Review: Fatboy Slim @ Oxjam 2011

The tents might be packed away for another year but these days festival season is never over. Tonight sees the launch of month-long music festival Oxjam 2011 and we sent Chris Eustace to investigate.

Raves in unlikely places are pretty much par for the course in Dalston, and all this week that even extends to the local Oxfam branch. Inside, the racks are still out, with punters encouraged to buy a few second hand records while they’re there. There’s a few bargains to be had, no doubt – co-compere Matt Everitt even ruefully jokes that he’s brought “400 Menswe@r CDs from my garage” to sell – he was their drummer.

With a makeshift bar up and running in among the DVDs and videos, it feels like an instore/rave/jumble sale hybrid in here as Man Like Me begin proceedings.

‘London Town’, complete with dizzying dance routine, and ‘Peculiar’ are the highlights of a set full of upbeat party rhythms, and as the windows quickly steam up, it feels like the heatwave has already started, despite the rain-sodden Monday evening outside.

Kissy Sell Out twists 90’s hip-hop favourite ‘I Got 5 On It’ by Luniz into a scary, squelchy breakbeat beast for his first trick and as a few orchestral and opera numbers are given brutal bass drops, you imagine this is what Will ‘N’ Kate’s reception sounded like.

The lights get kaleidoscopic while a crowd, initially unsure if they can really go for it at a gig in a shop, discover that the answer is yes, once The 2 Bears’ ‘Bear Hug’, Brandy & Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’ and a let’s-put-400,000-drums-on-this version of The XX’s ‘Crystalised’ collide into one another.

Kissy preens and plays to the gallery as much as any band frontman, as a robotic ‘Whip My Hair’, er, a bit of Simple Minds, ‘One’ by Swedish House Mafia and a dubstepped-up ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ theme tune culminate in a version of ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ that’s probably a little different to Joe McElderry’s recent cover.

A blast of ‘Praise You’ announces the arrival of Fatboy Slim, barking out to the front rows with a light-up toy megaphone, while, as ever, wearing a shirt that the shop would have to politely turn down.

Satorial elegance aside, Fatboy proves that he’s still the master of getting a crowd going with a relentless set. The response to Kissy was big, but this is pandemonium, as an opening charge throws Eminem into ‘Rock The Casbah’, before promptly dispensing with both and sidling up to ‘Billie Jean.’ Keeping things more tune-led in contrast to Kissy’s evil bass, he’s clearly decided that you catch more flies with honey.

A slinky ‘California Love’ eventually gets pitched up into oblivion to make way for a spot of Cee-Lo, before ‘Right Here, Right Now’ rears its head, as a host of Fatboy’s own tunes get thrown into the craziness, with ‘Soul Surfing’ ‘Build It Up, Tear It Down’, ‘Going Out Of My Head’, ‘What The Fuck?’ and ‘Machines Can Do The Work’ all making the cut.

There’s also a stunning mix of ‘7 Nation Army’ with clattering carnival drums, before Adele’s acapella croon of ‘Rolling In The Deep’ butts in, the track eventually evolving into a big beat stomper.

The final straight sees Diddy Dirty Money’s ‘Coming Home’ go piano house, and just as we think things are about to go out on a sinister note as the Imperial Death March strikes up, it mutates into a mix of ‘Satisfaction’ and Fatboy’s signature hit ‘The Rockafeller Skank’ to finish a set more vintage than the clothes on the racks.  A big noise for a good cause.

Since the first event in 2006, Oxjam has raised over £1.5m for Oxfam projects.