After selling out nearly their entire U.S. tour (minus two dates that will most likely sell out very soon), Oh Wonder's two nights at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles was sure to be nothing short of a theatre full of throngs of die-hard fans. I expected the crowd to be extremely anxious due to this being Oh Wonder's first tour, ever. The duo released one song every month on the music streaming site Soundcloud for a year. They wanted to create concrete deadlines for themselves that forced them to create a full album in the time span of a year. Since the start of September in 2014, the duo has accumulated over 13.5 million plays on their songs and landed a record deal with Republic Records.
Tagging along with the two East Londoners on this tour was another, D.C. based duo named GEMS. GEMS reminded me of the XX, but with a slightly heavier usage of synths and electronic beats. I was drawn to the ominous lighting during their set and Cliff's deep, brooding tone mixed with Lindsay's ethereal voice. The crowd seemed to be entranced by this haunting duo and were swaying back and forth to their dark melodies.
Once Oh Wonder's set time approached, the room became tremendously packed and a majority of the girls in the front row began to squeal out of excitement, expressing their love for Anthony to one another. I expected a much more calm and subtle crowd due to the nature of their music, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was taken aback by the number of screams and borderline fan-girl yelling that occurred once Oh Wonder stepped on stage. The crowd impressed me with its seemingly overwhelming obsession with the two Brits. The energy they bring to their live performance brought the album to life. Their voices were crisp and clear, something that is a rarity somewhat for live performances. It says a lot about an artist when someone who isn't entirely familiar with the said artist's catalog, but walks away from the concert with a newfound love and respect for them. I assure you that I wasn't the only one who felt like this. Although I will admit that I already fell in love with a little bit beforehand because they wrote their song "Dazzle" after Louis Theroux's mini-documentary about frequent gamblers in Vegas. What more can I ask for than songs with depth, meaning, and intriguing stories behind their creation?
Review & photos by Summer Dos Santos