Say what you will about will about Minnesota synth-pop outfit Owl City. None of it seems to bother Owl City vocalist and mastermind Adam Young or his fans. And man does this guy have fans. Most of whom showed up last night at the Marquee Theatre as Owl City played in front of a sold-out crowd.
The audience, which was largely made up of youngsters and their parents, were energized and enthusiastic from the start. Most of them sported either a headband, wristband, sign or a T-shirt for the band they had come to see. From the looks of the crowd's T-shirts the audience was made up of 85 percent Owl City fans and 15 percent LIGHTS fans and one lone kid wearing a Slipknot T-shirt.
Opening up the show were Nashville rockers Paper Route followed by electro-pop singer LIGHTS. LIGHTS, the Toronto based singer and multi-instrumentalist born Valerie Anne Poxleitner, served as a good opener for Owl City. Both groups are very similar stylistically and it was clear from the reaction LIGHTS got when she took the stage with her backing band that she had her fair share of fans in the audience.
LIGHTS opened up her set with the song "The Listening," the title track of her debut album. Shortly into her set LIGHTS let the audience know that she was only a few hours away from her 23rd birthday (April 11). Just after finishing up the song "Saviours" the audience responded by singing "Happy Birthday" to the Canadian songstress.
It didn't take long for chants of "Owl City" to begin after LIGHTS finished her set. Any time the lights on stage would change, giving the impression that Owl City was coming, the crowd went nuts. But it was nothing compared to the reaction when Owl City's Adam Young actually took to the stage.
Owl City often gets compared The Postal Service. To be honest, they get compared to The Postal Service a lot. But last night's performance saw Owl City doing a very nice job of avoiding those comparisons thanks largely to the five-piece band accompanying Young. The addition of a two-piece string section comprising a violinist and cellist helped give Owl City's songs some depth not heard on the recorded versions found on Owl City's debut album, Ocean Eyes. The string section, both women, also doubled as backup dancers during several songs.
During Owl City's hour-long set Young didn't interact much with the audience. But when he did speak, he kept it short and sweet. Just before performing the song "Dental Care," Young informed the audience, "I just had a sandwich. It was awesome." Young also prefaced the song Owl City is probably best known for, "Fireflies," with "We have this song, it's about bugs." Powerful stuff.
Owl City definitely gets an "A" for effort for their performance last night but many of their songs ended up feeling pretty generic. Of course, judging by the reaction of most fans last night I may be alone on my opinion. Then again, given the bored look on the faces of many of the parents in the audience, most of whom seemed more interested in beating the traffic out of the parking lot than sticking around for the encore, maybe I'm not.
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Last Night: Paper Route, LIGHTS, Owl City at Marquee Theatre
Better Than: Staying home on a Saturday night and watching The Disney Channel.
Personal Bias: I'm about as un-biased as you can get on this one.
By the way: Kids, please make sure you thank your parents, aunts, uncles, etc. for taking you to this concert. I can assure you that they would rather be doing a lot of other things than taking you to a crowded, loud rock concert.