The Union's event was a welcome addition to the student music sceneGeorgia Humphrey

There are few things better to do on a Saturday evening in week six than sample some of Cambridge’s most exciting new bands, and even fewer things better than doing so whilst supporting one of the city’s most important charities. The Union’s Band Night for Jimmy’s on 23rd February was therefore nothing short of a delight.

Pushpin are wizards of psychedelic rock, combining mesmerising guitar work with compelling lyrics

Jimmy’s Cambridge has been supporting the city’s homeless community since 1995, providing food, shelter and training for those living on the streets. The aim of Saturday’s gig was to raise money and awareness for the charity, as well as allow local bands the opportunity to perform live to their adoring fans. Given the quite frankly disappointing lack of a substantial live student music circuit in Cambridge, the evening was a very welcome addition. 

The debate chamber made for a great venue, and with the stage framed by two real-time projections of each band’s performance, the gig atmosphere was, as I believe the kids say, ‘lit’.  The same can be said for the music itself, which took a variety of forms, ranging from the folky magic of Grand Canoe to the alt-pop bangers of newly formed Midnight Rogue. For the latter, this was their first gig, and their upbeat, The 1975-inspired new wave pop made a brilliant first impression, with some audience participation thrown in at the end of the set for good measure. Midnight Rogue are still very much in their first phase, so do keep a lookout for them playing in and around Cambridge over the next few months. 


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After Midnight Rogue, two members of King's-based covers band Sunstreamers took to the stage and captured the audience’s hearts with a mixture of Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan classics. It was refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable to have some familiar, softer tunes break up the largely pop and rock heavy evening. 

Headliners Pushpin were also a highlight, treating the crowd to a selection of their existing repertoire as well as debuting a new single, Coasters. Pushpin are wizards of psychedelic rock, combining mesmerising guitar work with compelling lyrics and vocals to create a unique contemporary sound that translates brilliantly both live and on record. Do check out their music on Spotify (newly available since last week), certainly worth a listen for fans of Alt-J or MGMT.  My personal favourite of theirs, 'Smooth Plane', was a hit with the Union crowd, and a fitting way to end the evening. 

Overall, the Union’s first ever charity band night was a raging success; we can only hope that it will be the first of many. I was assured that this is just the beginning of the Union’s relationship with live student music, so watch this space! 

You can find Grand Canoe and Pushpin on Facebook 

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