Practical Stuff

We are an open mic club meeting every Tuesday at the British Oak pub in Old Dover Road, Blackheath. We are more of an acoustic than a pure folk club. Recent sessions have included virtually every musical genre.

We have a 300 watt Yamaha PA system with 2 mics and 4 other inputs. If more inputs are needed a Behringer mixer can be made available with prior notice. The space is relatively limited and a four-piece band is probably the optimum.

We operate a first come-first served system. There are 10 minutes/2 song slots. It is best to arrive by 8pm to avoid disappointment and ask for Lynne. We only have one rule we ask performers to respect: our excellent host, Peter, prefers people not to publicise gigs in other pubs, which seems fair enough to us.

The British Oak, 109 Old Dover Rd, London SE3 8SU

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Tuesday September 16th 2008

The, or one of the, great things about the club is the unexpected. This week the music was a little more folk-orientated than in previous weeks-whatever 'folk' means. Who said, 'all music is folk music?' It was Louis Armstrong (I heard it in a quiz and got it wrong; thought it was Bob Dylan!)
Perhaps it was the presence of our guests 'A Murder of Ravens' aka 'Bruise'. Our old friends Isabelle and Jim were joined by Gary on guitar. Gary and Jim's consumate musicianship complemented Isabelle's sumptuous vocals. What is more, the band appeared to go platinum as their very reasonably priced CD sold out. There's always e-bay.........
It was great to welcome one of Folkmob's stalwarts, Linda, who is renowned for her sensitive interpretation of traditional songs and Jim also, as usual, kept us in touch with our roots. This inspired Terry, Kate and moi to do some unaccompanied stuff. We also had great sets from a whole bunch of regulars and it was good to listen to Pete the Hat again (mais sans chapeau) I've personaly really enjoyed Colin's performances recently and last night was no exception. A reminder that he helps run a lively session at the Pelton Arms, SE10, on alternate Thursdays (including this week, Sept. 18th) As for Caroline's autoharp, it was a stroke of genius on Baxter's part to bring a pre-amp along.
I mentioned a workshop run by Martyn Joseph last week. I feel a neo-evangelical urge to spread the word about his work. He's writen three of the most beautiful songs I know ('Cardiff Bay', 'Dolphins Make me Cry' and 'Can't Breath') Check him out on You Tube or his website: You won't regret it. For the guitarists amongst you try a tuning he uses; drop the bottom string to D and the G string to F#and just have a pootle.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Tuesday, September 9th

Apologies for the lack of a new post last week. Your's truly started a new contract on the other side of London and has been struggling to get into a new routine. If anyone knows a magic route to Putney, let me know!
Previous posts have pointed out the rich diversity of musical offerings we're growing accustomed to at The British Oak on Tuesdays. This Tuesday was not only no exception to this but seemed broader still. Added to this was an exciting move towards groups of musicians coming together to jam together; whats is more, musicians from contrasting musical backgrounds. This week saw Caroline, Simon G, Colin and Chris provide a rousing finale.
We again welcomed newcomers. James played two eclectic sets demonstrating powerful vocals and sensitive, subtle guitar work. Katie has been lurking midst the punters for a few weeks and plucked up the courage to give us a powerful rendition of a June Tabor song. It was good to welcome back Jerry and Matt for a second time, this time without their marital chaparones. 'Creep' ensured that Radiohead were honoured with having a song featured at the Royal Oak.
No fewer than 17 musicians played according to Lynne. The majority were Oakfolk stalwarts and I particularly enjoyed Colin's new song, the bitter and poignant lyric complemented by Baxter's stirring mouth harp.
The British Oak is certainly the place to be this forthcoming week for live music. The inimitable Steve Morrison plays on Saturday night whilst we welcome Bruise, old friends of the club, on Tuesday. Jim and Isabelle will be joined by a friend for what promises to be a fantastic night. And all for free! Well, apart from your raffle tickets.........
I'm off to Lancaster this weekend to a songwritibg workshop (Yes, I know I need it!) led by Martyn Joseph, one of Britain's best kept musical secrets. I strongly recommend you to sample him on You Tube.