Wednesday 19 October 2016

LIVE: Three days in the life of a live music fan...

It seems that while going to lots of shows and having relatively little time to write blog posts, those things that I do get to write are a summary of a few shows at a time - so here's another of those... last Thursday I ran another show for Tigmus, this time back at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford, with Dublin's The Eskies headlining as one of the last shows on their UK tour. It wasn't as rammed as the show I did in the same venue a week before, but, being so far from home and playing in Oxford for the first time they pulled a decent crowd and put on a cracking show. The night was opened by Louis Barabbas (captain of The Bedlam Six) who played a highly enjoyable, energetic and theatrical set. When it was time for The Eskies' set, I was really glad I'd taken the time to check out their album After The Sherry Went Round before the show, as it meant a lot of the tracks were familiar to me. The tracks, like Jesus Don't Save Me (watch the entertaining video below) were great but probably stealing the show was the onstage chatter, with amusing stories and observations from the band, namely about how many grey squirrels there are in Oxford (good point!) It also helps that they were really lovely guys too, a great night in all!

Next up, a big show for Tigmus, with one of our/my favourite Oxford bands Little Brother Eli headlining upstairs at the O2 Academy. We had a brilliant line-up of local acts playing, with My Crooked Teeth opening the night with his new backing band, duo WOLFS who played such tunes as Mirror, and lastly the lovely Lucy Leave following their UK tour last month! By the time LBE came on stage the room was packed full of adoring local music fans, who enjoyed a set featuring much of their album Cold Tales as well as a few new tracks! A video I captured on the night of their great track Gold is here but watch below for a recent acoustic video! 

During the show, in between selling merch for the guys at the back of the room.... from an ironing board, I arranged (incredibly last minute) to volunteer at Oxjam Festival on Saturday, an all-day (ish) festival taking place in venues along Cowley Road with a bunch of the best bands playing sets to raise money for Oxfam. I volunteered back in 2014 a couple of months after first starting university, when the festival was in the city centre (no idea why I didn't go last year!) and was on the door of a night-club, turning away drunk Oxford Uni students... this year was a lot cooler! 

I started off volunteering around three o'clock at the East Oxford Community Centre (and aside from grabbing some food, didn't venture very far away at all.) I caught some brilliant bands but there were still so many more I didn't get chance to see, check the full line-up here. First up were Roberto y Amigos, my first time seeing them without Jonny as he's gone off to university (and as far as I know the first time they played without him, though I'm told they'll have a new guitarist, Robin's Neverlnd bandmate Henry, soon). Probably somewhat testament to Robin's skill as a bassist, I didn't feel the lack of a guitar was much of a problem, and didn't really register that it wasn't there for a few tracks! Robin's sister Cat also joined the guys to sing, and I really enjoyed the set! Next up, and no break for drummer George (drawback of being in lots of brilliant bands?) were homeplanetearth, whose set I mostly watched through the door but could hear pretty well and enjoyed - they're also fresh from a Tigmus UK tour. There were a couple more bands on in the room I was in the door for whose sets I didn't really catch, but I was able to squeeze in for Bright Works and what I could hear, squished up against a radiator, was pretty great.

Bright Works
Sadly Little Brother Eli, who had been announced as the festival's special guests only hours before, had to pull out because Alex had been feeling pretty ill the night before and wanted to rest up his voice for their show the next day, so we had a quiet hour in my venue, during which I heard the irresistible Take Me To The Green by Slate Hearts coming from the other stage in the venue. I think I knew they were playing but wasn't aware when and where so this was a pleasant surprise and I managed to go and catch their set before finishing up my shift and heading out for some food. When I came back, I stayed in the venue I'd been helping at, and caught folk trio Little Red, who I'd met at a show I did the door for but didn't catch their set at so it was really great to finally see them - they're headlining the O2 for Tigmus on 18th November. Next up was Jess Hall who I remember seeing in December 2014 opening for Adam Barnes, on the bill with Willie J Healey, and who has got a fairly beautiful voice.

Finally, finishing up the day for me and for many others as the room got pretty full, was The Fusion Project, who I caught at Sofar recently with a four-piece band, so it was cool to see them with seven members this time. I'm beginning to get really excited for their huge (enormous, no less) show this Friday at the Sheldonian Theatre for Tigmus where I reckon they'll have ten members, live dancers and some incredible tunes - if you're interested in coming (and why wouldn't you be), grab your ticket here as they're selling quickly!

The Fusion Project
Another cracking weekend of music, and it was such a great day at Oxjam, being reminded of just how many lovely people I actually know in Oxford, seeing several bands, music industry peeps and fans who I knew. The perfect celebration of our beautiful and diverse local music scene, raising a heck of a lot of money for an incredible cause. Here's to more gigs! 

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