Oxfam throws an Oxjam

Local musicians gathered for global fundraising cause

Oxfam is an organization that fundraises for global issues.
Image by: Emilie Rabeau
Oxfam is an organization that fundraises for global issues.

Midterm season is like a terrible gluten-free cookie. Someone told you there were chocolate chips in there that would make up for the late nights and long days but they seem rare.

Wednesday night, Oct. 22, was one of those chocolate chips; a bright and brilliant reprieve hosted by Oxfam at the Brooklyn.

The event, “Oxjam”, was the third annual fundraising concert in support of the international charity. Oxjam is an official event of Oxfam, created in 2006 in the U.K. to unite global causes with the local music scene.

Since 2006, Oxjam has raised over £2.3 million for Oxfam, and over 1.2 million people have attended the various concerts. This Oxjam was in support of the Global Refugee Crises, particularly for those refugees fleeing Syria.

Far from Syria, guests filtered into the Brooklyn slowly at first, with doors opening at 9 p.m. Cheery Oxfam club members greeted patrons at the door and soon the Brooklyn was full of happy students bobbing along to the music and drinking the excellent variety of craft beers, ales and ciders available at the bar.

The club’s hard work, which began almost immediately after frosh week, was readily apparent. The turnout was great, a raffle prize was presented and the performers were diverse and talented.

Before each act took the stage they were briefly introduced by the groups’ co-chairs, Erin Colwell and Brad Hart, who made a special point of pursuing a genre-diverse group of musicians, saying, “We really wanted a variety: pop, punk, rap!” The first performer was hip hop artist theO, a member of the True North Collective, a “creative group and culture brand that aims to connect and expose a unique breed of independent artists that are breaking new ground in their respective fields”, according to the True North Collective website. theO easily warmed up the crowd with his unique style and stage presence.

Next on stage was the funk/jazz/blues band Beartongue. The group played a number of memorable originals with a Red Hot Chilli Peppers vibe, and finished with a rousing rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride”.

Broadening the scope of the eclectic mix of the night was the punk band The Tenenbaums. The Tenenbaums were there to put on a show, and that they did. Bearded, energetic and excited, The Tenenbaums, as their Twitter description reads, were 99 per cent punk rock.

The last performer of the evening wasn’t the advertised Smitty, but rather Jonas Lewis Anthony, who performs as “Wendigo Jo”. The transition was smooth, and Anthony, who has played Oxjam events before in the U.K., was my favourite act of the night. A little bit Bob Dylan and a little bit Billy Joel, complete with a harmonica around his neck, Anthony sang passionately to the bustling Brooklyn.

Charmingly, each of the performers stuck around to listen to each other play in the true spirit of comradery.

The event was a clear success for the performers, as well as for Oxfam, raising over $1,000 for the cause. Hart and Colwell noted that this amount is at least $200 over what was raised last year, and they look forward to the event’s continued growth every year.


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