Q: What happens when Newcastle University’s finest musical talent and Oxfam Society walk into a bar?
A: You’re left with a head-nodding, toe-tapping night of live music.
On Thursday 21st March, students and locals alike flocked to the Cluny, Ouseburn, to lay witness to an impressive night of live music showcasing a wide variety of musical talent from our very own university. The acts performed covers of country staples ranging from Josh Turner’s “Your Man” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” to tunes which have already cemented themselves as postmodern classics, such as Catfish and the Bottlemen’s “7” and “Pacifier”. The Cluny also held host to the headline band KITES who indulged the crowd further by performing an original piece for the night.
Oxjam was organised by Newcastle University’s Oxfam Society, with special mention to Adam Newton for his heroic efforts in his coordination of the performances. The night was held in aid of the humanitarian crisis faced by Yemen, raising over £500, money which will be put towards the Oxfam emergency relief fund. Alongside this, the event promoted the petition against the British government for multiplying complications in the Middle-East by selling lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia. The fund has thus far provided food and water to those who are most in need, already helping more than three million Yemeni civilians on the ground; many more will be able to receive relief thanks to NUSU’s Oxfam Society. Oxfam offers a comprehensive overview of the situation which you can read online by clicking the link here, while the petition to stand up to the injustices served by the British government, which current has over 25,000 signatories, can be accessed here.
The night jumped straight into sixth gear with the solo opening act, and Geography second year student, Alasdair Barraclough, who brought to the stage his unique blend of raw vocals and instinctive feel for rhythm, along with his acoustic guitar. Whilst the task of being unaccompanied and first to warm up a crowd of eager punters may seem daunting to some, it was proven to be second-nature to Mr. Barraclough, who was received so well that he returned to the limelight later on in the night to make a second appearance.
Following on, another two of our talented students entered the stage: Sophie Lynch and Alex Vipond. Alex, who is also an Oxfam committee member, took time out from organising the event to further help the cause by performing, proving she is a bow of many strings. Herself and Sophie cooked up some buttery-smooth harmonies mixed into the sweet melody of Paolo Nutini. Audience member, and 2019/20 AU Officer, Joe Gubbins called the performance “angelic”, which perhaps understates their excellence.
Next up were James Palmer and Fateh Singh who brought the sounds of deep Tennessee to the North East for one night only. Everyone’s inner redneck was delighted to hear renditions of some of the greatest country classics, as the pair fingerpicked out the tunes of true legends such as Cash and Turner. The duo went on to add a touch of class to the evening by laying down some glossy Mayer licks to an ever-growing crowd.
Headlining the night was KITES, who finished off Oxjam in spectacular flare by playing original music alongside flawless covers. If the audience had it their way they would still be in the venue to this day grooving out to the music, captivated by the voice (or maybe the shirt) of frontman Kane Teal.
KITES' Facebook page reveals that “the band was formed in September 2016 when frontman Kane Teal and lead guitarist Harry Wade met as students at Newcastle University and began writing songs while they lived in halls of residence, drummer Michael Dunwell and bassist Lewis McDonald joined the band around a year later, finalising the lineup.”
KITES will be releasing their newest single ‘Hitting the Sea’ to Spotify soon; follow them on Instagram @KitesBand to keep up-to-date with their musical journey.
Once again the people of Newcastle University proved Don McClean to be a purveyor of fake news; music is still truly alive and thriving. The night was a huge success; everyone left the Cluny having witnessed a class showcase of pure musicianship in every aspect of the word. The society have already heard back from the venue who are eager host Oxjam for round two in the near future, so if you missed out this time keep your eyes peeled and make sure you don’t pass up the opportunity when it next arrives!