THE ORIGINAL RABBIT FOOT SPASM BAND - The Vicar's Garden Party Jump Steady, Jericho Tavern, Fri 20 March, 8pm
A party is what we were promised and a party is what we got. Following on from the riotous Cold War party back in October, Jump Steady returned the Rabbits to the Jericho Tavern on Friday night for a Vicar’s Garden Party (old ladies and the only hipster in the village included on the invite.)
A Rabbit’s gig is always going to be a little bit more than you expect, but these parties really are a whole evening of entertainment both on and off stage. As with last time, most attendees of this sell-out affair joined in the spirit and came in fancy dress. Looks ranged from steampunk vicar through to hay-chewin’ farmer. Everybody was ready to get rowdy.
Taking to the stage before the hotly-anticipated Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band were Zeppelin Crew. You know, Oxford’s acapella steampunk covers group. No - I hadn’t heard of then either until last night, but I’m so glad I have now. They were absolutely brilliant.
Covers ranged from The Cure to Eurythmics via Lorde and Elbow, every now and then tweaking the lyrics to suit the steampunk ethos. Of particular delight was an altered version of the Robin Thicke (achem Marvin Gaye) hit, restyled to become ‘Brewed Lines.’
Between sets we checked out the bric-a-brac stall, which aimed ‘to amass the most RIDICULOUS selection of bric-a-brac possible’ in aid of the Betjeman Society. A particularly horrific village church clock ornament definitely stole the show – I can only hope it went to a good home.
Finally it was time for the Rabbits to do their thing. Stuart got the crowd going with his trademark rebel-rousing and from the first song everyone was jumping and jiving away. The band really hit their stride with ‘Vine Street Jump’ – Rabbit-style trad jazz at its best – and not a person in the room could resist its power to make you move.
We heard classic Rabbit numbers, such as ‘Taxidermy Man’ as well as new tunes like ‘Oh Monah’ from the recently-released Sunday Night Jamboree. Stage guests included Chris of Francis Pugh and the Whisky Singers on fiddle and new Rabbit, Andrew Loveridge on clarinet. From the regular crew, drummer Skippy and guitarist Carlo Matassa were on especially top form, playing with irrepressibly infectious enthusiasm.
All together it was a jumping night, fit for the irreverent vicar and his party. But then of course it was – what else would you expect from the Rabbits?