Oysterband – November 2007

8/10

Minerva Theatre

Date: Thursday 29th November 2007

This was the first time we’ve seen the Oysterband, though we’ve been aware of them for a number of years. The support act was Dan Donnelly, who also played with them during their set. He’s an Irishman who now lives in New York, and whose songs covered some of the basics of human experience – love, loneliness, etc. Songs such as Love Will Save The Day, Cigarette, Lonely Still, Shine and a number of others, warmed us up nicely, although from Dan’s perspective we were still incredibly reserved. No swearing, no throwing bottles, what was the matter with us? He had a good voice, and I liked the songs well enough to buy a CD, but the most interesting thing was the amazing box of tricks at his feet. He was able to set up rhythms, riffs, etc, and get the machine to loop them as a backing track – the most amenable band in the world. It sounded great, so I’ll be interested to hear what the CD is like.

The Oysterband needed no introduction to their fans, and gave us a blend of new songs and old favourites. Bury Me Standing, Meet You There, Here Comes The Flood, Dancing As Fast As I Can, and Over The Water are from the new album, while oldies included If You Can’t Be Good and My Mouth amongst many. I liked the sound, an unusual combination of folk instruments and modern style, and enjoyed the songs, tapping away to most of them, as were a lot of the audience.

The band had been told they wouldn’t get anyone dancing in Chichester, but that was proved wrong. A brave lady got up to bop in the far aisle about half-way through, and towards the end, lots of folk stormed onto the stage to take advantage of the open space. If I hadn’t been caught up in the middle of a row, I would’ve joined in (possibly). Anyway, the band did the usual encore, and then treated us to a display of their skill that I haven’t seen before, and may not see again for a long time. The regular band members (Dan had disappeared offstage by this time) came in front of the mikes and did a proper acoustic number with no amplification at all. OK, it was quieter than the other stuff, but still audible – the Minerva isn’t that big – and we all got to join in. It was a great way to end their set, and much appreciated. I hope we’ll see them again, and in the meantime I bought a couple of CDs to keep the memory fresh.

© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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