I’ve been a fan of the work the Amnesty International group does in St Andrews. It’s refreshing and a relief to see students at such an ambitious, often self-involved university working together for an important and charitable cause, working outside of themselves. That in mind, I was very excited to see them showcased to a wider audience in On the Rocks as I headed to JAMnesty.
JAMnesty took place in Sandy’s the small bar in the back corner of the Union. I thought this was a great location, as it was intimate, gave the audience time to meet the committee and some of the artists, and kept anyone from feeling too exposed or formal. Showcasing various performers whose offerings went from covers of old favourite songs to the more conventional Hummingbirds, one of the best a cappella groups on campus, the event was a great way to relax, wind down, and have some levity. Audience members immediately seemed to feel comfortable and welcome in Sandy’s grabbing a drink or two and mingling while they were treated to set after set of differentiating styles and tones of music.
Ukelear Fusion, a group of all ukulele players, provided perhaps the most hilarious set of JAMnesty, a sort of slapstick, off-the-cuff, and eccentric set of songs they seemed to pick on the spot. If I’m not being patronising in saying so, I will say that I mean it as a compliment of the highest order when I say the Ukelear Fusion has a sort of subcultural, sweet reputation at St Andrews, and they were very welcome at this friendly, inviting event.
They were contrasted, but not outshone, by the Hummingbirds. It is always a real treat to hear good a cappella live, and the Hummingbirds did not disappoint with a mid-length set of old favourites and impressive harmonies.
JAMnesty felt like everything a college music showcase could and should be. It was welcoming, featured talented and diverse acts, and, from what I eavesdropped off a few tables of people there, seemed to encourage more than a few audience members to get involved in Amnesty International in the future.