The Vagaband

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Artist bio

...honest, good time, rock’n’rollin’ countrybilly of the highest order” - DJ 78. The Vagaband play roots music. The elements of country, folk, rock, soul & swing filter through the sound. The mood is joyous, the songs are colourful and the dance floor is bouncing. Sometimes ironic, othertimes weighty, the band enjoy balancing their act between choice covers, energetic original songs with an infectious beat and old time classic’s that deal with those age old honkytonk issues - love, death and choo-choo trains! José Mcgill’s history of working with street acts (Roxy’s Toolbox/Swervy World), cabaret (Herbie Treehead Band) and touring bands (Them Heads) brings an eclectic sensibilty to the band. A soulful singer, this guy knows how to own a song. Longterm musical partner and pedal steel player Patrick Arbuthnott (The Rockingbirds/Hank Wangford Band/Jimmy Nail Band) provides that signature country tone with accompaniment from Joe Wright (Fairport Convention’s Martin Alcock) on the fiddle. Meanwhile, Ali Houiellebecq (Le La Les/The Sweetbeats) sighs sweet high end harmonies then honks her sax like a badass in tandem with the belting trumpet of Hugh Stanners’ (Royal Academy of Music to The Vagaband - what a journey!). It's all glued together by the Araldite stomp of the drum n’ bass, now with added tongue n’ groove, courtesy of falsetto-singing bassman Tristan Roche and young Dan Reynolds’ (no.1 in Japan!) on the drumkit. The Vagaband’s first gig was in a warehouse in Hackney. Two guitars and a bunch of covers in exchange for beer and the promise of a good night. Simple. Upon moving moving back to Norfolk, José and Pat decided to expand the line-up and pulled in the talents from the local scene. After completing the first recording, their own composition ‘The River’ became ‘song of the week’ on Pulse Radio. A promising start. Since then, the band have enjoyed performances at countless festivals throughout the UK, have showcased at Hackney Empire’s theatre bar, brought the marquee down at The Green Man Fayre and closed the last night of The 2009 Norfolk & Norwich Festival in the legendary Spiegel Tent. “A band who appear to have arrived from another era, when great songs were played by ragged men with one aim - to get their audience to join them on a hugely pleasurable musical trip!”” - The Shellac Collective. “An incredible line-up...perfect for the festival finale...” - The Bonanafana Social Club at The Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2009. “The single best band I’ve seen in a tent this year - and I’ve been in a lot of tents!” - DJ78.

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