- Tickets: £13 in advance, £15 on the door
- Company: Ethan Johns
- Extras: Support from the Niall Kelly Trio
This gig is no longer taking place.
“I was in some kind of mystic haze/Man I couldn’t see straight,” sings Ethan Johns on the meditative Jackie Lee, coming on like Bob Dylan after a heavy night of Holy Mountain and heartache.
At once intensely personal but also asking the bigger, more esoteric questions that have followed Johns since his youth, Anamnesis isn’t like most folk rock records. But then again, most folk rock records aren’t informed by an obscure text from 1616 about spiritual transformation. Ethan Johns’ first album since 2015’s Silver Liner, the musical polymath’s latest release is a whirlwind of a thing, a magical coming together of people and of ideas, taking as its starting the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.
Recorded in the barn at the bottom of his garden over two weeks in the depths of last winter, Johns fourth LP sees him reunited with his long-standing band, who came together for what he calls “legitimately one of the best times I’ve ever had making a record.”
Though he might be an acclaimed, Brit Award winning producer, he handed over the reins to the collective when it came to fine turning the album in the studio. “Everybody had a vital part to play,” he explains. “I was blown away by the sense of community.” Even his wife, who is lovingly credited as ‘den mother’ on the album sleeve, stepped in to lend a hand.
Now for a man based in the wilds of Wiltshire, Johns’ lyrical fascination with Americana might at first seem at odds with his current situation, but it all makes perfect sense really. This is a man who’s spent nigh on half his life in America, first traveling to California at just three months old and then living there for almost 20 years from the age of 17. So the fact that at times he sounds like Richard Thompson fronting The Band – which he truly, brilliantly does – should come as no surprise. The Grateful Dead are another US act whose presence can be felt throughout the album’s 15 tracks, notably their rather un-Grateful Dead-sounding 1974 album From the Mars Hotel. “I’ve been into the dead since I was 14,” says Johns, “but there’s such a huge body of work there that I completely overlooked it.” It became a cornerstone of Anamnesis though, with Johns playing it to his band repeatedly. “It just blew my mind and I got a bit obsessed by it. It really knocked me sideways.”
Anamnesis then, is where classic British folk meets the sound of wandering American troubadours with a healthy dose of inspiration from the unknown.
Parking & Access
Patrons with a disability are eligible for one free companion ticket with their booking. To book this, contact the ticket office: email@example.com or 01865 263990.
There are a number of Blue Badge parking spaces nearby on Beaumont Street, and more on New Inn Hall Street and St Giles.
The closest car park is Gloucester Green Car Park, accessed via Gloucester Street.
If you have any questions or concerns, the City Council’s Access Officer can be reached at 01865 249811.Car parks in Oxford Blue Badge information Public transport in Oxford
There are two entrances to the Old Fire Station: 40 George Street via the foyer, and on Gloucester Green via the shop. Both are step-free. If you are coming to a show, we ask that you use the George Street entrance, as the Gloucester Green entrance is not always open.
There is level entry to the foyer of the Old Fire Station, and step-free access to the main Theatre (where most shows take place) and Studio space via lift. All spaces in the building are wheelchair-accessible via lift apart from the Theatre balcony and the Loft. If an event is in the Loft, this will be clearly stated on the event’s web page.
If you are a wheelchair user attending a sit-down show, space will be reserved for you. If you are attending a standing gig, please contact us (call Alex on 01865 263980 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will talk with you about your needs.
There are six steps leading up to the Loft space. If you would like to discuss hire of the space, or any of the events taking place in the Loft, please get in touch.
There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor, accessible via platform lift. Other toilets are in the basement (accessible via lift).
All types of assistance and guide dogs are welcome at the Old Fire Station. It would be great if you could let us know in advance if you will be bringing a working dog to any performances – just e-mail email@example.com.
We will warn visitors on the website and in the foyer of the venue if a performance is going to contain strobe lighting. If lighting affects you, and you have any concerns, please call Alex on 01865 263980 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.