Oysterband8pm, SaturdayApril 26th '08St. James Hall3214 West 10th Avenue
at Trutch St. in Kitsilano
In July 1987 they played the folk festival, but only managed 7 songs all weekend. However, they made a big splash, so we invited them to play at The Savoy on the following Monday. They ere amazing! In 1990 they played the WISE Hall. It was very loud and the place was packed. A neighbour complained that her floor was shaking. She lived on the opposite side of Victoria Drive, too. The band joked that they usually charge extra for that! The last time they played here was at Richards On Richards. Disastrous turn out. Magnificent show. Since then they have released their best three CDs to date (imho) – Here I Stand, Rise Up, and Meet You There. John Jones' voice keeps getting richer and better with every passing year and album. Alan Prosser's guitar playing and Chopper's cello and bass provide such sumptuous accompaniment, and Ian Telfer's fiddle playing and compositional skills are always a highlight. Currently in the drummer's seat is Dil Davies. Don't miss this chance to see England's finest!
We had to choose either to rent a big space (and it's not easy to find one that's affordable, pleasant, and that doesn’t deal with Ticketmaster) and hope for a really big crowd, or go with our home venue, and hope they aren't too noisy! Shooglenifty managed to excel within the confines of St. James Hall a year ago. This night promises to be just as incredible!
Oysterband have always done things their way. From a time when Folk music was seen as one the uncoolest things around (apparently some people still think it is?!...?), they have followed their deeprooted love of the traditional music of Britain while combining it with all kinds of influences, pointed social commentary and exceptional musicianship. They are a diverse mix of unlikely and eclectic musicians who share a common goal of creating good music. And just to prove that hard work and integrity DOES pay off – today we consider them leaders – and legends - of the folk rock scene...
The band grew out of the Cambridge folk scene of the late 1970's, from the bands Fiddler's Dram and their side project Oyster Ceilidh Band. (The name Oyster comes from the group's early association with the coastal town of Whitstable in East Kent, known for the quality of its oysters.) Their first album, Jack's Alive (30 years ago!) was released under the Oyster Ceilidh Band name and featured a 7-member line-up. Since then, they've released 17 more albums and been through a few more line-up changes to arrive at the hardhitting, virtuosic 5-piece band you'll see at the St James Hall on April 26th.
Much of what defines Oysterband is its diversity – you can't pin it down as either folk, rock or traditional. The current members between them have dabbled in art rock, punk, African music and jive and play or have played guitar, bass, cello, fiddle, squeezebox, mandolin, banjo, bowed psaltery, bones, bandura, guitar synths, sitar, trumpet, banjomandolin, concertina and piano. They meld modern influences with traditional music, and sing ballads, toe-tapping melodies and pub-brawling anthems. Their songs have been covered by countless bands, including Great Big Sea who recorded one of Oysterband's most recognizable songs, When I'm Up I Can't Get Down, which helped put The Canadian band on the map. They have also combined forces with such luminaries as June Tabor and Chumbawamba.
Four years ago, they started one of the best kept secrets on the festival circuit The Big Session Festival. Not only is it an extremely green festival, it is their way of helping out young and emerging folk artists. In 2003, they won the "Good Tradition Award" from BBC for this aspect of their work.
Like most bands that have such staying power, Oysterband have continued to do their thing with the same intensity and energy all along. But unlike some, they have gotten better at it with each passing year.