Last night, soft-pop sensation Oh Wonder attracted a full house at Terminal 5. The combination of the duo’s explosive chemistry and their entrancing songs made for a spectacular evening.
Contrary to popular belief, the 3rd and final presidential debate wasn’t the most exciting spectacle taking place last night. The British songwriting duo made up of Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht – most commonly known as Oh Wonder – took the stage at popular NYC music venue, Terminal 5. The fact that they’ve checked off T5, a definite milestone for many rising artists, is of particular significance given that they were only playing the small musical space known as Rough Trade this exact time last year. That and how incredibly crowded the venue – one that certainly does not struggle with lack of capacity – was speaks volumes on behalf of how much their fanbase has grown within the past couple of months.
A large component of their rapid growth in traction can be attributed to how hard they’ve worked to foster and preserve an intimate relationship with their loyal fans. Ever since they released their first ever single, “Body Gold”, in 2014 they vowed to write, record, and release a new song every month until they hit the ‘one year mark’. This kept fans on their toes by giving them something to look forward to each month and, by extension, incentivizing them to keep a close eye on the duo. They’ve also done something that no other artist has ever done before: they turned the tables of the interviewing process by creating a blog in which they interview their fans! They pick out fans from the crowd at their shows and ask them questions about their lives, sources of inspiration and motivation, dreams, etc., and then snap a picture and immortalize it on the internet. It really goes to show that they go the extra mile to showcase the love they have for their supporters.
Now onto the performance itself. Listen I, like most people, find it extremely difficult to enjoy myself at a concert when I can easily compare the space – or lack thereof – to a can of sardines. However, despite the absurdly crowded nature of the venue, as soon as Oh Wonder took their place on stage and started cranking out their harmonious tunes I completely forgot about the fact that I had a random dude’s armpit 2 inches away from my face. They opened with a stream of feel-good, energetic jams – “Livewire”, “Dazzle”, and “Lose It”. From the get go they proved that they’re one of the rare musical performers that sound 100% live than they do post-production. Vander Gucht extended a warm welcome to the crowd, “It feels so good to be back in New York, our favorite city in the world,” and segued into their most recent hit, “Without You”.
They then took a break to talk about the background behind the recent music video for “All We Do”. This record stands out from the rest on their debut album because of its gloomy undertone, but it holds an existential message about what it means to be human. Read more about the project here. During the song the walls echoed with the harmonious sound of the audience singing along. “What’s up, New York,” West belted out before leading into “Landslide”. After playing a couple more of groove-inducing hits, Vander Gucht made a heartfelt confession:
“I’ve got to let you in on a little secret. I was really nervous to play in New York again, which I found to be really weird because I only get nervous when we play London, our hometown. So that must mean that New York is also our hometown!”
She then revealed that the duo have been residing in an Air BnB in Brooklyn for the past month working on their new album before playing a never-before-heard slow, piano-driven song titled “My Friends”. The highlight of the evening was definitely when, 3/4ths into their set, they played “Body Gold”, aka the song that put them on the indie music lover’s radar in 2014. The rhythmic beat, hypnotic electric piano riffs, and twangy synths, and memorable lyrics resulted in an audience full of jammin’, happy campers.
As if they hadn’t delivered a stellar performance already, the duo bid adieu to their temporary backing choir (aka us) and encored with “Midnight Moon” and their enthralling chart-topper, “Technicolor Beat”. They revealed the last trick they had up their sleeve during the final chorus of the song when about a million pieces of confetti were launched over the audience, creating what one could call a technicolor rainfall.
All We Do
My Friends (unreleased)