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Fatboy Slim @ Oxjam Music Festival


by Daniel Fahey | 02 October 2009

There can only be two reasons for bouncers manning the door at the Tooting branch of Oxfam: either it’s pension day and the town’s over 65s have caught word that Betty’s widower has finally donated her Catherine Cookson collection to the store, or the charity’s festival-of-sorts – Oxjam - is hiding behind those blacked-out windows. Unfortunately, for the OAP who couldn’t believe her luck when she spotted two burley men standing menacingly outside the entrance, it’s the latter.

Inside some 150 competition winners are rustling the shelves for a bargain, having their faces painted blue for Oxfam’s latest climate change campaign and shuffling along to the Stereo MCs’ tech house set. Missing a vocal or two, the London group’s splattering of breaks are shoe-shifting enough for the early evening, but they only really get connected (sorry) with the crowd when they drop the vocal to the Prodigy’s ‘Out Of Space’ and a remix of Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’.

Basement Jaxx, however, prove an altogether different kind of beast. After a summer of huge stage-shows and colourful costumes, Felix and Simon go back-to-back and back to basics with a playful DJ set. A collision of sounds and some tongue-in-cheek moments, the duo illuminate the influences of their trademark sound flamboyantly. They even throw together a few tracks they could’ve picked up from the store itself with Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Maniac’ from Flashdance going all wedding DJ on our ass.

Kings of Leon’s biggun’ ‘Sex Is On Fire’ only plods along and a Major Lazer number has the crowd confused rather than converted, but the natural progression is soon restored as Robbie Rivera’s remix of the Jaxx’s own ‘Do Your Thing’ thuds so loudly that the books by the speakers fall off the shelves.

The pages of used paperbacks look set to stay there too as tonight’s headliner Fatboy Slim ploughs straight into a mash up of James Brown numbers. The former-Housemartin probably hasn’t played to a crowd this small since his days as a resident in Brighton’s Boutique club and as he drops one of his big numbers from back then – ‘Apahce’ by the Incredible Bongo Band – the stench of nostalgia isn’t just coming from the clothes in the corner.

Mr Slim is looking a little past his prime too with a beer belly curving under his trademark bad taste shirt, but his equally distasteful and oddly mesmerising dancing are thankfully still part of the show. For the fans at the front, an hour isn’t quite long enough, as the superstar DJ crawls around the decks on his hands and knees for them. But a reworking of Jacko’s ‘Billie Jean’ and a euphoric ‘Love Is In The Air’ to finish, make sure they’re happy for every ticking minute.

Oxfam’s Oxjam Music Festival continues throughout October all over the country. Head to Oxfam.org.uk to find out more details.

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