Oxjam at Guava (14/10/11)

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Oxjam is Oxfam’s month-long music festival, running throughout the UK at many different venues raising money for charity.

Let me start by saying I really wanted to enjoy this event. Like, really. I had high hopes. Having loved the music branch of Oxfam in Southampton, I was hoping to make the most of Southampton’s local music scene. Unfortunately this was not the case. Don’t get me wrong, Guava (formerly Hamptons) was delightful; everyone looked cool, and I was happy the money was going to Oxfam. It then started to go a bit wrong…

Our group was approached by the deranged mother of a band, who wouldn’t leave her moustached son or us alone. She enthused that the headlining band had been around for “ages, must be years now”, which immediately made me nervous — surely if they were any good they would have gotten somewhere by now. The moustached one then took to the stage as part of Silver Spirit.

Ah, Silver Spirit. Well they were distinctly average for an indie band, although probably the best band of the night. They were like a bad Yuck. They had the standard chord progressions, mildly catchy melodies and an extremely awkward synth player, who at one point turned his back to the audience and remained that way for a while. They said it was their first gig, and it really showed. The sound was muddy, the singer wasn’t in entirely the same key as the band, and they made inside jokes, which aren’t a good idea when you want to bond with an audience who has never heard of you. I was yawning, not dancing. 4/10.

At this point I was contented, and reassured myself it was all for charity. Then Antigerone lolloped onstage. I was apprehensive after hearing them tune, but my rock hands were at the ready. They were basically like Metallica without a singer. I waited patiently, hoping that someone would sing over the relentlessly ‘Enter Sandman’-esque chords, but alas no one did. Then one of the guitarists said “Soundman, can you turn up the guitar?”, and I died slightly inside. I felt sad by the fourth song, at which point they assured the audience that “this song’s a bit different”. It really wasn’t. They seemed to have ‘guitarist syndrome’ when they then asked again, “Soundman, can you boost the guitar and drums?”. Louder was most definitely not better, but the dancing tramp in the corner loved it. 3/10.

That brings us to Wolfe. I was once again hopeful when I saw a snazzy Macbook Pro and a keyboard on stage. Unfortunately, expensive equipment does not make a good band. The tone of the lead singer’s voice did not suit the band at all. It was like bad trippy effects layered on top of a vocalist who sounded like Cher, mixed in with a Plan B wannabe rapper. It was all a bit like Rachel’s trifle in Friends. There was no structure or development to the songs, just a lot of effects. The whole thing reminded me of Eurovision. 2/10.

Maths and the Moon were the final and headlining act. By this point I wanted to cry. They really weren’t good. I think they were trying to be dark and brooding, but sounded “more like the garbage men in the morning” according to one of my friends. 2/10.

The whole event was mildly offensive. I was thoroughly disappointed; however, I will still endeavour to find some awesome unsigned acts in Southampton.

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2nd year Music student.

1 Comment

  1. avatar

    Great article. I mean that this time. I take it you’re a first or second year? It’s a shame you weren’t around Southampton during the time of Hellcyon or Kumiss in ’06 and ’07. Fantastic local bands.

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