7 July, Oxford Art Factory

Turning up early to a gig should be compulsory. I mean, you’re paying the money to go, why not get all the entertainment you can? Tonight, we experienced the very first gig from 18 Year Old Man. This group, comprised of no less than ten members, delivered a soulful and jazzy R&B set with some extraordinary singing from keyboardist Vin Goodyer. Accompanied by trombone, sax, three backing vocalists (including Kid Heron) and a bass player in a safari suit, there was a lot going on with this group but they kept us enthralled with a beautiful groove. Keep an ear out for their soul near you.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Jackie Onassis on the stage. The duo of MC Kai and DJ Raph (aka, Mr Sydney) are regulars at gigs from their One Day crew, but it feels like ages since they’ve done a show. So, when their brand new EP, Leisure, dropped a few weeks back, we eagerly listened in. Starting with their 2012 hit, Smoke Trails, there was no holding back in this short, flowing set. Old ones like NSY and MIA, we interspersed with new tracks like Elevated and an obligatory Joyride cameo with a cover of Drunk In Love from their 2014 triple j Like A Version.

The crowd were bouncing by the end of the set and it’s Kai’s non-stop energy that can be attributed to this. The pocket rocket frontman is never without a smile on his face and was soaking up the room’s energy. Raph doesn’t back down either, giving us his best pump-up moves as he sports a new ‘70s style porn-stache. No one can ever accuse him of not having quirk. Palo Alto rounded it out with the audience belting out the unique lyrics: “Nazi scum couldn’t do me in / Palo Alto oh my god / Palo Alto shit.”

The Oxford Arts was bursting by the time Joyride jumped on the decks for the interval tracks and the curtains were drawn to increase dramatic effect.

Spit Syndicate’s latest album, One Good Shirt Had Us All Fly is such a well-written and produced album that the anticipation of seeing these tracks played live was palpable.

Finally, the curtains open and we see Vin Goodyer (from the aforementioned 18 Year Old Man) on keys and Jono Graham (of Left. fame) on guitar. Voices from off-stage announce the presence of the MC duo of Jimmy Nice and Nick Lupi. They launch straight into the opening two tracks from the latest album; Birds Of A Feather and OMW. It’s extraordinary to see the eager punters up the front belting out the lyrics to the new tracks, particularly impressive when it’s been out for less than three months.

Nice and Lupi are the sort of guys that don’t hold back when on stage. Their heart is on their sleeve, they traverse across the stage in precision unity and connect with the crowd on a one to one level. Real goes a long way to exhibiting their mantra: “I ain’t got a lot but I give it all / Aim for the top it’s a bigger fall“, spits Lupi in admission. The ultra-smooth All Eyes is an early set highlight as the crowd join in with “Ohhhh / Oh!” The efforts of the backing musicians are on display in this track as well. Jono Graham, long-time collaborator, delivers juicy guitar dances and licks at the perfect moments.

We see the return of Joyride to the stage for Hold On Me as Nice explains that together with Jackie Onassis and Horrorshow, who were on stage in Wollongong at the very same moment, all of One Day were performing tonight as they continue their pursuit of musical and party domination.

The cameos weren’t over, however, as Thelma Plum took to the stage for Darling Street. Her smokey, haunting voice layers beautifully over the music. It also reminds us that we’ve been waiting too long for new music from the amazing vocalist.

After a short break to catch our breath, they return to complete the set and perform almost every track from the new album, including a double from Jackie Onassis’ Kai on 665 and Coffee Shop. The heaving crowd have been going along for the ride all the way as Nice declares “This is the best gig we’ve ever done!” It’s a huge call, but we’re lapping it up. The opening bars of final song, Know Better, start up and the crowd yell along with the syncopated chorus. It’s a joyous finale to the main set and we loudly stamp and clap our approval. The OAF hasn’t gone off like this for a while.

The demand for one more song was met. The whole crew return to the stage for a slamming rendition of Scribe’s Not Many, another Like A Version (from the One Day crew) to be given a spin on the evening. Nice and Lupi want to keep playing all night, but we’re spent. It’s a huge set and a pleasure for the sold-out crowd to witness.