As any music loving student from Bangor will know, one of the key things missing from the city is a strong live music scene and although there are numerous successful open mic nights spread around the place there are very few gigs with the nearest being Llandudno or beyond. All of this is set to change this year however as a series of venues will be opening their doors across the year to offer a weekly live music fix, if this is indeed the case then Oxjam should be the first of many live music experiences hitting Bangor in the near future.
For those who aren’t aware Oxjam is a nationwide movement raising money for and awareness of Oxfam through a series of music festivals taking place all over the country with Bangor’s own festival taking place on Friday 28th October 2011 in Base nightclub located at the bottom of the high-street. The venue itself was one of the pleasant surprises of the evening as although there was no raised staging areas the venue was large and spacious and never felt too confined or restricted.
The first act of the night was Bangor University’s very own Tommy Cole, an acoustic artist armed with critical success, a back catalogue of covers and some dazzling original work. Opening with a cover of Lana Del Ray’s Video Games and flowing casually into Radiohead and Sam Sparro covers Cole was in his element and definitely within his comfort zone with the audience eating out of his hand. His set took a turn from the good to the great when he ditched the safety of covers and performed some original material, his music shone and came across as early Paolo Nutini meets Bombay Bicycle Club’s debut, Cole’s lyrics and style made for a memorable set and he’s certainly an artist to watch for the future.
The second artist was Beyond The State, a North Wales rock group who burst onto the stage with an explosion of sound and energy, they launched original material at the crowd whilst also slipping in masterful covers and remixes from the likes of Dido and more. The talent of Beyond The State was what stood out however it was their stage presence and their original material which bodes the best for their future with track after track at their disposal and the confidence to pull it off.
Finally the last act of the night was Zebedy, a North Wales rock band who are currently surfing a wave of success and hype following some great gigs, a battle of the bands and an ever growing fan-base. From the moment they touched the stage the band were nought but professionals performing together like a group well beyond their years or experiences and delivering solo material sure to get them noticed in the near future.
Congratulations has to be given to Emily Taylor for organising such an event and bringing such great music together under one roof with minimal assistance. Each artist present at Oxjam was a resounding success with their talent and passion bursting out and paving the was for many more successful nights to come. If Oxjam 2011 proved anything it’s that North Wales is currently harbouring some real musical talent that should be, and deserves to be fully supported.