Taking the stage Monday night at the Starlight, the members of O.A.R. resembled those of any run-of-the-mill college band. In fact, bedecked in jeans, tee shirts and Pumas, they even mirrored the style of many of the 400 or so listeners in the audience.
When they began to play, however, their talent betrayed their appearance: they are more than just another young band trying to make it big; they are one that actually could.
The evening began with Chicago-based band Left Undone, a last minute addition to the lineup. The jazz-infused first song, accented by Ben Glazer (lead vocals) and his tambourine, prepared the crowd for the meandering evening to come.
The elusive singer/songwriter Howie Day followed with beautifully crafted pieces that employed only Day, his guitar and some loop effects. He effortlessly intertwined his own work from his debut album “Australia,” with covers of Macy Gray and U2.
The main draw for many students, however, was O.A.R., or ‘-of a revolution.’ The band, whose success began at Ohio State University with a unique blend of rock, reggae, ska and folk, has been selling out shows from coast to coast since June.
Opening the over two hour set with the title track from their first album, “The Wanderer,” O.A.R. managed to meld songs from their two older albums, as well as from last year’s “Risen,” into one energy-filled evening.
One of the newer songs, “Hey Girl,” lightheartedly rambled its way along for seven minutes, highlighting drummer Chris Culos’ stylings.
“Black Rock,” from the band’s debut album, remained true to the recorded rendition with melodious vocals from Marc Roberge.
The band dedicated “About Mr. Brown” to Michael Caputo, a friend who passed away, and then took the opportunity to bring things down a notch with a mellow version of “Delicate Few,” leading into U2’s “With or Without You.”
“I Feel Home,” a gem off their second album, “Souls Aflame,” again showcased Roberge’s fluid vocals, while providing the audience a chance to rest and regain energy.
That energy was much needed for the last song, O.A.R.’s well-known “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker.” The song, while packing less punch that its recorded version, provided Jerry DePizzo (saxophone), Benj Gershman (bass guitar) and Richard On (lead guitar) with a chance to shine with intricate instrumentals.
The quirky song quickly transpired its contagious energy throughout the crowd and before long, you could hear the audience singing over Roberge.
O.A.R. will play tonight at the Boulder Theater before leaving Colorado for a stint in the Pacific Northwest.
Should these shows continue in the tradition of Monday night, O.A.R. may soon find that they are the next big thing. n