Oxjam 2013 : Excellent Cadaver

_MG_0017Oxjam, which has been running annually since 2006, has become a fantastic way of bringing a month of live music to a range of venues across the UK. The best part of it being…it’s all for a good cause! One Oxjam gig in particular which caught the attention of cackblabbath.online this year was with Scottish rockers, Excellent Cadaver. We reviewed their debut album, ‘Faith Destroyed’, earlier in the year and when we heard that they were going to be playing in the living room of a house in Dundee, there was not a chance we were going to miss it!

Organised by the lovely Oxjam volunteer, Daisy, Excellent Cadaver were assigned a house belonging to two brave volunteers and our hosts for the evening, Derek and Tomanna. The first thing you noticed when walking into the living room, perhaps the smallest venue Excellent Cadaver have played in a while, was how large drummer Ryan Shepherd’s drum kit was in relation to the size of the room. Knowing that Ryan is not one to hit his instrument gently, the question was how well the various ornaments around the room would hold up once he got going?

Having an hour long set, the band had the perfect opportunity to play tracks off the album which usually won’t make it into a shorter support slot. We were even treated to a couple of covers, including ‘Imperium’ by Machine Head; a song which means a lot to lead guitarist Drew Cochrane in particular, being a lifelong fan of the band. The whole atmosphere of the set was casual and relaxed, the band agreeing to take requests from the audience in attendance. Do not for a second think though that this relaxed atmosphere took away from the brutality of the band’s music. Each song was played with the same power and passion as it would have done had they been headlining a venue to hundreds of people, rather than the 20-30 guests in attendance. Andrew Downie gave his all on vocals and did not seem at all phased due to performing literally half a foot away from the crowd. Highlights of the night definitely included Drew Cochrane, Paul Hudson and Lee Cook coming together, side by side, on guitars and bass to play the instrumental section of the last track making for a beautiful photo opportunity.

The whole gig experience of Oxjam can be summed up as being rather bizarre, but also one of the highlights of my year. Several members of the audience were neighbours of Derek and Tomanna who maybe didn’t share our love of all things loud and heavy, but they got into the spirit of the evening and were politely nodding their heads alongside a group of hardcore Excellent Cadaver fans who were giving their all and head banging away. The biggest bonus of the night being that over £155 was made and the smiles on the faces of the band as they played such a unique gig made the whole experience worthwhile.

All of the Excellent Cadaver boys put in such an effort for this gig, travelling from all across Scotland to come together for this worthy cause and massive props go to them for this.

(And just in case anyone was wondering…Ryan’s drumming luckily failed to destroy any prized possessions…mainly due to some last minute careful packing away of anything that looked expensive and taping all the CDs in place in their racks!)