Oysterband and Idiot Bast**d Band at the Alban Arena

THE combination of an English folk singer and a raucous rebel folk band comes to the Alban Arena next Thursday, November 29, in the shape of June Tabor and Oysterband.

June is a compelling storyteller and an interpreter of often bleak and tragic songs. In the concert she is matched against a band with a similar range but also with roots in the folk scene.

They reunited last year to perform at fRoots Magazine’s 30th birthday party at The Roundhouse and 21 years after they first got together, they have made Ragged Kingdom, a belated follow-up to their much-acclaimed Freedom and Rain album.

The gig begins at 8pm and tickets are �20, available from the Arena box office on 01727 844488 or online at www.alban-arena.co.uk

The Idiot Bast**d Band bring their own brand of madness to the Arena at 8pm next Friday, November 30.

The band, which is dedicated to weird and wonderful comic songs, comprises Ade Edmondson (Young Ones, Comic Strip, Bottom) on guitar, banjo, trumpet, mandolin, fiddle, coconuts; Neil Innes (Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Monty Python, Innes Book Of Records) on keyboard, guitar and ukulele; Phill Jupitus (Never Mind The Buzzcocks, QI, Radio 6 DJ) on guitar, bass, kazoo and triangle and Rowland Rivron (Raw Sex, Jools Holland Big Band, Blue Peter - aged 15) on drums, congas, bongos and rude shouting.

They play songs by The Bonzos, Jake Thackeray, Syd Barrett, George Formby, They Might Be Giants, Ian Dury, Mel Brooks, The Mighty Sparrow and many of their own brand spanking new compositions.

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Tickets are �22.50.

The highly-acclaimed Vienna Festival Ballet Company dance Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic The Nutcracker at The Arena at 2,30pm next Saturday, December 1.

One of the best-loved ballets, it centres on Clara and her Nutcracker doll, which magically transforms into a princely soldier. Their adventures see Clara and the Nutcracker doll combat the Mouse King and join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on a journey through a shimmering winter land scene to a kingdom made entirely of sweets.

The company is returning by popular demand following several successful performances including Swan Lake earlier this year,

Tickets are �22.50, �17.50 concessions and �14 for under 16s

British comedy singing group and satirical cabaret act Fascinating Aida continue their sell-out tour, Cheap Flights, at The Arena from 7.30pm next Sunday, December 2.

Nominated for three Olivier Awards and now global internet sensations, the show will include several numbers hot off the press, plus a few old favourites including their infamous anthem to budget travel, Cheap Flights (8 million plus hits on YouTube) as well as the Dogging Song, a fond homage to the joys of al fresco sex.

Fascinating A�da was founded in 1983 by Dillie Keane along with Marilyn Cutts and Lizzie Richardson. The members have varied frequently, but the lasting two have been Dillie and Adele Anderson, who joined the group in 1984.

The group have written songs for radio and television programmes such as Stop The Week, After Hours, People Like Us and TV-am. Some of their most famous songs include Shattered Illusions, Herpes Tango, Lieder and Taboo.

Tickets are �19.50.

n Waiting for Katherine will be joined by newcomers Jegisus, Said The Maiden and Chameleon Boy for MusicCity Unsigned 2 (MCU2) at the Arena next March.

Over 700 people voted on Lemonrock for their favourite local unsigned bands to open MusicCity fortnight.

Local music venue The Horn will be supplying the tunes between sets on the night and will also host the after-show party.

Tickets are �5 or �7.50 which includes the after-show party.