OH, What a WONDERful Night

Teagan McGinnis | Oh Wonder | SOMA

Oct. 15th, 2017

The room is completely filled. SOMA transforms into a hot haven for all those seeking a revival through sound. The room is glowing with a red aurora as the opener, Jaymes Young, takes the stage. He gives the audience a special experience, playing stripped versions of fan favorites from his new album, “Feel Something.” He seizes resounding control when he slips into a paired down version of “Sugar Burn.” Accompanied only by a piano, his vocal range and depth are explicitly clear. His voice carries through the entire room, as if each individual can see and feel multicolored sound frequencies that cater specifically to the emotions evoked from his lyrics. Young finishes his set with “Habits of the Heart,” his most popular track, released as a single in 2014. His career as an artist has only just begun and I predict that his music will make waves this coming year.

The excitement ceaselessly builds as the audience prepares for an evening of alternative-pop frequencies. Oh Wonder takes the stage with an uncontainable energy as Josephine Vander Guch, lead vocalist and pianist, rejoices at the fact that just 18 months prior they had played a show that was not nearly as filled. They perform songs from both their old and new albums that balance instrumentals of electronic and real sounds. Throughout the show, Vander Guch cannot help but smile uncontrollably during each piece as Anthony West, the complementary vocalist, pianist, and lead guitarist, intertwines intricate guitar solos that elevate the sound to something almost other-worldly. As I look back on the evening, the London duo had many magical moments of simply staring at each other as the lights dimmed after each song, transforming their bodies into to singing silhouettes. It was a night of dancing and emotive conversation. Both West and Vander Guch took a few minutes to inspire the crowd with a story regarding the disbelief of their current success in the realm of music. The duo touched on the importance of fostering confidence internally. Vander Guch stated, “We are very normal people with great ambitions.” They proceeded to say that because of this fact everyone in the room can accomplish their dreams as long as they hold fast to what they believe in. After the show, I asked USD student and avid listener, Sabrina Smith, to describe the spirit of the performance. She stated that the crowd mirrored the performer’s energy. When the band was enthusiastic, the audience responded and fed it back to them in full force. Her favorite songs from that evening consisted of “All We Do,” which was prefaced with the talk of great ambitions by ordinary people, and “Lose It,” which is her favorite Oh Wonder song from their self-titled first album. In addition to the stellar stage presence and light show, the performance will be forever marked by the happiness and freedom of pursuing your passions against all odds. Oh Wonder’s sophomore album, “Ultralife” is out now!