The real derby day this weekend was in.. well.. Derby!
Folk might’ve been getting excited about the Manchester derby this weekend, but for Hell Hounds derby day was the day before (although Dan at least I imagine enjoyed United’s 4-2 triumph over City this afternoon – nice belated birthday present!).
Derby is not far off a home town gig, really – and it shows, whilst Bodega sold out in around twenty minutes tickets for the gig at The Hairy Dog in Derby were gone in a little under an hour too I believe. Plenty of Hell Hounds made arrangements to congregate in places prior to coming together at the venue, for me I was continuing my weekend of being an itinerant hobo and staying with Lisa and Paul (along with Rachel) so I travelled into Derby with them, but not before meeting their newly acquired ferret!
It was straight to the venue via the chippy on the corner for us with Mel, and then once at the Hairy Dog, a rock bar with the venue upstairs, catching up with the countless friends out in force for the gig. Dave, a friend of Lisa and Ferocious Dog virgin, met us outside the bar, after sinking a few beers Dean elected it was my turn to go up on the surfboard – more on that later, a fairly unconventional and ungraceful performance on that front.
The support act were Blunderbuster – hailing from Staffordshire University – and to my shame unusually I managed to miss the whole set, being distracted by talking to so many people downstairs. So I’m very sorry for my ignorance, folks – the reports I’ve read this morning and heard last night suggest that it was a rip-roaringly good opener for the gig though. I won’t go so far as to say I regret it because I was having a lovely time catching up with friends – but I will be keeping an eye out for another opportunity to see them!
Upstairs at the Hairy Dog has another bar and a decent sized mosh pit area and a deceptively small stage – and not many areas for Waggy to get good vantage spots for photos – it’ll be interesting to see how they turn out when they surface! As well as the now familiar routine of lights-out intro music, and the new songs blasting the set into a frenetic start – with the added bonus of a few birthday references for fiddler Dan. There were big smiles on faces on the stage perhaps enhanced due to the concentration of familiar faces in one place.
For me there was a revolutionary moment too – after considerable goading from Dave I finally spent my first Ferocious Dog gig shirtless. Hardly an unusual sight at a gig but for somebody who generally has odd issues about exposing too much of my body in public it would’ve perhaps been more of a big deal without the considerable amount of beer I’d had. As I’d forgotten a spare t-shirt yet again though it was probably a good idea and saved me buying yet another ladies t-shirt from the bargain pile on the merch stall.
The ceiling looked high enough for a reasonable surfing attempt so at the right time Dean was hoisted and I procured a leg up to clamber aboard but it was low – so it was tricky to get my weight over my knees, coupled with some well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful hands shoving my legs forward and a slippy body/non-grippy shoes I found my feet sliding off Dean so ended up spending part of the performance sitting on the poor fella!
Definitely more practice needed on the surfing front, although readers will be glad to know that Dean has called dibs on doing Farmer Phils! I saw a video surface on Facebook earlier but don’t seem to be able to find it now mercifully. Lisa took one too which I’ve only seen through bleary eyes this morning.
Before the gig I’d been joking with Paul that it’d be ace at the end of the surf rather than to clamber forwards just to fall backwards off the board and be caught – of course with a low ceiling that’s less spectacular but nonetheless as Paul tapped me on the back near the part where the song really kicks in he assured me he’d catch me so much to the confusion of the people in front I went for a probably very graceless backward roll off Dean and was indeed caught to join the mosh. Something to consider for future adaptations!
It was a hot gig with a big old moshpit and very tiring – occasional attempts to hang back and catch breath were thwarted usually by Paul or Dave hurling me back in, the difficulty in grabbing pics for Waggy must’ve been true as at one point I had the pleasure of having a mini-mosh with him. Being without a t-shirt gathering sweat from without as well as within definitely has its benefits, although I’m sure I have more bruises and – interestingly – scratches as a result.
A birthday cake and singalong of Happy Birthday for Dan provided a nice interlude before the band kicked in again to play through the set list without a break for an encore – I didn’t notice a John/Les dance-off this time during Unconditional however John and Ellis have certainly been working on some routines to make best use of their shared area of stage which looked pretty choreographed. A few drinks were consumed and a lot of mashing but the set seemed to through in a blur – I wonder if a song or two might’ve been sacrificed to meet the curfew.
If it was I’m quite thankful – two nights of dogging on the bounce takes it out of you and another song or two might’ve finished me off! As the top room started to clear it was a chance to take stock, gather clothing from assorted places, grabbing a set list which Dave claimed and eventually got signed by the band, and catching up with everyone as we headed back downstairs for more drinks. Dave was a huge fan of Carter USM and was starstruck to meet Les before the gig which was a sweet moment – so he now has a proudly signed CD too and probably been bitten by the Ferocious Dog bug too.
A cheeky kebab and eventually we were in a taxi back to Nottingham. Mel dropped off en route, Paul bailed to bed early leaving me, Lisa and Rachel to talk nonsense for a few hours and a few more drinks later before retiring. This morning was all about recovery, playing with dogs, ferrets and a far-too-energetic little girl before tucking into an awesome roast dinner that Lisa prepared for us. I only met Lisa and Paul less than a year ago thanks to Ferocious Dog – much like Brian and Karen on Friday night, how lucky do I feel to have had such awesome folk thrust in to my life? And not just because they’ve been kindly offering me places to crash after gigs!
Next up for the band is a mini-tour of the South West. I’m largely resigned to missing these dates as the distance might just be too much – but increasingly finding myself tempted to wangle Thursday and Friday off work and go to all three. I reckon I could cope with one night kipping in the car, arranging a hotel in Plymouth and maybe driving back straight after the gig in Exeter. Or is that just patently ridiculous? We shall see, for now I shall bask in the afterglow of another awesome weekend and prepare for the working week to start again!