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OK Go to play Worthington Sept. 22

"My only complaint about the OK Go concert is that life seems dull and pointless afterwards." -- A recent OK Go fan comment WORTHINGTON -- OK Go is coming to town, and it's definitely OK to go get your tickets before all the seats for this Grammy...

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OK Go will perform in concert at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 22. (Special to The Globe)

“My only complaint about the OK Go concert is that life seems dull and pointless afterwards.”

-- A recent OK Go fan comment

 

WORTHINGTON - OK Go is coming to town, and it’s definitely OK to go get your tickets before all the seats for this Grammy-winning group’s show are gone.

 

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Maybe you know OK Go because of their viral videos - like the one in which the acclaimed rock foursome sings while intricately maneuvering among multiple treadmills.

 

Or maybe you’re familiar with some of the band’s songs, like “The Writing’s on the Wall” from “The Amazing Spider Man 2” or their hit 2002 single “Get Over It.”


Or, just maybe, you noticed their updated version of “The Muppet Show Theme Song” while taking in kids’ TV with your preschooler or grandchild.

 

But even if you aren’t familiar with OK Go at all, know this: One of the biggest names to ever hit Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) is appearing there on Friday, Sept. 22, and you don’t want to miss it.

 

“People from Duluth, Omaha, Illinois and even New Mexico have already bought tickets for this show,” said Tammy Makram, MAPAC’s managing director.

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“We want to fill all the seats, build the excitement and have OK Go spread the word about what a fantastic place this is to perform and what a great audience we have here.”

 

Makram stresses OK Go will share a concert that will engage attendees from start to finish, and one that’s appealing to people of all ages.

 

“Anyone who appreciates music, art and fun will enjoy this,” assured Makram. “The fact that their videos are Grammy-winners and have had over 100 million hits on YouTube speaks volumes.

 

“You don’t get that kind of response without connecting to a broad audience, and OK Go brings a level of fun, frivolity, visual excitement and innovation that everyone loves.”

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One dedicated OK Go fan who has locked in her seat for their Sept. 22 gig here is Minneapolis resident Jamila May, a 27-year-old registered nurse who is determined not to miss a minute of what OK Go has to offer.

 

“After I saw an OK Go show at First Avenue in Minneapolis in early 2015, I knew I had to see them every time I could,” said May. “They are absolutely worth the three-hour drive, and I’m going to their show in Red Wing the next day, too.

 

“That’s how spectacular they are. They bring the same energy and creativity to the live stage that you see in their viral music videos, and the show I saw in 2015 was extremely entertaining and interactive.”

 

It’s rare for an act as renowned as OK Go to descend on Worthington, but Makram was determined to get them here - and because the group is about to try a new live-concert approach, they were willing to squeeze in sites like MAPAC and Red Wing amidst their upcoming (and nearly sold-out) shows in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

 

“We’re trying something brand new that we call ‘live-scoring’ our shows,” explained Tim Nordwind, OK Go’s bass player, in a recent phone interview.

“We want to bring a unique experience, so we’ll be projecting our videos on a grander screen and playing the corresponding music right beneath the screen,” said Nordwind, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., and a graduate of DePaul University.

 

“Throughout the years we’ve made a lot of short little films and also created the music that goes along with them, but most people experience our films and videos on small screens - their phones or computers - and we want to expand that in a larger-than-life way.

 

“We’re really excited about it, and this is going to be very special and unique, both for us and the audience.”

 

Mind you, OK Go isn’t just another run-of-the-mill rock group; these guys have serious smarts, as evidenced not only by their inventive music and Rube Goldberg-inspired videos but also by the fact they were recognized with The Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity Award in December 2016 for their video “Upside Down and Inside Out.”

 

“I’m a proponent of having a childlike, eyes-wide-open, sky’s the limit imagination,” agreed Nordwind, who first met Damian Kulash, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, when the pair were 11-year-olds exploring art and music at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in northern Michigan. The group officially formed in 1998 and has been trending upward ever since.

 

“That’s sort of why we wanted to do the show we’re bringing to Worthington,” he continued. “Over the last five to 10 years we started hearing, ‘Our kids love your videos,’ so we’ve been gaining a whole new generation of fans.

 

“We created this show so everyone could come and experience these things together, to offer what we do not only to adults but also to kids, and to promote joy, playfulness, fun and imagination.

 

“I’m hoping that’s the takeaway from this show.”

 

Nordwind’s entrée to the arts began early and accelerated rapidly.

 

“I played violin at 5, piano at 7 and saxophone at 10,” he explained. “But my older sister was a very good pianist and guitarist, and she’s the one who sat me down and showed me guitar chords - and guitar was what I got obsessed with, and later, bass.”

 

Pretty soon, Nordwind was writing songs non-stop.

 

“Not good songs at first,” he laughed, “but they had an energy and emotion and communicated things I wanted to say, and later I learned more musical language that allowed me to create more sophisticated music.”

 

Nordwind is also a self-confessed “musical theater dork” who participated in many classics - “Oklahoma,” “Guys & Dolls,” “West Side Story” and “South Pacific” (which was Worthington High School’s 2017 musical production), to name a few - throughout his high school years.

 

“At the end of the day, we’re all working in emotions, and it’s nice when the message of a song is universal enough that it can help us connect with others on a larger, more universal level,” said Nordwind.

 

“I love it when someone hears a song and feels, ‘I can relate to that,’ whether it’s joy or sadness or excitement,” he added. “That’s the fun of making things in the first place: connecting with other human beings on the planet. That’s always a nice feeling.”

 

Nordwind and his band mates are eager to connect with Worthington area residents on Sept. 22, although they’ve never before been to southwestern Minnesota.

 

“We’re looking forward to coming,” he assured. “I’m hoping we’ll convey a feeling of inspiration and that this will be a celebration for everybody.”

 

Makram agrees that acts like OK Go, and the other varied artists who will visit MAPAC during the facility’s 2017-18 performance series, have much to offer attendees.

 

“This adds to the quality of life here and makes it a more enticing place to live,” said Makram.

 

And when OK Go fans like May of Minneapolis are willing to do the reverse of what many area residents do - drive three hours to Worthington to take advantage of world-class entertainment at a price that amounts to a bargain - it’s advisable for “the locals” to get on board and turn out for a thrilling night.

 

“Buy tickets and go!” urged May. “You will not be disappointed. OK Go will become your new favorite band.”

 

OK Go appears at Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22. Reserved seats are available now at the box office, with an advanced purchase discount. Visit the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, call 507-376-9101, or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com for tickets. Tickets are also available now for MAPAC’s 2017-18 shows, including today’s “The Bard of Ballyfiddle” at 2 p.m. and “Liverpool Legends” at 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

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