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Concert review: OK Go rocks the Newport in colorful, technically loaded show

Though impressive, OK Go’s concert Monday night at the Newport Music Hall had one major disruption.

“Computers are angry,” OK Go frontman Damian Kulash announced in the middle of a song, after the band stopped playing because of audio issues.

“You’ll get an extra long Q&A session,” Kulash said, and started taking questions from the crowd. He answered them partly without a microphone, as engineers on stage and behind the controls frantically restarted the audio equipment.

During that Q&A, a member of the audience asked for the sources of inspiration of the band.

“Tim [Nordwind] gets his inspiration from bright colors,” Kulash said, adding that legos inspire himself and computer code inspires guitarist Andy Ross.

“Dan [Konopka] lives on an inspirational plane,” Kulash said. “He doesn’t need to be inspired.”

OK Go, which formed in Chicago in 1998 according to the band’s website, gave the full spiel of their alternative funk-rock, which sounds sometimes like a refreshing mixture of Foster the People, MGMT and the Arctic Monkeys. They delivered a colorful drum- and synth-driven firework of songs, and also added some very interactive show elements.

Playing behind a semi-transparent linen for the first couple of songs, the quartet took full advantage of the venue’s video and lighting technology. The colorful firework of songs and sounds eventually materialized in frequent blows of confetti that filled the air and amounted to about an inch on the floor at the end of the show.

The band opened with “Upside Down & Inside Out,” the first song on its latest album “Hungry Ghosts.” The music video for the song was projected on the linen, with light effects making the band visible for moments during the song.

But as the linen came back to hide the stage again for a number of songs toward the end, it momentarily felt like a gigantic iTunes or Windows Media Player visualization disrupting the band’s show a bit. Too much video killed the powerful effect the video had at the beginning. Overall though, the greatly programmed multimedia elements matched the show’s character nearly as well as the raining confetti.

It was a “show in the true sense of the word,” Emma Ryan, of Columbus, said after the concert.

“I have been to over 30 concerts and this was the best show I have ever seen,” said Madelyn Smith, a first-year undecided at Columbus State.

Jack Crowley, a first-year in mechanical engineering at Ohio State, said he especially liked the energy the band displayed.

“It was a great mix of music and other mediums,” he added.

Haley Waldo, a first-year in Spanish, said she had watched the music videos beforehand and finds the show to be similar.

“I liked how every song has a production on its own,” she said, adding she especially liked the confetti.

Overall, OK Go offered a refreshing look at electronic rock. The band honors their inspirations and builds upon this foundation by adding their very own, sometimes experimental sounds.

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