You know, out of nowhere this little guy with a band named Owl City just appeared out of nowhere with a number one hit in both the US and UK in the way of "Fireflies". For me, it was like a dream come true that such a beautiful and slightly cutesy electronic pop song about lightning bugs and sleep stormed the charts with the ferocity of mountain lion and stayed there. The video to "Fireflies" was full of whimsical wonder too, with weird toys and kitschy gadgets all lighting up in unison to the sound of Minnesota native Adam Young's swoony swoony voice.
And the scene wasn't that much different at Owl City's gig at London's Electric Ballroom last week. The audience alone lit up the venue with their over-joyous love of the lyrics to raised cigarette lighters to even someone holding up their crutch, for they have been healed through electronic music. I really find the whole Owl City phenomenon quite fascinating and what he is doing for the kids these days is making me feel really proud to be a lover of electronic pop. I couldn't help but look around the audience and notice that it was mostly made up of teenagers (which did make me feel a wee bit old) but in the same token, I also felt complete awe that the teens were really embracing electronic pop and in turn, the genre is becoming that much more strengthened.
Highlights during the show for me was definitely opening number "Umbrella Beach" (which I think is going to be the next single) and closing number "Hello Seattle" which as a boy hailing from the Pacific Northwest myself, it's hard for me not to appreciate this gorgeous little pop gem. I really loved Owl City's string section which consisted of some very talented young ladies who played their instruments with vigor and then every so often they would get up and bust out a choreographed little dance number – totally fun.
Unbeknownst to me, I actually had no idea that Lights was opening the show. I know – mega brain tumor for breakfast there, but upon entering the Electric Ballroom and collecting my tickets, you can imagine my excitement at seeing posters of the gorgeous Canadian electronic pop new wave Wonder Woman all over the place. Lights opening set was just absolutely gorgeous, singing all my favorite songs of hers such as "Savior", "Drive My Soul" and "February Air". Highlight for me was when she sang her new song "Ice" which will be released in March in her UK album following shortly after. What is just so damn cute about Lights is her unwavering character and infectious smile. Whilst one knob in the audience shouted at her to "take it off", Lights responded with a huge smile and a "disapproving finger" which aptly put said knob in his place.
The team-up of Owl City and Lights on tour couldn't have been anymore perfect. Take one swoony boy who embraces the poetic and one uber talented keytar-wearing young lady and give them a stage together and you've got crowds of youngsters with wads of money just ready to eat it all up. Artists like Owl City and Lights are really important to keeping electronic pop en vogue in this day and age. With their approach to keeping it social and exciting the viral as part of their marketing plan, they will continue to inspire more pop and electronic acts into action. If a young man like Owl City can create a brilliant number one pop single as a result of his bedroom insomnia, think of the possibilities that other young electronic musicians could conjure up.
It's really a ray of light for the electronic pop genre that I love and hold so dear.