Brighton-ing up the south coast..
A straightforward drive to Brighton was the order of the day, made more amusing by overtaking the Dog Bus near Leicester Forest East and meeting up with Sarah, Dean, Karen, Adele and Ken at Toddington Services and shortly after the contents of the bus – amazingly on their first cigarette stop pretty much half way on their journey.
The onward trip to Brighton was grand and the earlier rain was giving way to lovely sunshine as a first glimpse of the sea was on offer as I headed towards Hove where I was staying. I don’t know whether it’s true of all folk raised firmly inland but in my experience people from Nottingham get a bit giddy at the sight of the sea, and I’m no different. Digs located the not inconsiderable task of finding somewhere to leave the car overnight was the next mission – eventually a very dodgy looking multi-storey carpark up the road did the job for a not ridiculous fee.
Settled in to the cheap (for the area) and cheerful Smart Seaview I got myself changed and sorted, then it was a mile and a half straight down the seafront for me to get into Brighton – so a bracing walk down and I found Dave and Nadine tucking into Burritos before we headed off to find a suitable drinking establishment. The Black Lion duly provided, close to the venue and a nice old gothic looking place with a decent beer garden (with heaters!) out back for us to settle – shortly after we directed assorted other folk there for a bit of pre-gig socialising.
It was great to have the chance to just to have a sit and a natter with folk in relaxed surroundings whilst sinking a few beers.
Having decided I wasn’t hungry earlier when a group headed off for food the prospect was too tempting so it was off to the hotel that ‘Ken’s car party’ were staying in to get some snap in before the gig. I did think I should’ve had something light, then gave in to normality and ordered a burger and chips – I’d later regret this (although it was delicious). It took a while to arrive which meant we missed the support acts annoyingly, I’m told from their soundcheck they sounded great. Oh well!
We did get the chance to admire the purple velour-covered surrounds the flatscreen TVs in the bar had though, always a nice feature. Ken, Scott and Brad needed to head off to get themselves sorted before the gig and once Adele and Karen were changed we headed over too to The Haunt. It’s an ideal set up for a Ferocious Dog gig really, and until it was time to clear us out so that they could get their terrible sounding eighties night set up the security guys were pretty much non-existent!
The elusive Mr Carter wasn’t available for this gig so a stand-in guitarist (who I met, shook hands with and promptly forgot his name at Toddington Services – sorry, fella!) was there doing a sterling job as the band launched into the familiar start of Gallows Justice following the moody entrance music. It was sounding good, and there was a decent crowd in who were all enjoying it too. Whilst the mosh pit started out with the usual suspects, though a mixture of willing and co-erced participation we got a few more people in there over the course of the evening.
A good old stomp along to Ferocious Dog on a very full stomach is a tricky prospect though, and whilst I powered through I couldn’t help but think I’d have been better off waiting ’til after the gig for something to eat. It was probably confirmed once Freeborn John kicked in, we had enough folk willing to hoist me up for Dean to surf but well, being a surfboard with a tummy full of burger and chips is a little less comfortable than normal – it was okay though and it went off without incident – Dean just having enough clearance to not end up head-planting into the massive glitter ball above the dance floor!
The rest of the performance went by in a blur – the stand in guitarist did a great job, only noticeably needing guidance for Slow Motion Suicide and soon getting that nailed With an early curfew at the venue it was a real whistle-stop set, so not much chat from Ken and not much rest between songs for us. Needless to say by the end I was a tired sweaty happy mess. It was great to put some more faces to Facebook friends, after cooling off and chatting a bit the bouncers eventually insisted us on our way outside again.
Leanne had very kindly minded my hoodie and non-essential pocket-contents on the merch stand so I grabbed those and once outside we opted for a few more cheeky drinks in Brighton before I staggered back up the coastal path toward Hove to find home. One thing that did strike me as I was walking up the seafront was just how many homeless folk were huddling in doorways – I had planned to get a taxi back to the hotel but instead reinvested the taxi fare in hopefully giving them some small comfort.
After a good night’s sleep I blasted straight up the motorways to get home in time for a family lunch, which even now I can smell filtering through the house – making such good time I’ve even had time to get this blog post rattled off before my bro, sis-in-law and nephew arrive. So there’s a bonus! Less than a week until we’re all heading off to the Half Moon in Putney. Andy is making a long overdue trip with this one and has been good enough to arrange both accommodation and transport so no logistics for me to plan this week which is always appreciated!
Hopefully Waggy makes it to Putney – it’s never quite as good when he’s not at a gig!