Owl City at Heaven
Adam Young, better known as Owl City, seems like a genuinely nice chap. No overt ego (despite being interrupted by occasional girlish chants of “we love you Adam!”) and defiantly giving his all to the performance at London’s Heaven for his (it has to be said: adoring) fans. But it’s a curious thing that he managed to play for nearly an hour and a half without anyone realising it was the same song – on repeat.
Ok, a slight exaggeration perhaps, but this is pretty formulaic stuff. Opening the gig with a popular choice of Dreams and Disasters from his latest album, The Midsummer Station, Adam quickly segued into The Yacht Club from third album All Things Bright and Beautiful. These tracks sound like they were created in blueprint, like a Dan Brown novel. And unfortunately most of the gig felt the same. Meteor Shower, from 2009’s Ocean Eyes, with its epic rock intro and slightly more atmospheric feel, provided a little variety and gave a brief respite from the relentlessly high pace of the gig, and The Real World (All Things…), described as “an oldie but a goodie”, was indeed a slightly better crafted song, with more diversity than the rest. The tightly-packed crowd cheered continually and sang along happily, particularly of course with the chart-topping hit Fireflies (which they had to wait a good 45 minutes for), and the encore opener Good Time had everyone in a party mood.
Poor Adam was visibly feeling the effects of his own runaway train of a gig after about 25 minutes, and it did have the feel of a particularly gruelling body pump class. But he dug deep and kept it going – full-on, power-up vocals never failing and always with a smile on his face, even having a good old bash on the drums at one point. Kudos for that. An instrumental “3-minute mental vacation”, as he put it, was perhaps really an excuse for him to catch his breath, but we won’t tell if you don’t.
The support from New Yorker Matthew Koma deserves a mention, not least for his own brand of playful, energetic pop which got the crowd’s heart rates up just enough for the main workout, but also for the interesting marketing ploy of offering two lucky audience members the opportunity to win meet-and-greets with Koma via a real-time Twitter competition. This was amusingly met with disappointed howls as the underground venue’s wifi cut out/was switched off and the competition was swiftly dropped.
This was a high octane evening by two very energetic and committed acts, and Owl City obviously has a loyal following and served up what the hungry fans wanted. But musically, it was far too full-on and didn’t showcase enough variety of song-writing or set-plotting to satisfy.
Owl City have a handful more UK/Ireland dates in the tour during October, which you can see here.
The album The Midsummer Station is available to download on iTunes now.
Watch the video for new single Shooting Star here: