On 25th September, the unsuspecting streetwalkers of Shoreditch were blissfully unaware that below them Village Underground was hosting soul and jazz artist Oscar Jerome for his debut headline tour. The evening also offered varied and impressive supporting acts: Louis VI, a rapper and producer based in London, as well two thirds of the band Kwalu. Louis VI kicked off the night with some much-anticipated music, a personal favourite was Free Your Mind followed closely by Confidence. The utter coolness of Louis VI’s stage presence and the laid back-style of his music instantly relaxed the audience into the event.
Next up was Kwalu. The act consisted of two thirds of the band who took the audience out of London to a dystopian, electronic world. The pair created a mixture of sounds which alone sounded harsh and unpleasant, but as they began to construct their music before the ears of the audience they had them suspended; fixated on every beat. Eventually, the pulse of the music and the movements of the audience synced: with every head nodding up and down, and every shoulder swaying back and forth.
After these two varied acts, Oscar Jerome took to the stage. From the moment he stepped onstage the audience was hushed, anticipating the musical splendour about to resonate through the busy venue. That night, Oscar Jerome was not only a musician, but a hypnotist as well; capturing the audience’s attention with sinewy and dreamy guitar melodies. Mid set, Jerome took a moment to speak to the crowd about his inspiration and the source of his musical drive: “you can hear blues in all music”, he remarked. Behind each strum of his guitar there was an undeniable humbleness and humility, as if he was paying homage to the genres of jazz and blues that have inspired him and his music so much.
One of his pieces that was clearly heavily influenced by jazz is Do You Really: the first piece of new music since Jerome’s acclaimed EP Where Are Your Branches. His new song had the crowd immediately grooving as soon as he began playing. Although the content of the song is heavy, focusing on Jerome’s navigation through his issues with masculinity and sexuality, the combination of a flowing guitar melody and rhythmic percussion and Jerome’s slick vocals makes this song ooze easiness and calm. This ease also reflected in the music video for Do You Really with its trippy yet relaxing images and pastel-like colour scheme. You can watch the cool aesthetic of the video in the link below.
A stand-out moment of the gig was Jerome’s cover of Bunkie Banks’ Pour it all out. The room was transfixed by his performance, every member of the audience standing in awe of Jerome. There wasn’t a sound from any spectator nor a deviation of eyes from the stage, he was like a magician conjuring a spell with his guitar that kept the audience locked onto his sound. It is undeniable that Oscar Jerome has raw talent that kept the audience hooked with every strum of his guitar. Each song was dripping with passion and honey-like melodies, making Oscar Jerome a must-see live event.