On Saturday 22nd February, local Southampton University student Will Dawson put on a music event in aid of raising awareness for Cancer Research. Six acts, including Will himself, were set to perform. Despite facing numerous obstacles during the organisation of the event, it went ahead without a glitch and was a resounding success.
Will set himself the goal of playing fifty acoustic gigs across the country in an attempt to raise people’s awareness of cancer and the work that Cancer Research are doing towards finding a cure. Rather than touring in a bid to collect donations, instead Will has been collecting signatures to put in a ‘get well soon’ card for his family members suffering from the disease.
First on the bill was duo Johnny and Jordan, who are two members of the band Glass Canyons. Their set consisted of a number of different covers, ranging from Outkast‘s ‘Hey Ya’ to Mumford and Sons‘ classic ‘Winter Winds’. The guys got involved in the event through Will, who has played with them as a band as part of his acoustic tour. Johnny and Jordan had never played as a duo before the event; this was not obvious at all and the two provided a great start to the proceedings, garnering attention from local passers-by.
Next up was Jack Kerrigan, another member of Glass Canyons. Like Johnny and Jordan, Jack hadn’t performed as a soloist in this kind of setting before. During his set Jack debuted some songs that had not yet been heard by the rest of his band members. His voice had a strong and unique vibrato that enabled him to be heard despite the background noise in the town centre. I managed to chat to him after his set and he informed me that Glass Canyons were in the last stages of recording their EP, which is to be released soon (a date has not yet been confirmed).
After a quick change in location, Rory McCarthy took centre stage. He played a set of rousing folk songs. Rory showed his skill as a storyteller through the medium of song and captivated the gathering crowd. Jono Ganz was next to perform. Accompanied by a stop pedal, Jono gave an impressive performance that showcased his technical musical ability. This did not stop an angry Irishman disturbing the proceedings by thoughtfully announcing ‘you’re fucking shite’. Undeterred by the man’s rudeness he continued his set defiantly and even managed to secure himself a gig from a passer-by who was equally impressed by his talent. Henry was next up and provided an entertaining set of many well known covers.
Finally, Will Dawson took to the stage. In a bid to warm up the audience Will played a rendition of The Killers classic hit ‘Mr Brightside’ and asked the audience to sing along. Of course they all did – who doesn’t know the words to ‘Mr Brightside’ in this day and age?
He then played an original song he wrote for his uncle who is unfortunately suffering from cancer. It was called ‘Sunshine’ and was clearly fraught with emotion. It was the perfect end to a successful day of music. Not only was the event for a great cause, but it also showcased the great student talent there is in Southampton. So often student musicians aren’t given a platform to showcase their talent, yet by organising this event Will managed to raise awareness of a brilliant cause whilst giving a platform to talented student musicians.