Last night I had the pleasure of attending one of the best shows that I’ve seen in a long time. I was looking forward to going to The Jericho Tavern for a change – as opposed to the Carling Academy now the O2 Academy in Oxford. Actually, after listening to Baskery‘s music on their MySpace page and watching one of their videos, I was quite surprised that their show was being held at the smaller venue, The Jericho.
From what I had heard before seeing them live, I thought either the Swedish band isn’t quite known here yet and the venue won’t be very busy on a Tuesday night, or the place will be packed to the rafters with fans. Unfortunately the place wasn’t very busy – but made for an intimate night of music.
Stevie One Bloke, One Mandolin opened the show. His name speaks for himself – except that “harmonica” isn’t included in the title. Stevie seems like an interesting character, with his colourful stories about life and friendship along with his descriptive lyrics and the unique combination of mandolin and occasional harmonica. It’s no surprise that he has a busy tour schedule this year.
InLight was next. The Oxford based band was stripped down to an acoustic set with just two members, Charlie Cooke and Mike Riddle. I’m not sure why they used the term acoustic though, since they were playing electric guitar and keyboard. Mike played an acoustic guitar for a couple songs – maybe that warranted the term? They sounded good, with witty banter at times, nice vocals and instrumentation. “Bridges” was a stand out song. I would look forward to seeing the full band at some point.
After their set, my anticipation high, I looked around the room and was surprised to see that people weren’t flooding in for the final act, Baskery. I had to keep reminding myself that they’re a new band and that not many people know about them yet.
As the girls were on stage, tuning up their instruments, something caught my eye. Why was the banjo player, Greta, setting up the snare drum on its side, on the floor, next to the kick drum? Well, as I soon found out, get this, she plays SLIDE banjo while sitting at the drums, playing the kick drum and the snare with her bare feet, sometimes while playing harmonica, and sings brilliant harmonies alongside her equally talented sisters, Stella on upright bass, and the youngest, Sunniva Bondesson on acoustic guitar.
The minute they started playing and singing their self-described “High voltage, Killbilly, Banjopunk, Blues-grass, Mud-country” music, with the tightest harmonies that I’ve ever heard live, I knew that I was in for a startlingly great night of music. That anticipation that I was feeling before they played was there throughout the set, after each song. Sometimes they would switch lead vocal parts, but thankfully, would always come back to those harmonies – harmonies so good that if you could see them, they might have looked like gold dust sparkling in the air.
That night we were treated to a Grammy Award winning performance by a very talented band that hopefully a lot more people will know about in the near future.
Baskery on amazon.co.uk
Baskery on amazon.com
By: Jenny May – Band Weblogs
The Baskery review is also featured on Oxford City Guide