Once the summer is over and the evenings draw in earlier, Oxfam see this as a signal to restart their Oxjam series of events: gigs put on solely with the aim of raising money for the charity. In a change from previous years' events, 2013 sees the venue change from its roots in fashionable East End haunt Dalston Oxfam shop to even more trendy Hoxton and a private attic studio. Not that this really affected the audience, which featured the usual crowd of hipsters who had come for a bit of midweek music in the form of Chad Valley, NYPC and Invisibles in support of Belgian duo 2ManyDJs, whilst ably hosted by Lauren Laverne.
While the audience was very much the same as usual, I did feel that part of the charm of Oxjam had been lost in moving the venue to a more traditional studio. In previous years, the Dalston oxfam shop provided as much a delight for the eyes as well as the ears, allowing punters to idly browse through the aisles of music, video and fashion whilst enjoying a set (or perhaps not).
Luckily, during this particular gig there was plenty to keep you occupied during the evening. Oxford-based Chad Valley's well-tuned pop was a perfect choice to kick off the evening. Accompanied by a female vocalist, Chad's own lyrics with judicious use of delay worked well with his catchy synth hooks. Towards the end of the set, the slightly shoegaze pop lustre had worn off, but it is safe to say that what little he does in terms of style he does very well.
Following onwards saw four piece NYPC take the stage. For those who are unaware, NYPC are merely New Young Pony Club by another name in a sneaky attempt to try and reinvent themselves. However, to this ear it seemed that their new material was more or less indistinguishable from their older hits, though when played with their usual gusto their 45 minute set was enjoyable enough.
Having had two opportunities to DJ during the evening, the Invisibles know how to get an evening underway and each set was a good warmup for the next act. Playing a selection of catchy house and off-the-wall tracks, it complimented the more harder edged dance that followed from the Belgians. 2manydjs were set the dubious honour of creating their three hour mix solely from records taken from Oxfam, so typically there were plenty of weird choices to be heard on occasion but this rarely interrupted the flow of the mix and the intimate nature of the venue meant that it was easy to interact with the duo as well. It's nice to see that the spirit of rediscovering old and forgotten music has continued into this year's festival and the resulting retro dance vibe heading into midnight was a guilty pleasure for a Wednesday evening.
Oxfam continues to find new ways of raising money and it's good to see that their festival is growing year on year with bigger acts and keeping the quality high.
latest on this festival
festival home page
part of UK's biggest charity music festival revived this year