Colors splashed across the stage, from a shining green sequined jacket to a light up tambourine, combining with the energy from the band bouncing with the audience as people danced and sang along to Great Good Fine Ok.
This Brooklyn band performed a sold out show Friday and though the crowd started off with just a simple bobbing of the heads, toward the end of the set attendees were jumping along and singing.
Jon Sandler, the singer and co-writer, energized the crowd from the second he hopped on stage until his very last song with his spins, dance moves and overall magnetic presence.
The other members of the indie pop band, including co-writer and music frontman Luke Moellman, made sure to maintain the electronic mix backup.
An hour before the performance a different, I saw a calmer side of Sandler when I sat down with him at the bar of U Street Music Hall to talk about his band.
How did the band get started? And why the name Great Good Fine Ok?
A: Luke was living around the corner from me in Brooklyn with my at the time piano player, so I knew Luke for a few years. But we were just friends. One day, about two years ago, we decided that we should try to write a song together thinking nothing of it.
He sent me the music for ‘You’re The One For Me,’ and I wrote the lyrics and the melody that night. We went back and forth and sent it to some of our friends who really liked it. So we decided to put a team together and released it. It kind of went crazy online. We were like ‘ok, we have a band.’
The name came about because it was a name I’ve been carrying for years. I don’t even remember how it came to me but it felt like the perfect fit for this music and this band. The universe kind of put it together.
What would you say are your influences when you make your music?
A: I’ve been writing songs my whole life and I have so many influences but I guess for this particular music — Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston. All the really charismatic performers and singers definitely inspire us both.
How do you define your sound?
A: Something like electro R&B or electro-pop or synth-pop. Any one of those variations works. Definitely some R&B influences.
In an article by Billboard, you said that you love “juxtaposition.” Is that a theme you try to incorporate in your music?
A: A lot of the music sometimes is very cheerful and the lyrics and subject matter might be more serious — or vise versa. We have fun with that … I don’t know I like the range of emotions in a songs to vary even within the same song.
Luke is probably thinking the same thing when he is creating the music. There ends up being parts of the music that are joyful with sad lyrics or vise versa. It causes tension and juxtaposition. I hope we have that in our music.
What kind of response were you hoping to evoke from people through your music and through tonight’s performance?
A: We’re writing music that we love and performing it with everything we have. We just hope people are relating to what we’re doing and gaining joy from it and that they feel something. The best thing we can ask for is that they feel anything. So far we’ve been really lucky that people do feel things from our music.
In live performances we want that energy. The more energy the audience has the more energy we give back. Specifically for tonight I hope the crowd came ready to dance and kind of lose themselves, I guess.
What’s the best thing you love about the crowds at your shows?
A: That energy — feeling the different crowds. We perform every night, we’re on tour right now, and we play almost 27 shows in a row. You do feel different energies from different audiences. It’s really palpable and each one is different. That’s the best thing.
And then meeting all the fans from all over the country, who all have amazing stories and are all great people. You never know who’s listening and it’s great to meet everyone.
Featured Photo Credit: Great Good Fine Ok during their sound check at U Street Music Hall. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Naomi Harris is a junior journalism and cultural anthropology double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.