Event review: Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies at the Oval Tavern, Thursday 14th May

By - Friday 22nd May, 2015

Ukeleles, pirates and cycling in the Basque country – Papa Delta enjoys a night of folk at the Oval

Photo by Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies, used with permission.

Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies was the main bill at the Oval Tavern, Croydon on Thursday 14th May, one of their regular ‘pay what you can’ folk events. They were supported by Worry Dolls, a Greenwich-based indie folk duo (not to be confused with a band of a similar name).

Being the support act is always a tough gig, as they tend to get a raw deal with the sound and always struggle to gain the attention of the audience. Worry Dolls, with a mix of vocals, guitar and banjo, quickly gained and held the attention of the crowd throughout their set. A spontaneous change of repertoire midway through their set led to a request for a ukulele and one was quickly passed across from the audience. Even this change of instrument didn’t faze Gavin, the sound guy. Included in the set were numbers from their EP, Burden, which is out in early June.

Following the Worry Dolls, Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies took to the stage. Their full, frequently-changing line up consists of ten members, who would, had they all been at the Oval, filled the stage several times over. Tonight Harry Bird, on acoustic guitar, was just accompanied by the versatile Christophe Capewell. As soon as Harry, with his soft Scottish accent, introduced their first number, a song in Basque, you knew that this was going to be an interesting set.

Their set consisted of numbers from their recent CDs, Long Way to be Free and The Bones on Black and their new CD which is out now, Bricks and Feathers. In addition to encouraging the audience to join in with the choruses and refrains, ukuleles were enticed to emerge from their cases and to join in as well. By the end of the evening we had been treated to songs in Basque, English, French, and Spanish, with a wide range of topics covered, including pirates, cycling in the Basque country, swimming and ‘beard snoods’! I hadn’t seen either of the acts before and following their performances at The Oval I look forward to seeking them out in the record shops as well as at other gigs.

Papa Delta

Papa Delta

A born and bred Croydonian who now visits Croydon on a weekly basis as a tourist from nearby Wallington. My musical interests are somewhat eclectic with my tastes being honed at the Sunday night gigs at the Greyhound and the local folk clubs in the mid seventies. As I am now on the silver scrap heap and the family have flown the nest I do my best to get out and about in Croydon and the environs to see bands that are familiar in name and/or style or to blind taste news acts be they folk, rock or even a bit of roll!

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  • Stephen Giles

    Excellent review, many thanks.