Owl City, Lights

Chris Shipman 17/02/2010

It's with distinct apprehension that GIITTV notices, gazing around, that there's a decidedly half-term look to this evenings sold out audience. Forty-something Mums tagging along with their hormonal, early teen offspring mean that for once the well-stocked student-targeted bar at Komedia is strangely silent. Two weeks ago Owl City, out of pretty much nowhere, exploded upon the charts with the saccharine sweet 'Fireflies', showering the airwaves with emotive pop (emphasis on the pop part) teen-friendly melodies and slinky beats. You could practically hear the sharp intake of breath and audible frenzied trembling on the part of the nation's youngsters from Brighton to Berwick.

All this could make for an all-too-easy slating review, 'case closed' even before the first few plinky-plonk synths chords died away. Not so.

When twenty year old befringed frontman Adam Young bounds onto the stage like a slightly gangly extra from High School Musical, sure enough there are the predictable ear-shredding screams from the front but upon launching into a gloriously disarming ambient intro to the night's proceedings becomes something else far more engaging, transcending the usual commercially successful dirge the number one spot in the charts spews out. Flanked by backing musicians including a stripped back string section, songs which on record sound contrived spread out, showcasing the depth of Young's beautifully layered pure pop song writing.

Trotting out 'Fireflies' halfway through, Young and co receive an aural rapture as response but truth told, it's not by far the best song of the evening. With a definite party vibe kicking in, Owl City prove that what they lack in lyrical weight they more than make up in fun factor. And so it continues for forty five minutes, punctuated at regular intervals by yet more fanatical screaming.

By the end, after a single song encore with the lights flickering on, GIITTV is in a daze, needing a drink to cope with the whirlwind of it all. That earlier oh-so-dirty feeling has been washed away by a performance that has surprised and even confounded your now humbled reviewer.

It seems like we're all fourteen year old pop queens at heart - we might as well give in and embrace it.