Jamnesty: Reviewed

IMG_2760St Andrews Amnesty International put on a good show, whilst keeping the message in the limelight.Venue 1 is half-canvassed and out of use, and the Union itself looks like a building site. As a result Venue 2, the erstwhile less-used room at the top of two flights of stairs, has taken on something of a cult following amongst the student population (let’s be honest: at two quid a pint, why wouldn’t you?) So it was that on the night of Wednesday 9th April, in Venue 2, St Andrews’ Amnesty International team held their annual Jamnesty fundraiser, an opportunity to raise awareness about human rights through shared libation and listening to St Andrews’ musical talent.The venue itself was perfect for this kind of event, plenty of places to put posters and Amnesty information, a decent stage big enough for live music to sound good, whilst not so big that intimacy is lost, and a bar that was easy to reach and did not suffer, like the main Union Bar, from horrendous queues. St Andrews Amnesty International has been at the head of many campaigns, most notably the Stop Violence Against Women campaign, and those championing gay rights and human rights in countries in which such things are often not enjoyed, particularly by women. Each campaign had its own sticker in fluorescent colours which were duly plastered everywhere, including on the Amnesty team. The real message of what people were here for was made clear, but the atmosphere still retained something of the small, intimate party of a close group of friends.The live music was good, beginning with a cappella group The Hummingbirds, who gave their inimitable take on classic pop standards, followed by singer-songwriter Josh Fuchs. Mad Jack, not the final band of the evening but certainly the highlight, followed and gave their folk-pop flourish to classics such as The Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’. They produced a haunting rendition of Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’, alongside some of their own work, most notably ‘A Circle is a Line’ with a chorus that had a whiff of Bastille about it, and which one could readily imagine poking its head into the top 40. Following them were Ticho, who presented their smooth blues and pop set which, whilst next to Mad Jack felt like an after party following the main event, still gave its all and didn’t pull punches. The DJ was your standard fare, and opted for beats over tunes, which in a place like Venue 2 is always questionable, though the set was fine overall.But what really made the night stand out was the mission of all those involved; the sense that they truly cared about the cause was palpable. The Amnesty logo was visible on badges, posters, stickers and balloons, and you received a sticker with entry. Given that Venue 2 is well-known for being a less-than-great location, Jamnesty perhaps signals its transformation as a place that can hold its own with the best of them. Jamnesty certainly proved that it could deliver on all fronts, and leave people having enjoyed their night, and most importantly, remembering why they came.Find out more about Amnesty International and getting involved here.IMG_2751 Stuart McMillan Image Credits: St Andrews Amnesty International/ Stuart McMillan