Twilight Concerts reach season high with OK Go
[video][/video] The ocean air rose through the planks of the pier as OK Go singer Damian Kulash made his way off of the stage and into the middle of a crowd of fans. "I want you guys to imagine I'm really hot," Kulash told the audience as he strapped on his acoustic guitar. "I mean, not like sweaty and sticky hot," he said drenched in sweat, "but actually beautiful."
OK Go played the penultimate concert of Santa Monica's Twilight Concerts Series, bringing their brand of humor and poppy alternative rock to the pier, which earlier in the series hosted such acts as Cults, Yuna, Jagwar Ma, and The Zombies. The Twilight Concert Series has been bringing varied acts to play free shows for the public on the pier for 30 years, drawing crowds who even find their place on the beach below.
Most casual fans familiar with OK Go, myself included, know them for their outlandish, creative, and memorable videos, their most popular one being the one for their closing song "Here It Goes Again," which includes an elaborate, unedited, lip synched dance number staged on eight running treadmills.
The band has had a long career, that's included creating a Superbowl ad music video in 2012, but the band never let themselves get disconnected from their fans, bantering with those nearby, even performing a song from "Les Miserables" as an encore near the end of the night by request. The back and forth between the band and the fans even led to Kulash and bassist Tim Nordwind revealing that the band name's origins date back to when they met 28 years before in summer camp, as a joke about a counselor who was not so secretly smoking cannabis.
Those who attended expecting a visual spectacle as per OK Go's videos were treated instead to straight up performances of much of their new album and their string of forgotten but still golden hits. Most of their songs proved to be an ideal dance soundtrack for the audience, barring a solo acoustic performance of "Last Leaf" by Kulash in the middle of the audience, where he fist bumped a fan.
The closest thing the band came to its videos was when they led the audience in handclaps and stomps, sampling their sound in order to make a beat for the song "There's a Fire." OK Go's real surprise was in the danceable and catchy quality of their songs to those who had only paid attention to the visuals in their videos, overlooking their music.
The Twilight Concert Series has served as an unofficial launchpad or showcase for many emerging bands since it's recent partnership with the founder of the Echo, including Best Coast, Dawes, and HAIM. The openers for OK Go were The Allah-Las, who seem as if they too are being prepped for wider audience.
The Allah-Las have a psychedelic garage rock sound that would have made them an ideal pairing for The Zombies a few weeks prior. However, with the following they have already gathered, that showed their support while grooving out (seriously, at least a few seemed incapable of wittingly controlling their bodies as they swayed and twisted to the music), it was clear that The Allah-Las were in need of a boost from a more well-known, established band such as OK Go, who was announced to the official concert series line-up late.
As the crowds gathered with lawn chairs to scope out their desired bands on the pier, larger crowds amassed beneath the pier to hear the bands as they lay in the sand. As the night wound down and the music grew louder, it seemed apparent that many beach bound revelers were inebriated, surely many Ubers and Lyfts were called to the pier that night.
The last concert of the series is this Thursday, September 11, featuring old school R&B New Orleans band King James and the Special Men opening for soul singer Charles Bradley. After this series the pier will make way for big screen offerings outdoors, with "Frozen" and "Gravity" in October.
Revised: An earlier version of the story misspelled the opening band's name as "Allah-Lahs."