October 20, 2009
You would actually think that something as absurd as owls taking over the city was happening in LA tonight, based on the hype surrounding this gig. There were several other compelling shows going on simultaneously this evening, but if you were anywhere other than the Troubadour, then it’s probably because you couldn’t get in to see Owl City.
Let’s start with their upcoming tour dates, because you will probably want to see this band. If you check out the Tour section of Owl City’s website, the first thing you’ll notice is that the remainder of the shows on this leg of the tour are sold out. . . and then they’re leaving the country (don’t worry – they’ll be back mid-December). Next thing you’ll see is that a couple shows have been moved to larger venues “due to high demand.”
Y’know, the music business is struggling, but these guys are doin’ alright.
By “these guys” I mean Adam Young. Young began writing music in his basement and claims, “These songs are all I have to show for my sleepless nights.” Luckily for all of his fans, Young suffers from insomnia and writes music when he can’t sleep. (I write reviews about insomniac musicians when I can’t sleep). The result of Young’s sleeplessness is 3 albums, the most recent of which, Ocean Eyes, debuted at #27 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. The fact that Young doesn’t sleep much means that most of his dreams are technically “day dreams” and many of his lyrics illicit cartoon-like imagery.
It’s no wonder Young can’t sleep, with all those dancy synth-pop sounds running through his head. Owl City’s sound does have a dreamy feel to it and Young’s lyrics speak to his young audience. “I brush my teeth and look in the mirror and LOL as I’m beaming from ear to ear” Young sings in “Dental Care.” Yes, it’s a song about maintaining good dental hygiene.
Having lyrics Young’s audience can relate to meant that the crowd sang along like a choir during several songs (see videos below). When it was time to clap along, everybody in the audience threw their hands in the air and clapped passionately. They weren’t just clapping to keep the beat, they were clapping as if something spectacular was going to fall from the sky if they were able to express enough enthusiasm. The crowd danced, smiled, and sang almost as much as Young himself. And instead of cheering for an encore in general, Owl City fans chanted “Fireflies” loud enough that other bands, playing at other venues in LA probably heard the request and got confused.
While the audience played the role of accompanying band expertly, Young was also joined on stage by Breanne Duren on keyboards and
backing vocals. Duren played, sang, and danced with a childlike presence, as if she were truly skipping through Young’s day dreams, while helping to create the soundtrack. As Young bounced between guitar and keyboards himself, he was also backed by a drummer, cellist, and violinist, whom doubled as back-up dancers when they weren’t playing their instruments.
At an Owl City show you get to have as much fun as the band. You get to dance and hop around as if you’re 4 years old. You leave feeling lighter, younger, and happier, with tunes running through your head that will keep you up all night.
Owl City’s entrance and “Cave In”