Oxjam Leicester Takeover review 2016
Second edition: 15th October
Here is the second draft of the report. Still a lot more writing to come. And more photos. Maybe some videos too. Come back for more over the next few days.
Music in Leicester magazine had its reporters and media crew present at Oxjam 2016 throughout the day. This is our report on what we saw: it might not have captured the whole of the event but it represents a lot of it.
Oxjam Leicester Takeover took place on Saturday 8th October 2016. Tickets for the event were £8 in advance and £10 on the day for a wristband allowing entry to all the venues.
There were six music venues, one comedy stage and one venue that provided an artist-led gallery with some experimental electronic performances alongside exhibitions.
This was the seventh year that Leicester provided an Oxjam festival. The aim of the event was to raise money for Oxfam, the charity that provides relief to people in poverty. The majority of artists, bands, singers and acts that took part in this year’s festival were from Leicester and Leicestershire.
The venues listed in the programme were Exchange bar, Manhattan 34, Soundhouse, The Shed, Midas bar, Two Queens gallery, The Ale Wagon and a performance stage in Orton Square. As in previous years, when the event took place in the city centre, the venues were in the Cultural Quarter, providing a fairly compact area so that all of them were within easy walking distance.
The centre of Leicester is well provided with buses and is not far from the main train station.
Thanks are due to our media team at this year’s event: Kevin Gaughan, Pascal Pereira and Trevor Sewell.
Trevor Locke presents his personal reflections on the artists he saw; a random sampling from the various stages.
It was at The Ale Wagon that I saw Tony Alles, the widely celebrated blues singer. A good start to the day’s programme. Alles is an artist of long standing and high calibre; noted for his excellent guitar playing and exceptional ability to sing the blues.
Not all the festival was about music; the one stage that offered an alternative was Manhattan34, where over 20 comedians were ready to make people laugh.
After a warm-up from the compère which included a series of one-liners about vegetables, it was time to welcome the first act of the day – Dan Wallbank. He started with some jokes about ‘Tinder‘ (whatever that is) and did some political material before moving on to cats and dogs. Check out the Autumn Fridge – from 8th October to 13th November. A colourful season of enhanced comedy nights, half term Kids’ shows and one-off comedy events. Taking place at various venues. Watch out for the flyers which might well be around the venues.
Just round the corner at Midas I found Becky Edwards singing to a small audience; still it was as yet early on in the day.
Becky is a well established singer and songwriter whose work is widely admired on the Leicester scene.
Another singer at Midas was Kaitlyn Elverson.
Before I forget let me thank (on your behalf) all the sound engineers who gave up a day of their busy schedules to support the festival; having almost a dozen sound sets to manage they all did a really splendid job of keeping those glorious sounds coming. Well done to all of them.
Greg Poole was at the Exchange Bar, plying a goodly gathering with his characterful voice.
Greg Poole is an acoustic performer and is known also as a gig empresario at the Soundhouse. Greg performed at the Simon Says festival earlier this year.
Out in Orton Square there was a theatrical performance. Members of Enter Edem were presenting their show Origins, a family show about a young girl who goes on a whirlwind adventure with an eccentric explorer.
Enter Edem is a collective of artists whose theatrical works tell stories about human experience, philosophy and the fantastically abstract; its artistic director is Emma Fay.
Back at Midas I was delighted to see Fullfathom5, featuring one of my favourite singers Jake Manning accompanied by Simon Matthews (or vice versa.)
They sang Jake’s song ‘The Mutineer‘. Oh how I love that song! Jake Manning has been performing his songs in Leicester for many years.
A group called Bowbridge played at Midas.
I think they were part of the Bowbridge Band, a local ensemble that has played at many venues in the city over the years.
The first bands of the day were at The Soundhouse. I was there to see Once Vagrant Souls, led by David Lewis.
Once Vagrant Souls performed at the massive show held on Good Friday in Humberstone Gate; over one thousand people were there to see the live music artists and celebrate what Good Friday is about. Once Vagrant Souls said they have a new EP coming out in December which features Casual Lover and Captain, songs they performed for us today. Very good they were too. Melodies with plenty of appeal and good vocals from Mr. Lewis. The band has a Glastonbudget audition coming up so that’s another date for the diary.
They came on just after a performance by Yoda Club which, I was told, was pretty good.
Yodaclub plays songs that are edgy indie pop and rock in genre. Its home town is Corby. They have a page on Bandcamp. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Such is the life of running round festival stages. You just can’t be everywhere at the same time – not for want of trying. It was good to see bands and singers that I know well and a few that were somewhat unfamiliar. Oxjam is a good opportunity to sample of musical life of Leicester and its surrounding areas. It is rare that such a wide variety of artists and bands come together for a day to offer their artistic delights.
I got to the Shed, in Yeoman Street, in time to catch one of the most impressive singers of the local scene.
Round at The Shed, James Cull was in full swing. His megawatt vocals powered the whole of Yeoman Street. A spectacular performance from this renown singer.
Oxjam festival is a good opportunity to discover some of Leicester’s many live music venues; for people who are new to the scene, getting to a bunch of venues on the same day is an opportunity to find out what they are like.
This year the festival included The Shed, The Soundhouse, Exchange bar, Midas, Manhattan34 and the Ale Wagon.
The Scrubs is a young Leicester band who demonstrate just how amazing young musical talent can be in this city. If you missed them today they are back at the Shed again on 19th November for the big show with Jonezy. The four guys were fronted by their singer who had shed loads of energy (I wish I had a set of jump leads) and they play with considerable confidence. Their own songs were supplemented with covers of Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana. It was a fervent demonstration of teen spirit.
I arrived at the Ale Wagon just in time to see Dawson Smith and his band packing up their amps at the end of their set. Ah well, better luck next year! I have of course seen them many times before and have said on many occasions how good they are as a band.
Before I go… let me say that there were some very good bands that I missed: Arc Isla, Little Dead Town, Beneath The Lights, her Burden, Dead Question, The World Can Wait, being along them. Fortunately, they are all bands I written about before in the pages of this magazine. That’s what the search button is for!
Highlights from the Exchange Bar
This group appeared at the unPlugged show at the Musician in February 2015; we said at the time: ‘The four- to five-piece group from Leicester describe their music as ‘Fresh twists on covers of pop, indie, rock, blues, dance, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass.’ Offering a good vocal layer to their songs, they delivered a vibrant and enjoyable set.’
Lambone Splinter played at last year’s Leicester Oxjam and in 2014. The band has also performed at several festivals including Glastonbudget.
This oddly named group plays music they describe as ‘electronica dark pop indie alternative’ and they are from Derby. They have various songs available on Spotify.
This band played at Hose Fest in June this year.
Nile is a force of nature; singer, songwriter, sound engineer, gig organiser… he must be one of the best-known musical personalities in the city. Famed for his postings on Facebook, he is a busy person who finds time to do a lot of things.
On the Orton Square stage
Highlights from The Soundhouse
Arc Isla. What a good band. We have reported on their performances several times. an indie band from the Midlands. One of the members of the band is Matt Peach. He can also do a great solo act.
This band from the Notts/Derby area is a firm favourite both of mine and of many music fans hereabouts. Two superb vocalists and an unusual duo combination of guitar and drums. We have reviewed them several times.
Beneath The Lights. This is a band we have reviewed before – many times. They exemplify the strong tradition of making good music that appeals to a wide variety of people. A firm favourite at festivals and many of the larger shows. They are one of our featured bands: Beneath The Lights on Music in Leicester.
Highlights from The Shed
Artists that participated in the festival.
This list was compiled from the printed broadsheet made available by the organisers; it shows which acts were billed; it does not confirm that they actually performed.
The Bear & His House Rockers
Beneath The Lights
Blue Skies in June
The Earliest Beings
James Watt and the Avenues
Jeevan Kaur Bal
Little Dead Town
Nile K. McGregor
Once Vagrant Souls
Seth Faergolzia’s Multibird
The World Can Wait
Jonezy was booked but was unable to perform
There were also acts and performers and artists at Two Queens
Over 20 acts took part in the comedy stage at Manhattan34
Several people were involved in performances on the stage at Orton Square.
See the whole day’s programme laid out graphically. clashfinder-general-__-oxjam-leicester-takeover-2016-landscape
Our review of Leicester Oxjam in 2015.
All reports of previous Oxjam festivals publish in this magazine are listed on the contents page.