A fusion band with sartorial elegance are playing two Oxjam gigs, as Tim Hughes finds out

Sharp, fun and loud, Little Brother Eli do not believe in doing things by half.

Their music is a perfect fusion of rock & roll, blues, garage and soul – with a bit of hip hop thrown in for good measure. It’s the kind of sound that’s impossible to stand still to – let alone sit through – and their live shows are raucous affairs. But it’s not just their music that is earning this five-piece a reputation far beyond their native West Oxfordshire.

“We like to sound pretty rough around the edges, but it’s important to look good,” says bassist Josh Rigal, who shares songwriting duties with singer Alex Grew.

“We favour vintage Victorian dress, but without the top hats – so lots of waistcoats, good shirts and the odd tie too. We have each adapted our own style.”

It is, Alex says, the band’s way of making an impression. “A lot of bands don’t make the effort, and turn up in jeans and T- shirts. But people always ask who the band is when they are done up smart.”

Their sartorial style paid dividends at a recent gig in Hamburg, where they played the German city’s Reeperbahn Festival.

“It was our first time in Europe and we just dressed how we usually do – which went down very well with the Germans, who assume that’s how all English people dress.”

Little Brother Eli have a long West Oxfordshire pedigree. Josh, from Cassington, and Standlake lad Alex have been in and out of bands for years. “We met when we were kids, and have been playing ever since,” says Josh.

When Josh went to uni in London, he and Alex stayed in touch, exchanging songs. In London he met guitarist Linus Taylor and drummer Benji Page, who was active in the hip-hop scene, and enlisted them. Completing the line-up is Witney guitarist Adam Stowe.

They describe their music as bluesy, garage-rock and cite as influences The White Stripes, White Denim, Led Zeppelin and The Who, and are set to release their debut album next year.

On Saturday they play two shows for Oxjam in Oxford and Witney – playing the James Street Tavern in East Oxford before heading down the A40 for a show at Fat Lil’s.

“It’s a great cause,” says Josh. “Oxjam raises lots of money for charity and boosts the profile of Oxfam. It’s great for bands like us too, as we get to play to different audiences – including to people who might not normally hear us.

“We want to be out gigging anyway, so to be able to do something like this is great. So expect raucous stuff.

“We do a lot of dancing, so it’s going to be energetic and upbeat. But we are not ‘too cool for school’ so come and talk to us, buy a T-shirt or even get us a drink!”

Oxjam Oxford runs from 2pm, Saturday to 2am on Sunday. Tickets £8 from wegottickets.com or Truck Store.

Oxjam Witney is from noon on Saturday to 2am on Sunday. Tickets are £10 from wegottickets.com or from Rapture, Witney