Judge Kent Dixon is all in a flap over this release.
"Music kept me going. I had to set an alarm clock to remind myself to go to work, or else I'd completely get lost in making music."—Adam Young, Owl City
At the impressionable age of 16, a small-town boy obsessed with skateboarding borrowed his uncle's acoustic guitar, thinking it would help him escape the boredom of his minimum wage job. Little did he know that his early exposure to music would not only provide an escape from his seemingly pointless life, but it would also free his fertile imagination. Armed with his laptop and growing musical and lyrical talents, Adam Young began creating his own music and sharing it on social networking sites, and Owl City was born.
My first exposure to Owl City was during my daughter's 2010 dance competitions. Using music from a wide variety of eras and genres, dance instructors often borrow contemporary tunes to anchor their choreography and one school used the song "Fireflies." For even casual fans of Young and his music, "Fireflies" is a signature song that encompasses both the unique musical sound and creative, thought-provoking lyrics that have become signature elements of Owl City. While I have been a fan of electronic music for many years, I think it was Young's imaginative lyrics that caught my attention most. Unlike many other artists who may write about their personal experiences or emotions, Young writes from his imagination, beginning with a real-world concept that quickly takes flight into the occasionally bizarre, but often humorous or touching.
For most musical artists, usually hand in hand with popularity comes a need to get out into the world and share their music more directly with fans. Young knew he would eventually need to perform live, but quickly realized that just him alone with his laptop on a big stage would be both underwhelming and slightly ridiculous. With that in mind, Young pulled together a group of close friends, who are all skilled musicians in their own right, to join him on tour. Enter Owl City: Live From Los Angeles.
The set list includes:
• "The Real World"
Shot at LA's 7,100 seat Nokia Theatre, Owl City: Live From Los Angeles is a well-produced concert event. Yes, the performers could be more dynamic on stage, but when you remember that Young quickly made the leap from intimate recording sessions in his basement to performing live on stage with several other musicians, some amount of awkwardness is understandable. Given his relative ease with the audience, Young's stage presence will likely only improve with age and experience. There's no argument that Young has the audience eating out of his hand from the opening chords, following his requests for audience participation and signing along with the words to every song in the set.
Even though the event was shot in a moderately large venue, the production delivers a tight and intimate experience with Young and his fellow performers as they work their way through selections from both the "Ocean Eyes" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful" albums. Despite being lit primarily by the modest stage lighting, Owl City: Live From Los Angeles still delivers a crisp and vivid 1080i image throughout. If you have the capability, the LCPM mix is the way to go, delivering bright highs and deep lows, reproducing the music faithfully. The only extra feature included with this release is a 15 minute interview with Young that can either be viewed in segments, preceding songs in the set list, or in its entirety as a separate feature.
For fans of Owl City, this is an easy recommend and for fans of electronic music who may only know the band for "Fireflies," Owl City: Live From Los Angeles is a solid introduction to a great act that is on a meteoric rise into the pop music stratosphere.
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