Adventures in Birmingham: OxJam

Last year, OxJam was not only one of my best Birmingham discoveries but one of my favourite days of the year. Last year we caught a few soloists like Neil Ward but the highlight was city favourite Tom Peel at arguably the best venue, The Victoria.

So I am very much looking forward to this year although there are less ‘live music venues’ and more coffee shops. As you know, I love music in coffee shops but feel that should be an addition; we should still have premier venues such the Victoria. Having said that, compared to last year, I got to see a lot in the Yardbird this year; the much talked about Musgraves at the Yardbird were as good as I imagined – they sound so familiar in fact that I feel I have seen them before after all.

The Scholars were as good as I remember them from a This Burning Age gig after which, the schedule was thrown out because Free School had problems setting up their laptops (not rocknroll as we know it). When they were ready to perform, they put on masks which from where we were sitting spooked us out. Furthermore, the impact would have been greater had they come on wearing said masks rather than slipping them on on-stage in full view, but erm, interesting.

The planned highlight of my day is The Young Runaways. I’ve seen both their acoustic and regular sets before and feel it’s a treat to see both on the same day. The late afternoon set at Café Blend was excellent and the Yardbird set to launch the EP was equally good. Then they performed a hateful Beyonce number and I couldn’t see a hint of irony. They played another track after that but unfortunately I already had a bad taste in my mouth (and not from my first ever Ostrich burger from the hut outside which was actually OK).

All in all, OxJam is a fantastic idea and if I’m still in Birmingham, I hope the organisers book early and we get the Victoria back on the menu in 2012.

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