Festival Review: Oxjam Nottingham 2017

As some of you may, or may not know last Saturday on the 21st of October Nottingham held its annual Oxjam fest, celebrating local indie music and supporting a great cause. The night was split across two venues with the indie scene being splashed about the upper room of Spanky Van Dykes and the mellow folky vibes associated with yesteryear being represented in the Nottingham Trent watering hole: The Orange Tree.

Growing up listening to the harsher side of the indie scene I naturally gravitated towards Spanky Van Dykes just in time for a local duo who go by the name of Vega Bay. Unfortunately, as with all gigs, the earlier the set time the thinner the crowd and what with kicking off at 6.55pm Vega Bay’s crowd was not as full as one would desire. This however did not detract from the great sounds they gave out, with a slick aesthetic and two guitars the local boys definitely made themselves know to the crowd with their blues styles rift and strong vocals. This could be due to my mind being on what was going on next-door in Rock City at the same time but Vega sounded eerily like the quickly rising Palace, any fan of them will find some easy listening with these boys.

Vega were followed by Short Weekends, a self proclaimed indie rock band with baby faces and a strong decisive set. With a comparatively short set list of 5-6 songs Short Weekends did not really go that far to display their range but what they did, they did well. The band gave a tight performance reminiscent of the Killers in many ways with the synth an excellent addition to the traditional quartet. However it must be said that vocally the band’s front man, Murden, did struggle at points. They also know how to use their heads as Murden took the opportunity to highlight their debut single release at Rough Trade Nottingham next month under the title Green Summer which saw off their set. It’s definitely one for dancing.

Super Furniture took to the stage next in what was slowly turning into a very promising night and dived straight into the high chords and strained vocals that scream home to any local indie scene supporter. Transitions between songs were sublime and chat was kept to a minimum and as the set went on you got the feeling these chaps really knew how to play. My personal highlight was a song requested by the audience under the title Balloons, with vocals reminiscent of the Kooks the band went at it with some sensational improvisation on lead guitar. Like flour in your gravy, Super Furniture were a great crowd thickener and done a lot to get the growing crowd moving. Although I think the less said about the Arthur theme song cover, the better.

As Prime were setting up I realised that The Orange Tree also deserved the Mics attention so I took to my feet and got stuck into a much calmer vibe. The scene was immediately different with a lot less ripped jeans and vans and more flannel shirts and Chelsea boots. Never one to be put off by aesthetics I still managed to get my ears around some sweet indie/folk bands.

The first of which was folk band TheoTheo, a duo giving an acoustic set. With shades of a Fleetwood Mac sound they mellowed me out to an ambient state and I quickly got used to the change in scenes. This was enhanced massively by the next act, Ryan Farmer who threw a deep south twang into the mix and stole the show with his own rendition of the Johnny Cash hit- Sixteen Tons.

That was that for Oxjam in Nottingham 2017! A thoroughly enjoyable night in two great venues raising money for a great cause! My personal highlight were Vega boys, I’ve attached a link to the article so you can put it on at pre-drinks and all your indie mates will think you’re dead cool, enjoy!

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