Jerry Bucham: Freelance Activist

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the introduction song playing as self-proclaimed ‘freelance activist’ Jerry Bucham made his way onstage was none other than Edwin Starr’s War (What Is It Good For?). Armed with his acoustic guitar (or fascist killing machine as activists like to call them), Bucham introduced himself - a mildly cheerful, fresh-faced young man with a soft, friendly and not at all threatening Yorkshire accent - before delivering the first of many short and sweet protest songs. ‘Sort it out’, he simply sings, referring to the current civil unrest in Syria.

Explaining the meaning behind a freelance activist and what they do, Bucham comes across as rather serious in his tone and delivery, but the nature of his material is quite the opposite. This irony further adds to the humour of Bucham’s performance, especially the moments in which he takes the moral high ground over the audience.

Through song, he tackled the issues of racism, war, the financial crisis and animal cruelty. He explains that music is important as it has direct impact, before delivering songs with funny, cheeky and naive lyrics, showing him to be more of a wannabe activist who hasn’t quite mastered the active part.

This is highlighted again when he got the audience involved in a chant for equality. He does this in a way that is far more passive than proper protest chants, and invites his new comrades to join him in trashing a Santander, or maybe just ‘steal all the pay-in slips.’ A song about the ignorant treatment of street campaigners hit the audience with a pang of guilt whilst tickling their funny bone simultaneously, before Bucham ends with something he calls an ‘instrumention’ (essentially an intervention with music), and dedicates a song about the perils of drug abuse to a member of the audience he had called out as a drug addict earlier in the show. Getting the audience involved by singing along and waving their arms, to which they happily comply, Bucham gave a skilful performance on his harmonica and was met with warm applause before taking a bow and leaving the stage.

Bucham delivers a delightful performance and possesses an incredibly likable character, somewhere on the scale from deep and deadly serious to naive and very tongue-in-cheek. All of which is part of his act, of course. No pun intended.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

Star of BBC's Jesting About and the Laughing Horse New Act Competition, misguided protest singer Jerry Bucham is aiming to save the world - one song at a time. 'Really funny ... excellent' (Josie Long).

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