May 22, 2009
Owl City at the Varsity Theater on Friday May 15th photos by Christine Johnson
Owl City embarked on its first nationwide tour. Accompanying Owl City on tour are Owl City’s counterpart Swimming With Dolphins and label-mate Lydia. The tour kicked off in Boston and just this past weekend, made its way to Owl City’s home state of Minnesota. Needless to say, the hometown heroes sold out their show at the Varsity Theater.
For those who don’t know, Owl City consists of an insomniac young guy named Adam Young. Young first began to write and record music in his basement due to his sleepless nights in Owatonna, Minnesota. Since then Owl City has exploded onto the indie-music scene. With over five million plays on MySpace and with hit singles like “Hello Seattle” and “Rainbow Veins”, Owl City has topped the MySpace unsigned chart. After Owl City’s reign over the unsigned chart for months, Owl City became part of the Universal Records family.
Swimming With Dolphins, which is a side project of Adam Young good friend Austin Tofte, played as an opener for Owl City. This prelude band is very similar to Owl City with its electronic sound and beats. For tour Swimming With Dolphins consists of Tofte and Matt Decker, the touring drummer for both Swimming with Dolphins and Owl City.
As mentioned earlier, Owl City’s label-mates, Lydia was also playing. Lydia was the only band that night that wasn’t synthesizer focused. Even though they did have a pianist, it was mellower. I didn’t know how I felt about Lydia. Being sandwiched between two electronic bands gave the show variety and prevented the whole show from blending into one giant ball of an electric mess. But as I watched Lydia, it lacked enthusiasm and excitement, while all of their songs seems all the same. I didn’t know when the songs began or ended. Lydia’s set made me feel a little weary, as it seemed like all their songs kept dragging on and it was just one long mellow tune.
For preparation of Owl City’s set, a giant white screen unraveled as their backdrop. I was highly anticipating quite the lightshow and creative storyboard to be projected on the white screen. Along with the screen, the most vital piece of equipment for Owl City was brought onto stage, the Mac Book, but not just one, three Mac Books.
For tour and shows, Adam Young doesn’t just stand up on stage by himself with a couple of Mac Books, Young got help from Tofte and Decker to fill the stage and perform as an ensemble. With all the pieces in place, Owl City put on quite the show. Owl City even had help from good friend Breanne Duren, who is also a Minneapolis based singer. Duren’s addition to the song was very soulful and I enjoyed it immensely.
Playing a lot of hits and sharing some new tunes, made the show very enjoyable. The only negative thing I would have to say is that Owl City’s set seemed way too short. The set was only about 35 minutes long. You would figure that slamming on keys and pushing play on the computer wouldn’t take that much effort and the show could go on hours on end. With the short set aside, Owl City provided a good show, despite what many would imagine. The backdrop definitely made the show a unique experience, along with the entire dance beats; it was hard not to get off your feet and have a good time.
Owl City is continuing their tour across the nation and making plenty of stops at many of the nation’s biggest music festivals such as Sasquatch, Summerfest and Musikfest. Along with the many festivals, Owl City has many dates set up to play with Christian-renowned band Relient K. Stay in touch with Owl City as their new CD, “Ocean Eyes” comes out September 1st.
For more info and addtional tour dates visit: www.myspace.com/owlcity