Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: Yard Sessions - Modern Art Oxford, 31st August

      The Yard at Modern Art Oxford is the perfect setting for hosting a series of summer gigs, and featuring some of Oxford's finest bands of the moment, with the addition of headliners, Treetop Flyers, (winner of Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition) the third Yard Session was an evening filled with a diverse range of musical genres and sounds.

Oli Steadman, Count Drachma
      The evening got underway with local Oxford lads Broken Bedsteads. Despite their young age, the confidence they exuded made them seem much older than their years, and with a sound similar to The Vaccines and Razorlight, their infectious basslines filled the room with glittering janglings.

      Billy T'rivers followed, with his americana twinged folk music, performing what was in fact his debut gig. For someone who lacks in experience playing live, he certainly executed an impressive set. Although the vocal harmonies could have been a little tighter, his music was easy listening, with gentle guitars and a soulful voice.

      Count Drachma transported the audience to their native South Africa with their zulu beats, ironic considering the 'colonial moustache' lead singer, Oli Steadman, pointed out that he was sporting. Comprising members of Oxford band, Stornoway, it was a somewhat smaller gig than they perhaps are used to, however their melodies flowed in a sea of colour and with saxophone grooves and bass-harmonicas aplenty, the set featured a medley of various folktunes, lullabies, and even a song about a shape-shifting lizard.

      Headliners, Treetop Flyers' relaxed folk rock was a perfect end to the evening, with lead singer, Reid Morrison's gritty voice gleaming with a rawness that many aspiring country artists can only try to emulate. Despite it being the last day of August (and therefore in my view the last evening of the summer), the band's soulful music had a summery feel to it, and in the semi-openness of the yard with its hanging baskets and cosy atmosphere, it was an intimate set, brought together by the obvious enthusiasm of the audience - a small one, but appreciative nonetheless. Unfortunately the call of London's last tubes meant the set was cut short for myself, and it was sad not to see the band through to the end, but the first half I saw was magical with its close harmonies and americana infused guitar hooks.

Treetop Flyers

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