Oxjam Takeover Weekend: Highlights

by Rosa Brown

Oxjam’s objective is to unite communities through the musical offerings of local, often unsigned musicians, all to raise money for the global campaigns supported by Oxfam. So it’s an event dependent on an incredible volunteer team and those willing to lend an ear to a worthy cause. If you somehow managed to miss out, here are some of my favourite acts from the weekend - just make sure you don’t miss them again.

Charlotte Ward Charlotte’s voice is one of the most powerful forces I’ve heard in ages. Whilst she lists Tom Odell, Birdy and Ed Sheeran as her musical influences, Charlotte’s music only sounds like her own. For those in search of Sunday lunch and a shelter from the rain at Oddfellows last weekend, they made an unexpected discovery. Charlotte’s set was a combination of covers and her own songs, a mix of keyboard and guitar, and was more than another pleasant ‘easy listening’ session. As a local artist Charlotte can be heard singing around Exeter; after catching the ear of a few local record companies over the Oxjam weekend we should be hearing more from her. A brief warning though, she is frustratingly talented for her age and may potentially leave feelings of inadequacy. But don’t let that put you off, she is definitely worth a listen and will be playing at the Mama Stones Halloween Fest on October 31st.

James Billington James Billington is Exeter’s answer to Michael Buble, and I in no way say that lightly. Dressed in a full suit, 1940s microphone in hand, it didn’t take long for James to get people’s attention. Although James was accompanied by his laptop as a replacement for his touring pianist, the music was only the background to his show. James setlist of Buble, The Rat Pack, and a bit of Robbie Williams, was enough to keep anyone happily tapping their feet. James played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls this April/May at Northcott Theatre, so try to catch him in a musical or wedding or anything coming soon.

Jay Tamkin and DfunK Duo DfunK, the latest project of Jay Tamkin, turned up with enough sound equipment for a seven piece band and they made enough noise for seven too. With a range of guitars, complicated-looking loop and sustain pedals, I’ve given up on finding one specific genre for DfunK. The duo switched between acoustic, jazz, funk and threw in some incredible guitar solos for good measure, continuing to sound great even with a broken string after the first song. Personally, DfunK sounded like two good friends who just enjoy matching their music with their moods and still feel free enough to play around with their sets. Plus their Stevie Wonder cover was a personal highlight. Jay’s been playing around for a while now, so whenever they’re next in Exeter listen to them for a good night, in which dancing will happen.

Jimmy Ireland I actually have no idea how many sets Jimmy played over the weekend as he was spotted darting all over the place from one venue to the next. I managed to hear him at Revelry on Sunday night, in which his acoustic set was a fitting end to the weekend. It took time to distinguish Jimmy’s covers from his own songs, even with a bit of Imagine Dragons snuck in there. As an Exeter local you should here Jimmy around, most likely spotted at an open mic night at John Gandy’s or generally lending a helping hand to someone’s sound equipment somewhere. Listen out for his own song, Love’s Not Blind, and his Death Cab For Cutie cover.