In 1942, in a hushed church library in the heart of Oxford, a group calling themselves the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief first met to discuss how they might work to relieve the famine and poverty which had afflicted Greece following the Allied blockade in the Second World War.
Fast-forward 71 years, and in the heart of Brixton at The Lambeth (previously Brixton Clubhouse), Oxjam Brixton are serving up a rooftop summer party with beats and booze to play their part in Oxfam’s musical extravaganza: fundraising to tackle global poverty.
The summer’s been kind to us this year, but with the giddy haze of the heatwave slowly fading in our memories – it’s good to remember that in recent years simply being able to justify wearing flip flops made you feel like the day couldn’t get any better.
So it was nice to be roofing it up in the sun yesterday with a 400-strong crowd, with a £5 pint in hand (I told myself it was for a good cause, though I couldn’t bring myself to ask if it was all going to the bar) as Elly Jackson took to the decks. One half of electro-pop duo La Roux, Elly pumped out a party set of funk and disco vibes which got tentative feet moving. People had fully limbered up by the end of Elly’s set, which saw a rapturous handover to Maxi Jazz of Faithless fame.
Meanwhile a dressing up stall and raffle saw people dressed up all kinds of crazy, with my personal favourite being a girl dressed as a can of spam. It was quite impressive, if restrictive.
Maxi’s set packed out the upper terrace with an eclectic mix of floor-filling bangers bringing in hip-hop, drum and bass, electro, reggae and much more. He even dropped a manic jungle version of Kunta Kinte by dub legends The Revolutionaries. If you don’t know it, the original is a total tune.
Donned in a flatcap and sporting an infectious grin, Maxi Jazz brought the vibes with electronic anthems like Genesis by Justice and straight-up dirty tunes like Champion by Buju Banton. The roof of The Lambeth popped off (figuratively speaking: there were no health and safety issues).
The night was a wonderful mix of revellers of all-ages – and it was ace to see more than a few grey hairs going wild on the dancefloor, with other acts including Nadia Ksaiba (NTS Radio), Mylon D and PC (DJ Food/Cinematic Orchestra). And to top it all off, the terrace was graced with a stunning crimson and gold sunset which reflected a beautiful Brixton skyline, sending off an amazing night.
Tomorrow (Tues 20th) Oxjam Brixton have teamed up with the Ritzy to put on a special screening of the David Bowie goblin-a-thon Labyrinth.
You can find out more about Oxjam Brixton’s work here: http://oxjambrixton.com/
Follow them on Twitter @BrixtonOxjam