Oxjam Review

Saturday 17th September saw charity event, Oxjam, run at three different locations in Kingston town centre including The Mill, The Cricketers and The Fighting Cocks, where a variety of talented musicians came together to perform.

The purpose of the on-going event is to raise money for Oxfam, a charity which tackles poverty and suffering, in a way which appeals more to gig-goers and music lovers. It was definitely a nice change from a messy night in Pryzm.

The line-up at The Fighting Cocks included Oceans, Pandora Fox, Thin Wire Fence, Calligram, Eight Days and Snake.

“Music is a huge global thing right now so it is a fantastic way to promote what Oxfam stands for and the many things they do to help people. A lot of people are in to different kinds of music so tonight is a fantastic way to bring a lot of people together,” said Jack Squire, from the band Oceans. “It’s a great honour to be part of that because it means we’re contributing as well.”

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The atmosphere in The Fighting Cocks was jumpy and soul consuming. The skilful and friendly band, Oceans, kicked off the night, followed by Pandora Fox, whose lead singer rocked a beautiful, bright red striped guitar.

The stage presence from all the musicians was on point; they created a strong energy and danced around the stage and communicated with the audience. They did a fantastic job at making the performances about the event and the crowd instead of purely the music, which all contributed to the uplifting vibe. The sounds from the guitars and drums intertwined with the voices of the vocalists, echoing and bouncing off the walls and vibrating the floor as if going straight through your body. The crowd bobbed their heads along whilst dancing, head banging and sipping on beers.

Tom Hollands, from Oceans, said: “I thought our set went well and there was lots of energy from the crowd. I’ve already played one Oxjam this week which was also really fun”.

The atmosphere in The Cricketers contrasted to that of The Fighting Cocks ; the line-up included more acoustic and chilled out genres including performances from Doors, Triale by Fire, Frances Eva Lee, Ewan Lefroy, Chess and Jake Morrell.

The venue was cosy and calm, with fairy lights hanging around the ceiling and people sitting comfortably and swaying gently to the music like sitting around a campfire. Unlike the style of the bands from The Fighting Cocks, there was focus placed mainly on the pure and natural voices of the musicians. Each performer’s voice was hypnotising and had the on lookers, who had their eyes glued to the musicians the whole time, mesmerized and covered in Goosebumps.

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22-year-old Ewan Lefroy, who stood in replacement of Foxtrot Darling, who were unfortunately unable to play due to sickness, said: “I played at Oxjam two years ago but tonight has been really nice. It’s been great to be able to play and have different people come into the pub. I did enjoy my set, I’ve been very tired and didn’t realise I was playing tonight so I didn’t have time to practise but people seemed to enjoy it”.

Her sweet personality and the jokes she cracked assisted with the therapeutic vibe in the room. She could do so many different things with her voice, constantly keeping us all engaged. At one point she played without her guitar or any instrumental and her voice was so perfect it was as if it was auto tuned.

Chess had a very similar style with a Christina Aguilera twist. Her voice was also very versatile and filled every space in the room. Her cover of Chet Faker’s, ‘No Diggity’, sounded better than the original.

Jake Morrell was the last to perform at The Cricketers that night and he closed it all of beautifully.

The line-up for The Mill consisted of musicians Chris Kalli, Miceberg, No People Club, Tin Men, Stupid Chief, SAP.

Once again, the scene was entirely different to that of the other venues. The crowd had consumed quite a few beverages at the later point in the evening so they were shouting back at the bands, dancing, singing along, spilling their beverages amongst ghostly, blue lights. The welcoming and easy- going members of SAP pushed themselves up against the wall of the pub and got down on the floor, all communicating with each other, performing together instead of focusing on themselves separately.

Their performance was really professional and everybody watching seemed to love it. “It’s always fun playing live. All three of us play in more subtle bands so it’s nice to be able to hit our instruments a little bit harder. Using live music as a way of raising money for charity can never be a bad thing really,” said drummer, Shane Keaney, from SAP.

Overall, it was a fantastic event for a fantastic cause, which must have raised a lot of money and also gave something back to the people that donated.

About Rebecca Gouldbourne

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