On October 27th Oxjam took over six venues in Cheltenham to raise money for Oxfam through music. Hosting a stage at The Exmouth, BBC Introducing Gloucestershire curated a whole day of live bands to raise awareness for such a great cause. Here’s what happened.
When you hear the words BBC introducing you know you’re going to get the finest in local, under the radar music just waiting to be discovered. Hosting a special stage at the Oxjam Cheltenham takeover the cream of the crop in Gloucestershire talent from the area flocked to entertain the adorning punters who all contributed to make poverty history through the power of music.
Ethemia delivered the message about doing what we can to help others with support and love. A very humbling performance that almost brought me to tears with their true to life words that really hit home. They wouldn’t have cared if they were performing to one man and his dog they gave it their all and even brought the audience a present beyond their soothing music. Highlighting the Oxfam moto of giving they handed out palm sized envelops that encased a phrase to lift your spirits. Handwritten and sealed with a floral stamp, mine read: “Beyond the words and all that scarred, you will hear the truth.” Their performance of original songs left a lump in your throat and a goosebump feeling that sets your mind back to the real motive behind Oxjam.
Gracing the likes of the world famous Maida Vale studios, Kevin Roy’s R&B twist on classics such as Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven and indie anthems including King’s of Leon’s Use Somebody was an interesting and fresh addition to the stage. Whilst Strange Things Frighten Us filled the room with energy and adrenaline with their punk sound, they took it upon themselves to rejuvenate Foster the People’s debut track Pumped Up Kicks with a sound that was heavy, driven and rather mature for a band so young.
Welcoming back to the stage the Cheltenham battle of the bands winner, Fake Small Fish reveled in their crowning glory as the best school band in the county. Made up of members aged under 18 it was brilliant to see the expression on their parents’ faces as they onlooked with embarrassment at their precious kids singing the explicit version of Killing In The Name Of. Carrying on the American rocker theme with a cover of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Suck My Kiss, they even took on the challenge of playing the finger bleeding guitar led instrumental Cliffs of Dover. It’s a shame that their original material wasn’t ready for the Oxjam gig, but for a bunch of lads juggling homework with hard rock they’ve built a pretty solid foundation.
Finishing up the night with Cheltenham favourites Welcome to Marathon their upbeat romanticised melodies with keys, strings, harrowing trumpets and Doc Martins for good measure reeled in a packed room of music lovers whose toe tapping went unnoticed and their generosity sincerely thanked at the end of the night. A headline act definitely worth checking out, with a particular mention of their track Hurricane Anna which brings the whole kit and caboodle together.
Oxjam’s slogan of local music global impact certainly goes a long way. In a pretty unconventional music town like Cheltenham, even they pulled it out of the bag to join the nationwide push to help fight poverty whilst offering a whole host of live music and a feeling of good deed for less than a pint, by Cheltenham’s standards anyways.