Coming of age..
It’s become a total musical cliche to talk about ‘that difficult second album’ – when would-be songwriters are faced with something other than drawing upon all their life experiences to date to pour into a debut album. With Ferocious Dog, given the slow-burn development from covers to own material to recording, then this task might seem even more gargantuan. Whilst the recordings are still the preserve of the select few until mixed, pressed and released – the first showing of the new stuff at Bodega last night bodes very well indeed!
Spending most of the gig in the eye of the mosh pit storm it’s nigh on impossible to appreciate the subtleties that undoubtedly exist in the new material. Fecking fast and energetic would be the easiest nutshell summary. It was frenetic, crafted and loud – my ears are still ringing! It makes the arrival of the forthcoming album all the more eagerly anticipated to me to get a chance to get a bit more up close and personal with the new songs.
Yesterday was a lovely day – which is why I chose to call this post ‘coming of age’ – it made me reflect on the transition I’ve seen. When I first saw Ferocious Dog perform not really all that long ago in the grand scheme of things they probably played a 50:50 mix of their own songs and cover versions, and whilst I was smitten from the off it’s been amazing to witness the change in their confidence and performance levels. They’ve always had the talent and over the years they’ve added the swagger and the showmanship to their gigs too.
Nottingham was full of Ferocious Dog t-shirts and hoodies – as pockets of fans meandered around various places in the city depending on their own plans they eventually converged at the Pit and Pendulum opposite the Bodega along with a few members of the band too. I’m not sure that the bar was prepared for the invasion as serving times were somewhat lengthy – but a great place to be to build anticipation up a few more levels for a bunch of Hell Hounds who’ve been on a winter sabbatical since Dogfest back in December aside from an acoustic session in Mansfield!
It was great to catch up with so many familiar faces and meet a few new ones (or semi-familiar faces from Facebook that I might not have known in person before the day) – not least folk like Linda and Lou who were an integral part of the group of people who first introduced me to Ferocious Dog in the first place. Talk about the circle of life, eh?
One of the other fantastic things about the collective group is that the venue was pretty much full for the start of the support act. Gaz Brookfield needs no introduction to most followers of Ferocious Dog I imagine – but rather than a half empty hall full of people chatting this was full of fans singing along to Gaz’s infectiously passionate songs – how one man and a guitar can be such an energetic and engaging performer never ceases to amaze me – to have him on the bill as support was a huge bonus to what was already going to be a special night.
Then on to the main event – moody introductory music boomed as the lights were dimmed and people started to jostle for position in the middle of the dance floor – and the band kicked off, initially with a raft of new songs, which – as noted above, it’s going to take a few more listens to understand the intricacies (and words!) but the sound and energy is great – to see the full new line up in action for the first time was great, having seen most of them in the crowd to watch Gaz before they started.
A triumphant performance – the new songs sound like the album is going to be a cracker, the old favourites were there – the mosh pit was mental. It was a return to surfboard duties for me – who else other than Dean could be the surfer at an event like this? I was grateful as it was one of the more raucous attempts and the feat in a pit that perhaps wasn’t as forgiving of human pyramid making! The bouncers certainly hadn’t got the memo about crowd participation levels and frequently waded in unnecessarily but ultimately no harm was done as usual.
I can’t wait ’til next weeks trips to Nuneaton and Barnsley – perhaps for one of them I might take a step back to try to take in the new material a little more, but well, I probably won’t! The only downside to a fantastic day was it ending in Accident & Emergency with Shauni who has a nasty sprain to her ankle, but thankfully no broken bones – and the team at the Queens Medical Centre were mercifully very quick to get her x-rayed and sorted – heading there at pub kicking out time on Saturday night had me fearing we’d be there ’til the early hours but we were in and out within an hour.
Back to the post title – like with any example of something coming of age it’s a bittersweet contemplation. Part of me misses the days when I was ‘on to’ something special that other people didn’t know about – with Ferocious Dog that is now a thing of the past, and whilst that selfish sliver of nostalgia exists it’s drowned out completely by how proud I feel of them to really tangibly start to garner the kind of success and following that their hard work and talent merits. Onwards and upwards!