Owl City brings clean-cut to the Cabooze


The last place I expected to see clean cut new comer Adam Young and his Owl City superstar live act was the same place that conjoins the words caboose and booze as it's moniker.  Alas, with his digital devices glowing blue and a well rehearsed complement of accompaniment, Young's daydream ditties lit up the darkest corners of a sold-out venue.

Seriously, you'd have thought the Beatles had shown up...

While I didn't see any 16 year-old girls screaming and crying prior to fainting, it would have been impossible to know it had happened as this happy mob would have overrun them. After two other MySpace darlings opened things up (Unicorn Kid from Scotland and Kate Havnevik from Sweden) in much the same vain, perfectly appealing to the same demographic Owl City attracts, the packed crowd chanted for Adam to bring his own version of positive pop to this mass of youth.

Before his arrival I tried my darnedest to, at the very least, pry my way toward stage middle of the crowd, but my way was blocked halfway there by a density of three teens per square foot and the powerful musk of their body spray failing to overpower its intended target, adolescent body odor. This was not an ideal post for photo taking and after another go through the crowd, this time trying to plow through the politely plasticized VIP area, I was shocked to find breathing room and an ideal spot from which to focus my attention and my aim.

From the moment his laptop roadie ripped down the curtain behind the stage, revealing the Owl City banner, the screams began and rarely abated. A non-stop barrage of flashbulbs, glass shattering screams and sing-a-long choruses washed through the crowd from for the rest of the evening. Adam Young probably could have brought spare, album-replicated grooves to the stage and it wouldn't have mattered; this crowd was alive with pleasure and nothing was going to change that.

Effortlessly bopping from one top-40 hit to another, including his most beloved tunes which uniquely turn trips to the dentist ("Dental Care"), the Northwest ("Hello Seattle) and sleepy waltzes with insects ("Fireflies") into honey-dripping delights, Young proceeded to carefully orchestrate a delightful evening of youthful rock fit for the whole family. Most surprising of all was the care taken to build each song, effectively breaking each away from it's album version by rebuilding a crescendo each time, adding the drums, a little guitar, bringing it back a bit when infusing the cello, then a full-throttle finish for each tune.


Least evident to me about this live version of Owl City were the vocal effects, readily apparent on his albums were not at the fore on stage--more obvious was the well executed keyboard work by Breanne Duren and a pre-recorded framework found on Young's supporting laptop. Another unexpected pose was the lack of time Young spent in front of his laptop and conversely, the time he spent in full fetal position at the front of the stage. In the end, the crowd got it's moneys worth, I got a rare whiff of youthful exuberance via perspiration, and I think we all left a heck of a lot cleaner than we thought we would. This was an unexpected sensation to have when crossing the threshold upon leaving The Cabooze, having no choice but return to reality, forced out into the darkening skies of the evening.