I’ve already waxed lyrical about both the appropriateness and auspiciousness of the Half Moon in Putney as a venue for a Ferocious Dog gig, so I won’t labour the point again – but the evening was certainly not a let down by any stretch of the imagination. Lucky for me Andy handled logistics of this trip – so I just needed to wait to be picked up safe in the knowledge the driving, tickets and hotel were all already in hand, so big thanks to him for that!
The drive down was straightforward, we were staying in the Premier Inn in Wandsworth, which meant we got to drive past the venue beforehand – and had a chance to bellow at the ever unflappable Ellis who was having a smoke outside, and completely unmoved at being yelled at by a passing car. A slight lane-choosing malfunction meant we briefly ended up on the north of the Thames again but eventually we found the NCP carpark we were aiming for and wandered to the hotel. A stop, freshen up and change and we were ready to go.
Our first meeting point was The Rocket, a Wetherspoons pub not far from the venue – a good number of Hell Hounds were already in attendance and had been for some time, for us there was time for a few pints and a cheeky short before moving onward to make sure we didn’t miss the support act. We even managed to get a lovely local to take a picture without running off with Geoff’s camera! Arriving in plenty of time we found more friends and of course the band hanging around at the back of the venue. The atmosphere was great.
The Half Moon is a cracking venue – an old fashioned cinema style sign announced the night’s entertainment in the back room – which was spacious enough for a good ol’ mosh with room for folk to get out the way, but also still feel suitably intimate. There was a decent crowd already in to get warmed up by Greenman Rising who were doing a cracking job with their energetic brand of traditional folk. Part of my eagerness to see them was because my mate Simon plays bass for them – but he was sadly absent this evening!
Certainly they did the job of getting our feet tapping as the room started to fill up with faces both familiar and otherwise. I’d convinced my friend John to come to his first Ferocious Dog gig, it didn’t take much persuasion to be fair and I think it’s reasonable to say that he thoroughly enjoyed himself – so the announcement this week that the band will be playing the Field of Avalon at Glastonbury this year will be good for him, a seasoned Glastonbury goer.
Andy too lured a few of his London-based mates to the gig – and with plenty of awesome Hell Hounds filing into the room it was set to be a great night. Another night of Waggylessness as he’s on his hols, but fortunately Ella was on hand to take over camera duties. She’s let a few photos out the bag over the course of the weekend, but we’re yet to see the full set as I type. Hurry up, Snotface! Brad took a break from his tech duties to man the merch as Leanne hadn’t travelled down – but was still happy to child-mind my e-cig and hoody as the band were preparing to get on.
Once they kicked in it was straight into the moshing. There were security at the venue but they didn’t get involved – it was a nice balance of crowd and a relatively sedate crowd on the whole. A couple of local lads were a little over-excited on occasion but were quelled eventually – having said that the floor was slippy – amazingly I didn’t end up on my arse at all, though. The band were sounding tight and the sound in the venue was great – I’d definitely be up for a return visit.
For Freeborn John it was decreed it was my turn to go up – I think I might’ve placed a foot inconsiderately at first so sorry, Dean! There was a handy lighting rig to use to steady myself before starting – the ceiling wasn’t the highest but it was high enough and went off without too much of a hitch I think – certainly I think this is my drunkest surf yet so I’m glad it wasn’t a massive expanse of space above me. As throughout the night there were no over-zealous security wading in – which is always much appreciated.
As seems to be becoming customary the remainder of the gig flew by in a whirling dervish of dancing and singing along. I seemed to be having a clumsy night – I definitely accidentally clobbered Andy and Dave in the mosh pit, and I’m sure I might’ve inadvertently head butted someone too. Oops. I do apologise for any injuries I might’ve done – certainly by the end of the evening I was feeling a little bruised! For Freethinker we ended up with a massive circle too, which is always fun!
By the end as usual you’re left with regret at it finishing, but relief because you’re already pretty much dead on your legs. A couple of drinks to cool down and we were back in the pub chatting with band, Hell Hounds and locals alike. It was a friendly place – perhaps too friendly in one instance when I’m not sure I wasn’t being propositioned by a husband and wife for a spot of swinging… scary. I retreated to the smoking area out the front to hide from them and say goodbyes to folk as they started to make their way home.
Pretty much all of the folk we knew had made their way home or elsewhere, and eventually Andy and I headed off too to stagger back to our hotel via a some dodgy late night chicken emporium. Initial thoughts of getting a Boris bike to make the journey quelled by a combination of common sense and not being able to work out how to extricate them from their stands – so we miraculously remembered the way back and got back without incident, and even remembered the number of our room!
A top evening and great way to see them play for my first time in the capital. Sad in some ways too for me on a selfish level as this is the juncture at which I start to see a few gaps in the tour where I won’t be able to go – the next two dates north of the border are a step too far for me in terms of time off work and distance, but it’s not long to wait ’til Something To Smile About at the start of June – originally I was going to drive to/from that but have sorted somewhere to stay now which is good!
I’ll miss the date in Brixton too and a few of the festivals – not least Glastonbury – but well, it was never going to be feasible to go to all of the dates they play was it? The bonus for this friday gig was Andy and I drove straight back to a barbecue at Lisa and Paul’s so were back on the booze and food with more Ferocious Dog rooted family for a fun evening. I’ve only just got home having spent the day eating meat, talking nonsense and walking ferrets amongst other things…
It’s been a splendid weekend, back to the grind tomorrow and spending a week convincing myself not to drive up to Aberdeen… it is a long weekend, after all, isn’t it? I don’t have any particular plans for Saturday either. Jesus.
No, I’m not going. I’m not.