Drake returns to city with two fellow musical alchemists

Ex-Cardiacs keyboard player William D. Drake. (s)

Ex-Cardiacs keyboard player William D. Drake. (s)

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Cult legend, musical alchemist and conjurer of folk: William D. Drake is a shape-shifter of the rock world.

Returning to Preston’s The Ferret tomorrow to lead a cohort of rock wizards – Stephen EvEns and Firstname Frank – the ex-Cardiacs keyboard player will roll out a thunderous dose of experimental folk. Drake’s particular brand of meandering folk-rock – bending genre norms – is rooted in the experimental quality of Cardiacs’ punk vibe. The band is named for its rebellious style among the influences of many successful acts in the 1980s and 90s, including Blur and Supergrass.

“The resulting sound has never been equalled or imitated and Drake’s post-Cardiacs musical style not only amazes and delights,” said gig organiser and promoter Claire Marshall, “but as a solo artist lurches wildly from the intimately prophetic, to the gloriously epic with an interlude of the whimsically eclectic along the way.”

Drake also refined his skill as both a performer and composer with Cardiacs frontman Tim Smith and his wife Sarah as spin-off trio The Sea Nymphs.

“His sound is quintessentially English, infused with the spirit of Robert Wyatt and paying homage to music of the past, wrapped up in a Cardiacs-esque kind of obscure majesty,” Claire added.

Stephen EvEns, AKA Mr Stephen Gilchrist, the drummer of Drake’s band, welds together rock and Britpop and will fire off tracks from his new solo album, Bonjour Poulet. His musical career has seen him play with a number of critically acclaimed bands, infusing the sound of The Damned, Republica, The Lightning Seeds, The Scaramanga Six and The Godfathers.

“BBC6 Music’s darling of the moment, Mr EvEns, will bring a unique sound of folky Americana and disjointed comical angst and situationally induced left-field stories in Britpop,” said Claire. “Mr EvEns is practically rock royalty.”

Mr FirstName Frank, completing the line-up, is “a stalwart of the Lancashire and Manchester music scene with a strong local following,” added Claire.

“He will grace us with a collection of existential songs and situations in which we can clap, tap and laugh, all wrapped up in an air of wistful melancholy.”

The gig will take place tomorrow at The Ferret, Fylde Road, Preston, starting at 8pm. Entry is free.