Every time I leave a music festival I do so with a host of new favourite bands that I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with. Heck, these days it seems every time I leave the house I gain a new musical addiction, just one more song, it can’t be time to catch the train back and leave my latests sanctuary my new home.
Oxjam Manchester was no different with a host of acts, interesting venues and new discoveries that will sound track the upcoming weeks until Oxjam comes home.
Yes that’s right Oxjam is coming to Macclesfield in a few short weeks but more on that later. My latest batch of new musical discoveries started at the launch weekend of Poynton’s Acoustic Lounge, unearthing my first treasure ‘Megan Dixon hood’. If You closed your eyes you could have easily thought you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the hallowed Maida Vale studios her voice has a dream like quality that only few capture and the bands idiosyncratic backing complimented it perfectly.
Her songs sound tracked the following week in our office along with another favourite of mine stay gold by First Aid Kit, the two bands would make for some line up. So it was with some delight that I found Megan would be supporting Kazo at their EP launch along with special guest ‘Adam C’.
I was first introduced to ‘Kazo’ (back then going under the guise of The Ordinary) when they came on to the Music Lowdown show to talk about Live and Unsigned, a competition that they went on to reach the semi finals and earn a songwriting award. Since then the band have matured adding extra depth to the singer Jack Henigan voice and more of a rock and roll attitude to the lyrics, gone are the almost boyband stylings of their track ‘Jealousy’. This has been replaced by more adult themes on tracks such as ‘shoot from the hip’ and is matched by a ferocious drum beat. The band have clearly learnt from playing festivals such as Headlander, Blackthorn and at the Manchester City Stadium. One of the best things about working with unsigned musicians is to see them grow and develop and I can’t wait to see where the next 5 years takes them.
Towards the end of ‘Kazo’s’ set Adam C from ‘Ackademy’ joined them on stage freestyling over the top of a few acoustic covers, it was a sight to see the whole place was hooked after the first track. I will definitely have to catch him with the full line up sometime. ‘Adam C’ and ‘Megan Dixon Hood’ are both students of BIMM Manchester, the new music college is starting to develop quite a reputation for producing quality acts, all interesting and unique with a different flavour to them, can’t wait to watch some more of their artists.
Before embarking on another evening of musical discoveries at Oxjam Manchester I began by drawing Monsters; why monsters you ask? well Oxjam Manchester had its very own street market, it was tucked a little out of the way so at times it was a tad quiet but those who were there had a blast with a host of Drummers, DJ’s and Stalls and of course the aforementioned musical monster drawing.
I began in Kosmonaut by catching the tail end of ‘We Signal Fire’, there set just finishing as we entered the room which was a shame as I enjoyed there final track, they were swiftly followed by ‘Point Zero’ from Hereford who were reminiscent of the Maccabees a slice of indie with a dash of funk/soul, I also rather enjoyed their rather irreverent humour.
From Kosmonaut it was on to the Bay Horse for more indie rock this time from ‘The Mantells’, it would be difficult to describe them without mentioning the usual touchstones of the Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Courteeners, but there was enough about them to make them stand out from the usual indie fair, credit to them for finishing with a highly entertaining cover of ‘Lets Get It On’. Next were Sunlighter who are always a treat, they hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first bands I ever interviewed on the radio plus not every band has Guy Garvey say “Finds new colours with a classic palette. Simply beautiful.” there acoustic music definitely is one to soothe the soul and then ending with a more rock and roll number ‘Satellite’ led by Chris ‘Birdy’ Birdsall.
I ended the night on a high with a set from ‘Natalie McCool’ at Guilivers, quite possibly the best set of the day; her voice was haunting and ethereal, over a soulful guitar a more ghost like fantasy driven Lana Del Ray. She has a voice that will haunt your dreams and will stick in the mind for days afterwards. One of her tracks was called size 0 and dealt with the problems of the impossible image we are supposed to aspire to, drawing inspiration from a recent story in America, this song sparked my imagination as is often the case at gigs and you can read my piece of poetry here.
Which brings us to Oxjam Macclesfield which is the 18th/19th October a festival that I have had a hand in organising since April, I can’t wait to introduce you to a whole host of new bands some of which I am sure will become your new addiction.