So Imogen Heap added a Jakarta show to her schedule a few months ago. I wasnt going to go because it was pretty expensive ($50), apparently this is normal because of the cost of bringing an artist here. Lida convinced me to go. I was a bit reluctant but am really glad I went.

The show opened with Back Ted N Ted.  He was kind of an eclectic guitar based pop with liberal usage of looping, vocoder and pedal effects.  His composition was good but it was too much like a male version of Imogen for an opening act but with poor lyrical content.  The second guy was Tim Exile.  He did improvisational dance music using samples of his voice , the audience and a drum machine.  He had a flight simulator video game controller that he had programmed to add loops, pitch shift and tweak sounds that made for a really cool interactive experience.  But I thought his original, non-improvised songs were pretty painful.

Imogen had an amazing set up, including a plexiglass grand piano, wireless microphones on to her wrists to mic all her percussion instruments as she played and her signature array mbira.  She did a great combination of old and new.  Shes a great performer because she does very original music but combines it with an amazing singing voice on the level of pop artists like Alicia Keys and Beyonce Knowles.

The most amazing thing though, was the crowd.  There were about 1000 people in the seated section and an additional 3000-5000 in general admission and surprisingly, almost all of them were intimately familiar with her music. They knew the songs as soon as they started and many were singing along with and knew all the words.  She said she had no idea until 2 months ago that she had so many fans here. I couldn’t help but think that what she really wanted to say was “All you buy is pirated music so how the hell am I supposed to know I had fans here.”

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