Review: Oxjam 2011

The Fearlessness of Youth!

£10 was a trifling amount to pay for the annual shenanigans put on by the people at Oxjam Leicester, and I only arrived as the street parties were drawing to a close around 6.30pm. A happy sized crowd was in the party spirit already and having a good old knees up in Orton Square to the bold tunes of Kingsize, setting the right sort of tone for an evening of, quite frankly, bargain fun.

I found myself by way of what seemed to be an impromptu warehouse rave in Queen Street before landing at Phoenix Square, where the Youth Stage was sounding a little mature for its age.  This was however, not without some highly accomplished performances from Mark Elliot and particularly Izzy Marie Hill, who sang and played with confidence and panache. The audience was a family affair, with all ages present, and they supremely enjoyed it when Mark teamed up with Curtis Clacey to do Cry Me A River; one everyone knew. But did it have the fearlessness of youth? I fear not. Yet as a ‘cuddly’ set it achieved its purpose, while the more wayward kids danced in the dark at the party round the corner. Somehow it would have been nice to see a marriage of the two.

After a bit of a fail at Chutney Ivy which was deserted, I made my way to the grown up gigs at the Exchange and Manhattan 34. The Exchange is the nicer venue for bands, has a lovely cavernesque feel to it, and The Fazed were there doing their stuff which was vibey and fun. It was a great atmosphere and I would have liked to stay, but I was packing it in on this evening trying to see as much as I could.  Unfortunately Echolocation , afterwards at Manhattan 34, were disappointingly retro with Fall pretensions, but Elephant were more interesting with their wailing guitars and rough-around-the-edges appeal.

There was a lot to choose from at this event and it went on well into the early hours at several nightclubs around town. Really we were absolutely spoiled for choice, and my message to Oxjam 2012 is definitely come on guys, be brave, charge a whole lot more. Punters aint getting a second-hand night out here. ‘Tis a good cause. Charge a score. Be a little fearless.

By Genevieve Sylt