Master Shortie, Just Jack, VV Brown - Oxjam Music Festival Tooting London
Searching for music in a charity shop is usually a disheartening ordeal. You walk through the door hoping to find that certain CD that's eluded you for years, a rare 7" single that you last heard on John Peel's show sometime in the 90s or a priceless piece of 60s vinyl that will pay for your next five holidays.
Unfortunately you're more likely to be confronted with a tatty Dire Straits album, a well worn Simply Red's Stars cassette and 45 copies of Be Here Now by Oasis on CD.
Luckily there's a charity store in South London that offers a far more enjoyable experience! Tooting's Oxfam shop played host to three rising music stars as part of Oxfam's month long Music Festival - Oxjam.
The Festival consists of countless events held by music lovers across the UK in October, with the money raised going to the charity. The Tooting gig was the first of four London shows held at 'secret venues' to promote the event, featuring a stellar line up, including the likes of Editors, Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Tony Allen.
Although it was a decent sized store for a charity shop the majority of the audience congregated at the front of the stage, filling up the venue quickly, making the gig a very hot experience. I managed to squeeze my way to the front, positioning myself in front of a speaker, holding on to my spot for the rest of the evening!
London rapper Master Shortie was the first performer on the bill. I'm not a great fan of rap and certainly wasn't looking forward to suffering his set, even if it was a shortish one. My view changed within minutes as I was really enjoying what was on offer. Shortie was backed by a drummer and guitarist, rapping over a backing that seemed more rock- based than his recorded output due to the live guitarist.
Shortie had pulled in a large selection of very young fans and things were pretty hectic in the intimate Oxfam setting with a huge amount of jumping up and down and punching the air on display!
Master Shortie has recently released his debut album A.D.H.D so I imagine all the tracks from his set were pulled from it. There were a lot of memorable songs on offer anyway, including set opener "Nothing To Be Scared Of" with its "Prince Charming" moments, probably the reason his set got my attention in the first place as I was a huge Dirk era Ants fan back in the day. The energetic "Dance Like A White Boy" and 80s inspired "Bringing It Back" were also highlights of the evening.
As there were few minutes to spare between sets it was a perfect opportunity for audience members to take part in Oxfam's "Demand action until you’re blue in the face" climate change campaign, with the blue faced participants photographed and added to Oxfam's massive petition.
Just Jack was next up on the bill. Stripped of his dance beats Jack and his gang delivered an acoustic set comprised predominately of tracks from current release All night cinema, including the song made famous by its appearance on a Sky Sports ad, "Embers", opener "253" and "Doctor Doctor". Shortie's teenage fans had made way for an older more boisterous crowd down the front, lapping up Jack's performance, heckling, singing along loudly and promising sexual favors in return for an encore (and that was just the men!).
The songs that were rewarded with the biggest displays of audience participation were previous single "Starz In Their Eyes" and set closer "The Day I Died", Jack's current offering. It was the first time I'd seen Jack live, finding it an extremely appealing prospect, especially in the stripped down setting as I felt his songs pulled me in more, making me concentrate on his rather good lyrics!
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the evening's final act VV Brown was a multi-platinum selling artiste if her press coverage was anything to go by. VV seems to be in the paper every other day, attending some event or promoting something or other. Unfortunately Miss Brown is still waiting for her chart success to rival her column inches, which is a shame as she's a truly talented individual and sensational live performer!
It looks like things will be hotting up Stateside for VV in the very near future but till then the UK gets to enjoy what she's got to offer as she's out on tour in November, hopefully playing sets as good as her Oxjam performance.
I've seen VV live a few times since April but only once in an intimate setting so it was great to get the opportunity to sample her music up close again. I found VV's debut album Travelling Like The Light a bit of a mixed bag, with its retro pop output not fully winning me over. Vanessa's a completly different prospect live though as you can see her passion for her music from the off. VV was surrounded by an equally competent backing band that seemed to relish the 'Up close and personal' performance after a summer playing an endless succession of festivals.
Each ... Light track was delivered with an enormous amount of passion with future single "Game Over" and my favourite VV song "Bottles" both bringing exceptional moments. Things ended on a great note with a run through of Miss Brown's biggest hit to date - "Shark in the Water" - leading to one final singalong from the extremely hot and sweaty but massively entertained Oxfam audience!
Visit the Oxjam website for more information on Oxjam