Wednesday, September 16
Yep, America’s Kanye-Addled Sweetheart herself, holding court in the balcony as the giggly teenage masses below fired up their digital cameras and Death Cab for Cutie blared over the PA, which is fairly brazen, considering that Owl City, a/k/a bubbly Minnesota laptop-emo heartthrob Adam Young, bears a not insignificant resemblance to the Postal Service. Over the high-pitched hoots of appreciative young ladies, Adam taps a laptop, power-strums a guitar, clutches his mic stand, bends his Gumby-lithe frame into the shape of various consonants, and sings chirpy little songs about dirtbikes, underwater Ferris wheels, turning frowns upside down, and, most notably, fireflies. “I’ll spread out my wings and fly,” he declares, flapping his arms. “This is kind of a silly song,” goes one bit of banter. “It’s about going to the dentist.” The ladies scream. I feel ridiculous.
And yet this is undeniably sweet, gets a more intense reaction from a Bowery Ballroom crowd than even Nine Inch Nails did, and is very remarkably not musically half-assed at all: Young could’ve loaded all those bleeps and bloops onto one sampler and just pranced around, but no, he’s got the live drummer, the keyboard player, and the cello-and-violin string section, who take up tambourines and maracas when the dance-party vibe gets too infectious to resist. This is exceptionally fancy cheese, pure pop for now people, using giddy electronica as a trojan horse the same way Taylor uses country. Along with “Fireflies,” everyone goes nuts for a song called “Strawberry Avalanche” especially. And there you have it. Run for your lives, or go get some shortcake.