Jason O Serves Tunes for Lunch
Even with the noise of the Friday lunchtime rush rising, local musician and Penn State graduate Jason Olcese (better known as Jason O) performed a dozen songs at the HUB as part of SPA’s Noontime Concert Series.
Jason O’s looping pedal was in constant use as the musician incorporated guitar, harmonica, trumpet, and even beatboxing into his performance of songs off two of his albums: Sink or Swim and Back to the Beat. The looping pedal allowed him to play a few bars of music with one instrument, record it, and play it back while recording other instruments and vocal harmonies. This gave the illusion of a five-member band, but it was only Jason O who serenaded the crowd.
The set began with a “warmup” song because it was “extremely early in the morning,” Jason O said jokingly at noon. He played a mix of two popular songs: “What I Got” by Sublime and “Fly” by Sugar Ray. This loosened up the artist and intrigued the audience.
The 2006 grad showcased his looping skills on songs such as “Overboard,” “Show Me the Love,” “Hello, Hello,” and the funky “Sir Loops A Lot.” The highlights of the show were the slow tracks when Jason O ditched the technology and relied heavily on his guitar and vocals. Those songs included “Stay” (which he wrote while attending PSU), “Back to the Beat” (the first song I heard with a beatbox chorus), “Glass,” and “Walk Slow”.
Jason O expressed why he enjoys playing smaller, solo shows when he’s not fronting the local band My Hero Zero. “In opportunities like this, I like the songwriter to show through,” he told the crowd.
His connection with the audience was evident. Jason O is a very relatable performer because of his ties to Penn State. Even when he got lost amongst the many loops he had going in “Sir Loops A Lot” he came off as laid back, but not unprofessional.
It wasn’t a huge venue with thousands of fans, but Jason O knows where he stands as an artist. “It depends on what your definition of ‘making it’ is,” he said. “I think I made it because I get to play music every day.”
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After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
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