Oh Wonder bring big smiles and bright lights to the sold-out Observatory in Santa Ana (with Astronomyy)
Oh Wonder brought big smiles and bright lights to their sold-out show at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. British singer and guitarist Astronomyy was the opener for the night. His rhythmic, melodic R&B-indie sound served as a lovely start to the show. This was my third time seeing Oh Wonder perform live. The last time I saw them they opened up for The 1975 at Syracuse University, and prior to that I saw them perform on a small stage at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Seeing them perform as headliners of their own tour was wonderful and exciting, and as always the duo did not disappoint.
Oh Wonder is a London based duo comprised of talented musicians Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gutch. The duo released their most recent album Ultralife July of last year. Since then, the duo has been touring across the US and UK promoting and sharing their newer songs. “We played here a while back and we remember it being one of the greatest shows in Oh Wonder history,” Josephine said after the first few songs. There was an extreme amount of energy exuding from the crowd, and the circular shape of the venue created a more noticeable sense of community. Accompanied by two additional live performance bandmates, Oh Wonder exuded a tremendous confidence and had an illuminating stage presence compared to the last time I saw them perform.
The band played a nice balance of older favorites and newer songs. Before they performed their hit single “High On Humans,” a robotic voice prompted the crowd. “Santa Ana are you ready,” repeated and echoed throughout the venue following a break out into a colorful and electrifying performance. It was almost as if a switch had been flipped. Everyone in the crowd began dancing and singing along as if they had been hypnotized. The large “OW” lights also provided an extra bit of drama, especially when timed to the beats of the music. During their song “Body Gold,” Josephine danced around the stage, and during “Lose It” and “Heart Strings” Josephine’s brother, William, joined on stage and played the saxophone. One of the most heartwarming moments was before the band performed their song, “All We Do.” “It’s ok not to be ok… it becomes a really scary world when people start telling people who to love and what to wear, your religion and beliefs […] don’t ever doubt yourself because you are amazing and this song celebrates just that,” Josephine said. It was a beautiful introduction to the song, and a powerful message to share during this tense time in society where people are still unable to express themselves, love who they want to love or speak their truths.
The band performed a two-song encore performance featuring songs “Ultralife” and “Drive.” Overall their performance was upbeat, dynamic, and fun. The duo also mentioned that they would be releasing new music soon, inspired by their love for California and their time spent here. For more information on Oh Wonder and their tour schedule check out their website here: http://ohwondermusic.com/.