Oamaru’s newest live music venue, Settler Theatre, is set to host John Davis, of Folk Implosion fame, next week.
Touring New Zealand and Australia with his backing band The Cicadas, Davis is coming to Oamaru for one show on July 5.
Davis co-founded Folk Implosion with Lou Barlow in 1993, rising to fame after featuring on soundtracks for films Kids and American Beauty
He left the group in 2000 and, after becoming established in teaching, came back to music with the album Spare Parts in 2013.
He has since released several albums, most recently instrumental EP Gnawing on the Bone, but works fulltime in public education and politics, moonlighting in music as much as time allows.
This is Davis’ first time visiting New Zealand. He said taking the time to do shows in smaller places, like Oamaru, was a good way to see the country.
His Oamaru set will mix material from his solo catalogue – old and recent – and songs from the Folk Implosion archive of the ’90s.
“I’ll be playing with a drummer from my backing band The Cicadas, who mixes traditional live kit playing with some sample triggering and electronics,” he said.
Davis said his earlier Folk Implosion influences were garage, new wave and hip-hop, while his solo work was more poetic, acoustic and experimental.
“I still maintain those two styles, but I use just my name for acoustic guitar based records like 2013’s Spare Parts, and the name John Davis & The Cicadas when the arrangements are built primarily off rhythm section tracks.”
His recent lyrical work was much more “directly political and historical”.
Away from music, Davis works as a teacher with Durham Public Schools, as treasurer of the Durham Association of Educators, and as president of the Durham People’s Alliance, a citizen action group.
“It’s clear that 2019 is a very different climate politically than the ’90s.
“I feel lucky to be working in a time and place where a lot of effective and nationally-relevant organising is being driven by a network of people I have a lot of love and respect for.”
He is hoping to have, and encouraging, conversations with gig-goers in New Zealand about local political issues.
See it, hear it
★ Who: John Davis & The Cicadas
★ Where: Settler Theatre (in the Early Settlers Hall), Severn St, Oamaru
★ When: July 5, 8pm
★ Tickets: $10 at the door