The Native Oysters Band at the Whitstable Labour Club

The Native Oysters Band playing at the Labour Club 2nd Dec 2016

What a wonderful gig at the Labour Club last night, featuring the inimitable Nigel Hobbins, and the revelatory Native Oysters Band, in aid of the Oval Campaign.

Nigel was brilliant as always, doing a poignant rendition of his Garden of England song, amongst others. These lines seemed particularly apt given the cause this evening: “For this is the Garden of England and it’s worth fighting for.”

The Native Oysters Band are a kind of funked up Brass Band, playing an extraordinary mixture of New Orleans jazz, soul, funk and classics, with a great singer and trumpet player, who sounded like Gil Scott Heron, two psychedelic sax players, a cool, laid back drummer, a keyboard player who stepped in at the last minute, and still managed to sound spot on, and the most wonderful tuba playing I’ve ever heard. Well I say “tuba” but I had to ask what it was. Actually it’s a helicon, which is a type of tuba made for marching bands. You would normally associate the tuba with oompah pah music, but this was ultra groovy. It sounded more like some funky fretless bass than anything you would hear in a German beer hall.

They looked great too, with their sailor’s caps with gold leaf designs on the peaks, with all the brass instruments, and with that great gleaming tuba in the background catching the spotlight: it was like the stage was lit up in a golden shimmering glow.

Lots of people got up to dance: except yours truly, who ran off into the bar when Julie Wassmer tried to get me onto the dance floor. You don’t want to see me dance Julie. It’s like Pinocchio on acid.

All of the musicians gave their time for free in order to aid the Oval Campaign, and Whitstable Society stalwart Graham Cox gave a great speech about the politics of the campaign.

This is not just a Whitstable issue: it’s a national issue. It’s about what a council can and can’t do with public land. If Canterbury City Council get away with selling off the Oval to the developers at a knock down price, then the same thing could happen in the rest of the country. This is a last stand for public land.

The Judicial Review takes place on the 13th, 14th and 15th of December and Whitstable people are encouraged to go along to show your support.

Funding for this vital case is still ongoing. If you wish to make a donation please go to:

Listen to a medley of the Native Oysters Band’s songs here:

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