Gig review: Oakland Brothers at the Marina Bar, Rochester, 28 Feb 2016, by SM Jenkin

OK, I’m on my feet dancing to the cheeky beat of the Oakland Brothers. On a Sunday afternoon at the Marina Bar, in Rochester – and yes, I’m sober. I didn’t expect too much from a guitar/violin duo, and for a free gig too. They started traditionally enough with a few covers, as much tradition as you can expect from a guitar/violin combo that covers Stones covers, Thin Lizzy, and the Doors. With time though the afternoon gig got a little stranger, a little free-er with some interesting combinations including a Pink Floyd/ ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ mash-up that had to be sung along to to be believed. I would welcome the chance to hear some of the original material I know is lurking within this band.

Technically, I was impressed by both players and with their obvious rapport on stage. This is understandable when you know that Graham was Richard’s guitar teacher. At one point another violin player joined them on stage and an enjoyable jam ensued. Did I mention the audience participation? Yeah, they had people out dancing and singing along too: one of the signs of a good band, as far as I am concerned. They engaged well with the audience without it becoming twee or tiresome. The violin player was particularly energetic, dashing out at random to serenade the audience and to interact with as many as wanted to play along.

It will become clear that though these are accomplished musicians, they clearly do not take themselves too seriously and this I welcome in a band, particularly in Medway. Yeah, you heard me.

The Oakland Brothers are playing at the Coopers Arms on Sunday 6 March 2016 at 7pm.