US - Pennsylvania - Full Moon 223 - 11/06/14
Strand of Oaks
John Dee, Oslo, Norway, October 12 2014
Strand of Oaks chased off the ghost of a Sunday night when they visited
Oslo's John Dee venue some weeks ago. Tim Showalter and his players (a
threesome, holding keyboard, bass, and drums) made sure to make a perfect
end of the weekend, with a highly comforting gig.
A couple of hours
before they went on stage, I had a short interview-chat with Tim, who was a
warm, honest and openhearted. He was a real friendly guy.
The band hit the stage and made sure to throw a very good performance.
They kicked off with "Satellite Moon" (off Dark Shores (2012), and
played almost the entire songs from his latest album, Heal. The titled track, "HEAL", 'hit'
single "Goshen 97", and the epic Molina tribute "JM" came tumbling quite
early in the show. Hey, live "JM" sounded even more epic than the album
version. "Woke Up To The Light" and "Mirage Year" came also, almost before
Showalter and his musical friends came to breath. The crowd was very good
that night. It was maybe not the best there can be (Showalter hailed the
show in Göteborg, Sweden, the night before to be the gig of his life).
I recall the Oslo concert to be indeed very good as well. The venue was not
all over-crowded, and for a slow Sunday it was perfectly (enough) filled.
While in Göteborg, Tim and his musketeers visited a sauna: several
sweaty beards, and one lady looking at sweaty beards (Tim mentioned), and
the beards in the band (well, at least 2 out of 4 of them had beards - that
is quite bearded) had squirted a lot of sweat. The band passed the rocking
part of the show, performing many of the most known songs. Then they entered
the slower, calmer part, or (what Tim said) the show. The point of return to
rock, like '...this was the moody portion, now it is rock'n'roll'. The band
also played "Two Kids" and "Sister Evangeline" (off Leave Ruin), the
latter out in the 'moody part' of the gig. The songs after the calm mood
presented songs like "Shut In", "Same Emotions" and "Plymouth". Tim is way
cool, but at the same time he is moody and so is his music. But, mind you,
he is as authentic as can be, and he is true to the soul of a rock song.
When the perfect Sunday night aimed for its end, accompanied by Strand of
Oaks and their perfect soundtrack to a shaky, trembly night. I might/should
have recalled all
(or a few more, in detail) of the songs, they played that night, but...no. I
could not, or cannot do so. Tim and his backing band were closing their set
with "Wait For Love", and the quartet left the stage with a 'goodbye, thank
you'. Then Showalter (him only) returned, with his guitar, presenting a
cover song -- one of his favourite songs: Bruce Springsteen's "Used Cars"
the countrified and low-voiced 1982 album, Nebraska). Tim doing a
low-toned Springsteen chased away the sceptic in me. I was not (or are/were
not) sceptical to Strand of Oaks, but... covering a Springsteen song is not
my most pleasant dream. Showalter turned me (not that I've been a
Springsteen fan), and he made me realise that Bruce is a competent and frank
This same thing goes for Tim Showalter: He is a truly frank and highly
competent songwriter, who went through his present live catalogue with pride
and good humour. When I get to transcribe my interview, I can present some
more of Strand of Oaks, and Tim's life as an artist... his life on the road.
Like it can be seen like, somehow, me portraying Tim Showalter. Until then,
goodbye and thank you to Tim and his cohorts.
Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen