We were sat in the office the other day and Jaimie came over and asked if I wanted to spend Halloween in Houston, Texas. Before I’d even enquired what responsibilities came in-hand with that I said, “Yes, please!” Luckily he wasn’t sending me to handle trick-or-treat door duties at the NRA’s annual Halloween hoedown.
As it turns out, Radar had been asked to come gawp at the latest Stateside monster chart mutation: lekro-tweemo.
Right now Owl City are Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes’ biggest selling single of the year. Which if you’re in any doubt about, is: A) Considered about as big a deal as you get, and B) why they can afford to fly British journalists across the world to watch random gigs with no even agreed coverage. The job Jaimie assigned me was to make a call on whether they were an undeniable force that we shouldn’t even think about trying to fight against, or just a shit cheesy Postal Service that are best left in the hands of deranged cardigan-pilfering Middle American emo sprats.
Two things of note to take head of before entering Owl City’s garden:
1) They’re very Christian
2) They’re very American
Once you’ve acclimatised yourself to both, the ride is much smoother.
Shonky youth club/industrial estate disco stylings of the venue not withstanding, Halloween is in full effect with various Pirates of the Caribbean, an impressive Duffman and kids getting into the festive spirit by squeezing glow stick juice over their arms and probably risking some kind of terrible illness in later life. You’ve got to love Halloween. Owl City are into it too, bowling onto the stage as the doomy ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars plays.
Though there’s a backing band – a bumblebee and little drummer boy included – Owl City is essentially a solo project, the nom de pop of Adam Young, a boy from Middle-of-Nowheresville, Minnesota.
We grabbed smiley happy person Adam for a chat before the show:
Where Bon Iver had his shed, Adam Young has his parents’ basement, where he’s spent the past two years noodling away, crafting the earnest synth-pop he lays out tonight. Pulling off his Darth Vader mask, the sold-out, 650 capacity crowd – made up mostly of young girls who, impressively, know every single word to every single song – squeals and shrieks with the kind of delight normally reserved for buffed up boy bands.
Owl City have gone and done a Lily Allen, converting tens of millions of free MySpace plays into chart topping success.
Unlike Lily however, Owl Cityare super clean-cut. This isn’t rock’n’roll of the sex and drugs persuasion, but rather more of the holding hands and hot chocolate with floompy marshmallows variety.
Check out Owl City-mania here, as they play final song of the night, the aforementioned ‘Fireflies’.
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See what we told you about the squealing and the shrieking? Owl City are over in the UK next February. You have been warned. Did we ever make a call on the shit Postal Service versus unstoppable force dichotomy? Jury’s still out.