David Rybka & The Victorian Dad Band
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David Rybka & The Victorian Dad Band

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"BBC Review"

David Rybka & The Victorian Dad Band at Big Hands

I am sitting at the back of the stage next to drummer, Matt Nicolas. Dave Rybka, vocalist and songwriter, introduces himself then performs two of his gentler songs, 'Oh My' and 'Cross the River'.

Musical dissonance soon ensues; ferocity, passion, spirituality and honesty create it. I am spinning in a whirlwind, gripped tightly by their frank seriousness, their truth, by their generosity and collective mantras.

Individual melody and rhythm brings me back, 'Death In Every Headlight' forces me to listen hard.

Dave is scanning the audience, who are casually chatting; they do not clap to this song. He throws out a tambourine, collects it and brings it back.

I am perplexed by the audience apathy; the six-piece band is too and inter-group confusion rises up in defiance for the forthcoming single, 'No Fashion'.

This roars and paces like a caged lion. The audience look at each other nervously; they cheer and whistle apologetically as if to release the tension.

Bass, drums, saxophone, two guitars, a ukulele and a mandolin ensure that the sound is rich in colour and texture. The rhythms are complex, catchy and imaginative; the songs are authentic, lyrical and cleverly arranged. The delivery is gutsy and theatrical.

The stage area however is too small but this, I feel, adds to the intensity of it all. The show ends three epic songs later. Too soon, I think… the audience are now enthralled. "Come back tomorrow," Dave announces, "you will hear us with electric instruments!" I, for one, couldn’t wait. - James Sutherland


Debut album set for release through Skinny Dog Records as well as an acoustic album release through RIP Records.

Selected tracks are available on the band's MySpace site.

Previous airplay has included:
Alternative Therapy radio show with Mike Joyce (Smith's drummer),
BBC 6 Radio
BBC Manchester
All fm Manchester



We must forgive the Manchester music circuit for believing that The Victorian Dad Band sprang onto their scene fully-formed as though birthed by some great groaning muse. It has been a long time coming and David Rybka, the leader of “Wigan’s Super Group”, is no stranger to hard work. He has perfected his compositional style and live act over the course of thousands of performances (beginning when he was just fifteen years old) and this experience is obvious – so much so that within a year of his arrival in Manchester he was offered not one but two publishing deals: a release on R.I.P. Records (Re-Interpreted Performance Records) and a full electric album (entitled “The Thin Thread”) on Elbow’s label “Skinny Dog”.

Together with his band (consisting of core members Jimmy Wilson, Tom Doherty, Matt McNicolas, Tom Yates and Fran Lydiatt) he has carved out a keen UK following and something of a private mythology; the band moved into Withington’s last surviving 18th Century farm house and soon transformed it into a hermitage for musicians of all disciplines to collaborate in (until they were suddenly evicted and the place began to crumble – but they now tour too much to make use of such a base anyway).

David and the VDB have recently enjoyed enthusiastic support from BBC 6 Music, patronage from The Smiths’ Mike Joyce and praise from local artists I Am Kloot and (of course) Elbow. They are also part of Manchester’s Debt Set (affiliated with co-operative label Debt Records run by occasional collaborator Louis Barabbas) and are engaged in a host of creative and promotional projects with their contemporaries in the Manchester arts scene.


David Rybka & The Victorian Dad Band are being showcased as part of London’s British Music Week in October. The electric and acoustic records will be available soon after, accompanied by a video for single No Fashion. A further album is in pre-production.