“Step out into the sun, skies above they radiate me.” The golden goodness of Oh Wonder can only be described as a heavenly mixture of pacifying piano, balanced harmonies, and steady rhythms. Their delicate alt-indie music evokes a feeling of floating and levity that isn’t entirely of this world. On Sept. 27, Oh Wonder graced the North Park Observatory stage, and several MC students were fortunate enough to experience the band’s beaming energy and defining sound.
The Observatory’s small space–only holding about 100 people–the musicians’ constant crowd interaction, and the venue made for a different experience.
“The Observatory has a really vintage look to it but once the concert started it turned into a vibrant modern indie setting with a simple O W as their set lit up and turned multiple colors overt the night,” Sahana Cletus (12) said.
Lindsey Shepard (11), another attendee, elaborated on the atmosphere of the crowd and overall ambiance of the night.
“The crowd was a lot smaller than normal concerts and everyone in the audience was like-minded and not rude which was a nice change,” Shepard said. “Also, it was definitely more of an intimate concert. You could tell that the lead singer was more genuine than most singers, you can tell that she’s still trying to grow her fanbase.”
The London-based band is composed of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. They really are the new kids on the block, as the duo only got together in 2014. Their success however, is undeniable. Oh Wonder’s first album was unconventional in its release; the band released a song every month for a year until releasing their full debut self-titled album. Their response from the public was like a leak in a dam, a slow but sure trickle that soon lead to a big and unexpected rush.
Oh Wonder’s music can still be fitted into a genre, however their characterizing style affects their listeners’ emotional response. Their San Diegan concert was no exception. The crowd was really moved by the music, as if being pulled on puppet strings.
“Josephine is really big on messages like ‘be yourself’ and she told us to ‘dance however you want’ and the crowd took that and ran with it,” Shepard said, “The people all around us were dancing and you could tell they didn’t care what anyone thought about how they looked as they were moving their arms in big, grand gestures.”
Juniors Jenna Burns and Emily Seitter also partook in the affecting emotional journey of Oh Wonder’s music.
“When listening you’re overcome with this feeling of joy and pure bliss,” Burns said.
Shepard also feels the same way. “Their music is the kind of music that you feel or absorb. They [the band] give off this free-spirit energy,” she said.
While Oh Wonder filled the night with euphoric songs, positive messages, and aesthetically pleasing lighting effects, the best part of the evening for Burns was the bittersweet ending.
“At the end with the encore, they walked off the stage, but you knew they’d come back and when they did the crowd’s energy was just so high,” Burns said.
The spirit of the crowd was like a chameleon, changing colors due to their surroundings, in this case due to the different song styles Oh Wonder presented. In happier, upbeat songs filled with hopeful lyrics, the crowd reverberated yellow joy and ecstatic feelings. In slower melodic gentle piano pieces, the crowd turned blue and reflected upon lost loves.
Oh Wonder’s music is of such great depth, it can make a listener switch moods in a snap, elevating emotions from highs to lows. Their music’s piano foundation, developed with layers of base and synthesizers, finished off with guitar and harmonious vocals can only be described as pure artistic brilliance. They gave their fans of San Diego a night of musical bliss that no one will forget.