Review of Oxygen Band, BATS, 2011

Rating: 65%

Oxygen Band played in BATS from January to July 2011, and were put together specifically for this gig (they disbanded in July 2011). Band members came from the EL-Live agency. The band had a standard set up with 3 vocalists (Inga, Vanessa – female, and Oba – male).

Oxygen band (minus Vanessa)

They were superb musicians, and it’s difficult to find fault with them or their performances. There wasn’t really a weakness. Both Inga and Oba were strong lead vocalists, Vanessa was a good second female vocalist, the rhythm section was solid, and the keyboard player (Zach) was a real virtuoso, which doesn’t often happen (although he tended to overelaborate at times, showing his technique rather than what the song needs, which is sometimes just less keyboard). Joe the guitarist was good but probably not in the top rank of guitarists, but he contributed a lot to the show. Oba was one of the strongest male vocalists I’ve seen in Jakarta, but for a black man it was interesting that his rock’n’roll voice was much better than his rapping. Overall I have awarded a rating of 65%. They were certainly worthy of the best gig in South East Asia – BATS.

1. Musicianship (14/20)

All members of the band were strong musically and there wasn’t really a weak link. Minor improvements in keyboard and guitar as mentioned above would have helped, and there was the odd night that they were so drunk that quality suffered a bit, but hey that’s Jakarta!
2. Atmosphere (13/20)
BATS is always a great atmosphere, and Oxygen if anything added even to what you would normally expect there. I believe that a strong top 3 are the key to a great band in BATS and Oba, Inga and Vanessa are maybe the strongest singing unit BATS has seen for a while (possibly even edging Earthbeat), both in terms of singing and getting the crowd going.
3. Communication (13/20)
They made a decent effort to mix with guests, and while on stage the chatting with the crowd was genuine and interactive. Occasionally they allowed other musicians on stage (I sensed maybe reluctantly). Despite their slight sense of superiority they did put a lot into the gig.
4. Songs (13/20)
Generally a good mix of songs, including up-to-date top 40. A bit too much Lady Gaga for my liking plus a tendency to always end up the last set singing Zombie (it kind of became Inga’s signature). Also they sometimes did an “introduce the band” segment which is not really appropriate for a covers band (on guitar, Slash, on drums, Don Henley …) and I wondered if it might have been because they were out of ideas at that point. Talking of which, the sets when Oba was leading the band in Inga’s short absence had a bit more energy, flow and creativity.
5. Value for money (12/20)
While BATS is a bit overpriced, it’s not the worst (see CJs!) and after seeing Oxygen band you generally had the feeling that they had put on a good show giving value for money. They were out on their feet each night which in a way is good to see; they put their hearts into it.

I hope we’ll see some or all of them back in Jakarta before too long.

Memorable song: Zombie

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