Aside from the commendable amount of indie documentary premières, music industry workshops and poetry slams, OX4 music festival did in fact have some, er, music. First up, Boat To Row upstairs at the Academy. The band’s repertoire is a hoard of delicate, joyful and vibrant folk delicacies, songs spun from an intense and unabashed vulnerability but which are also infused with the glittering optimism of a summer dawn.
Lead singer Mike’s lyrics are truly captivating, particularly ‘A Boat to Row to Row to You’ and ‘St Wallis’, in which he claims he will be “the small boat on the rough sea”.The band’s tight harmonies and finger picking goodness got every foot in the place tapping and really did fill the crowd with an autumn glow.
Next up, and hailing from San Diego, The Crocodiles’ line up includes two former members of the Dum Dum Girls and their album was produced by James Ford, of Simian Mobile Disco fame. Good start, no? As you would expect, the band are tapping into the West Coast lo-fi sound that has been snowballing in popularity for some time now. It was just a shame that the band couldn’t hear it for themselves, as difficulties with the monitor speakers in the Bullingdon Arms somewhat blighted the set, though the performance carried their typical energy and drive.
Finally, headliners Everything Everything were a demonstration of exactly why the music press has started to take notice. The crowd couldn’t get enough of Jonathan’s soaring, ethereal vocals and keyboard riffs laced with intricate harmonies but their desire for an encore was doomed to be unsatisfied due to time constraints. The unique sound of Everything Everything has hit the industry like a jolt from a car battery – and has left Oxford wanting more.