, the show was pretty good. Common fare, though, for this band. I’ve never been incredibly impressed by the band, but do enjoy several moments of their live repertoire – enough to keep me coming back for more.

This was the first show in which I used my new 50mm, so it was fun testing it out and getting used to the fixed focal length of the prime lens. Check out my shots after the jump.

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ACL 2010 Line-Up

9:31 am by

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In what is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated American music events running, the Austin City Limits Music Festival has officially announced its line-up for the 2010 edition. Topping the bill this year are classic easy-rockers The Eagles, newly crowned British music royalty Muse and BOT-favorite Phish. Ya, that’s right, Phish. Hell yes! Also set to hit the stages in Austin’s Zilker Park over the weekend of October 8-10 are an assortment of iPod-popular groups including The Strokes, The Flaming Lips, LCD Soundsystem, Spoon, Band Of Horses, Monsters Of Folk, The National, The Black Keys, Yeasayer, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Local Natives among a whole bunch more. Check out the rest of the ACL 2010 line-up after the jump.

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Centro-matic @ Granada

9:42 am by

centro-matic

 

Recently I had my first live experience with Centro-matic, at the Granada. I was solo that evening, and this show somehow hit that rare holy trinity of live music. Perfect venue, perfect crowd, perfect band. It might have had something to do with an odd last few days in my personal life, but that night something was in the air. I promise to keep the cliche’s to a minimum, so read on after the jump.

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BOT-Approved Shows: May 17-23

9:41 am by

iFest 2010: Sunday, April 25

Wild Moccasins are releasing their new album with a show at Walter”s on Friday supported by Roky Moon & Bolt and Giant Princess
A nice saturation of music will be hitting the venues of Houston this week, each day bringing a show or four to fill your fix. Check out what”s going down through the end of the week.

 

Monday, May 17
OK Go and Alpha Rev
Warehouse Live
7 PM

Tuesday, May 18
Shelby Lynne and Findlay Brown
Warehouse Live
8:30

Wednesday, May 19
Stardeath & White Dwarves, The Besnard Lakes and Million Stars Missing
Walter”s On Washington
9 PM

Check out the rest of this week”s shows after the jump.

Thursday, May 20
Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
8 PM

The Most Serene Republic, Annuals and What Laura Says
Mango”s
9 PM

Friday, May 21
(Album Release), Roky Moon & BOLT and Giant Princess
Walter”s On Washington
9 PM

The Glitch Mob and Free The Robots
Rich”s
10 PM

Fang Island, Ghost Mountain and Somosuno
House Of Blues Voodoo Lounge
10 PM

Everyone Was In The French Resistance… Now! and Benjamin Wesley
Mango”s
9 PM

Saturday, May 22
Bobby Bare
Dosey Doe”s Coffee Shop
8 PM

Go check out some live music!

-Eggs

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