Oh Wonder’s Surprisingly Vibrant Crowd in a Surprisingly Vibrant Show

By Fernanda Esquivel, Contributing Writer

The English duo Oh Wonder stirred up the crowd at the Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday night, September 27th, inspiring tears, excitement and dancing among the young crowd- and they didn’t let the masses forget how grateful they were to be playing there.

The alt pop duo is all about the show. They focus on the lights, the colors, and fuel themselves from the crowd sing-alongs. Since the moment they came on stage, they didn’t repeat one set of lights, visual effects or patterns on the big “OW” sign placed behind them. The big sign was directly at the center of the stage, coming off oddly propaganda-like but enthralling, perhaps because of its overwhelming size and contrast to the simple set ups of the indie artists that tend to play at Brooklyn Steel. Their energy was contagious, giving speeches about their career journey and how they never gave up their dreams. Josephine Vander Gucht (vocals and piano), shared her bubbly, happy personality and hair-rocking dance moves. Anthony West (vocals and guitar), presented his excited, adrenaline filled personality along with his elongated vocals and foot tapping moves. Their way of interacting on stage suggested friendship and reflected a nurtured chemistry of on-stage performance and mutual affection.  

Oh Wonder played a set of an hour and a half, combining both old and new songs. They played three songs from their first album, the rest from their second, Ultralife. The fans increased in excitement exponentially. Each song spurred a cheer louder than the previous. Songs like “Lose it” and “All We Do” sparked emotions and wild chanting throughout. To say that the crowd knew the lyrics is not an overstatement, their exact lyric reproduction was proof of their devotion.  

Evidently, what attracted these fans the most is that the duo performs, in a very active sense. They’re not scared to jump, sway their hair back and forth, throw their hands up and interact with the crowd. Fans had Irish and British flags, screamed their names, and repeatedly said comments like “I love her” and “OMG this is my favorite song!”- The exhilaration was real.

Regardless of how openly loving the duo seems to be, it was striking to notice that even in what lyrics promised to be songs of crisis, following themes of fear, loneliness, heartbreaking love and failure, there was a discordance to the expressions transmitted by the artists. They never stopped smiling. Perhaps their goal is to make their concerts an experience of purely good vibes and positivity, but it did seem at some point unfitting. Perhaps they were too swayed by their continuous excitement of performing at the venue. Guest saxophonist Will, Josephine’s brother, was even invited on stage. The young, talented musician pulled off a great solo, followed by even greater cheers. The last song was performed and the loud crowd demanded an encore, but the play on light seemed too practiced to be altered. Loud guitar, intense drum roll, strong final vocals, and…  blackout.

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