LIVE: Oscar Jerome @ Soup Kitchen | 28.09.18
WORDS BY PABLO BLANQUITO
The man of the moment – Oscar Jerome – seemed calm and collected, if not slightly concussed by the huge, half-eaten plate of curry sat in front of him. All this in the green room whilst speaking with him. On a buzzing Friday night prior to his penultimate tour date in Manchester.
Oscar Jerome is misleadingly nonchalant. He carries a mellow air, which is infectious when in conversation. He speaks of gigs in iconic venues and stellar collaborations with icons, seemingly without ego.
On this Friday night at Soup Kitchen, the stage was preheated by fantastic warm-ups from boiler suit buddies Darcie. With glittering vocal harmonies and bringing tons of fun, they felt like the kind of band you’d expect to see in a Scott Pilgrim band battle. They were followed by LYLA which seemed a fairly sombre jazz act, laced with beautiful vocals from Laura El and a very tight backing unit playing textured funk with jazz infusions. Between them they created the perfect canapé to prepare the crowd for the musical main course to come.
Straight off the back of his new single ‘Do you really’, the audience seemed ready to take Oscar in. Stepping out, he greeted the audience warmly, speaking with the chilled intensity of having a brew with a mate. He proceeded to set the musical pace with a sensual groove to kick off and from the get-go, this was going to be a gig focused solidly on high-quality musical delivery. As the song came to a close, one audience member shouted “Play it again”.
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The music continued at a no less than incredibly high standard from Oscar, Ayo (drums) and Jack (bass) who soldiered through the gig with a sprained thumb. No easy feat for a bassist. The stage was lit with solid colour flood lighting, meaning there was nothing to do but focus on the music, without the distraction of gimmicks and visuals. In Soup Kitchen‘s dingy basement the sound was not the best but Oscar created a no cheap thrills vibe that set the scene for those gathered to do nothing but listen and move. How small gigs really should be.
One female voice in the crowd proclaimed he had ‘big dick energy’ and maybe that was down to his playing guitar both frantically and yet conversely in an effortless manner. He is a musician, in its truest form. Relying solely on his own music and charisma to carry the crowd. His growth over the past 12 months is significant and apparent and on this showing he
deserves to be considered as one of the leading figures in a thriving young vibrant British jazz scene.
Check out our interview with the rising star below, conducted by Yussef ‘Dyslexsis’ Mrbraty – a poet, producer and rapper from Young Identity in Manchester: