Warsop Carnival fun..

IMG_0477Warsop is a place I’ve become more familiar with than I was (which was not at all) before Ferocious Dog entered my life.  It’s a really nice north Nottinghamshire village – that would’ve been developed to support the colliery sunk there and obviously subsequently closed.  The carnival there is one of many years standing and held on the first or second sunday of July, on The Carrs, nestled between Market and Church Warsop.  It’s a cracking community day out in its own right – although of course there was the obvious lure for me of a certain band closing it off in their three piece acoustic guise.

Upon parking up in the middle of Warsop I wandered over just ahead of the procession to find the field set up with an assortment of stalls, a funfair and a central arena, with the music stage in the far corner of the field.  With events like jousting and falconry on offer as well as music there was plenty to entertain.  I bumped into Ken who was talking with a chap from Warsop Remembers, an organisation that he’d painted a picture for that might potentially end up as a raffle prize to raise money for the cause – so look out for that for a bit of unique Ferocious Dog related memorabilia.

IMG_0468However, it was the music that was my main motivation for going – so I soon found myself settled in front of the stage where Ellie Keegan was up first.  I’ve seen Ellie play a few times now and she’s a cracking performer – although not to my knowledge with the addition of a loop pedal (remember spare batteries next time!).  She played a mixture of covers and a couple of original ones – with things ranging from Crazy by Gnarls Barclay, a mash-up of Come Together by the Beatles and Lose Yourself by Eminem (I think – that’s not my genre!) with plenty of use of the loop pedal on both guitar and vocal layers.

Ain’t Nobody of Chaka Khan fame featured too, followed by performances of her own songs Don’t Wait, which was one she recently performed at Rock City in a competition, and Watch the Poppies Grow – a single she released to raise money for the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund, so go download that from your provider of choice for that reason alone – and allow the loveliness of the song to be a bonus, or vice versa!  She finished up with a bit of local solidarity by covering one of Sam Jones’ songs (I never know the name of Sam’s songs!).  It was a lovely set.

IMG_0471Brad Dear was up next in a full band incarnation.  Every time I hear Brad play I spot more and more nods and references to Levellers lyrics in his songs, one day I’ll make a note of them all – see how many you spot when he plays next!  So, with a black telecaster to start with rather than the customary acoustic we normally see, and Chris nestled behind a drum kit rather than on his box, and Andy the new bass player was there with his five stringed bass – it was sounding good, and will only get better as they get the chance to rehearse more!

Three songs in (Walls) and Brad had switched to his acoustic – which seemed reluctant to stay in tune (new string syndrome, we later discovered) – Festival Bar Blues and Billy Brown were up next before the telecaster was back for a lively rendition of Circles and Roundabouts and They Say with a finish up of my favourite of his songs, Special Brew which has achieved a solid chart position on Reverbnation – so check that out too to listen to some of Brad’s music.

After this set the weather intervened a bit – being typically unprepared I’d not brought so much as a hoodie with me so sheltered under the trees a while.  The stage wasn’t very well geared up for inclement weather so the speakers were brought undercover and there was a lull in the music – but a great chance to natter with the assorted friends and fellow hell hounds who’d mustered for the occasion.  There were a couple more acts on before Ferocious Dog, but I must admit I let socialising get in the way of seeing them – my apologies!

Before the band were on Karen and Mary took to the stage to present a cheque for £10,000 to Combat Stress in memory of Lee Bonsall and Ashley Clarkson.  If you don’t already know their story, then you should – it fuels so much of what the band are about.  I’m sure most readers of this blog are probably direct contributors to Lee’s fund which is where this cash came from.  A speaker from Combat Stress then took the mic to highlight the need for the charity, and – amazingly new for me – that it’s been running for 95+ years to support ex-military personnel in the transition to civilian life.  Inspiring.

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While Ken, Dan and Ellis were setting up there was an opportunity for some silliness where Dean and Ian attempted the ‘one of us crouch down behind you and the other push you over’ trick on Wez.  It didn’t quite work as planned with Wez staying on his feet pretty much but Dean showered with beer.  I guess there’s some karma in there somewhere!  Scott had wandered down to the day too but assured us there was no way he was getting involved in any moshing.

IMG_0475Before they started off Ken gave a big shout out to a play called ‘The Invention of Baked Beans‘ at the Palace Theatre in Mansfield, which will be collecting tinned food to donate to the homeless.  So that’s something for the diary between 9th and 14th September (a very quiet spell in the Ferocious Dog calendar too, I notice!).  Ken then opened this up to future Ferocious Dog gigs, so when you’re planning your next trip dogging try to remember to bring some tinned food to donate.

They kicked off with Gallows Justice as has become customary – we all hung back a little with the ladies taking the moshpit area initially.  After Verse for Lee / The Glass and Lee’s Tune our resistance broke and we headed to the front.  For Freeborn John we didn’t have enough to construct a surfboard really, with Wez being uncharacteristically well-behaved, so Dean kindly (and foolishly – I’m heavy!) elected to put me up on his shoulders for a pseudo-surf which was fun.  With Ken slipping on lyrics we were able to get him on track again!

During Lyla the sound cut out during the instrumental which was a shame – of course we tried to caterwaul the fiddle part but well, it probably didn’t sound great from without the pit!  (Huh, From Without!).  It came back in and cut again – giving us the chance to bellow the words instead which was probably better.  I must admit, I’ve heard people poke fun at Ken for getting croaky on occasions (not least Glastonbury), but I must’ve sang more or with more gusto today as my voice is shot – it can’t be easy on the old voicebox doing a whole gig, let along as many as Ken gets through.  More sympathy from me ongoing, methinks.

As a fairly mild moshpit developed some security people appeared at the front, but they were lovely and soon amenable enough to us dragging them in to join in for a while during Criminal Justice, later occasionally jumping in under their own volition (although then not being allowed to leave, haha!).  There were some unfamiliar to me faces in there too, always good – although how anyone from Warsop can’t appreciate what is on their doorstep is beyond me!

The normal circle for Freethinker was made – including the security – for a sway-along.  Ken was reminiscing about Glastonbury earlier in the day where he asked the crowd at the Field of Avalon to sway to it and was blown away to see everyone in the tent – and those gathering outside to see as it was full – join in to a man and woman.  As the gig ‘wound down’ with Mairi’s Wedding Part II I was left regretting the decision that we’d seemed to universally make to remain t-shirted as I was clearly a bit on a sweaty side.

No matter – the walk back to the car in Warsop soon saw me dried off and on the road – via, of course, the customary scores of goodbyes to make.  A lovely day, Warsop clearly has a vibrant community scene kept alive by the volunteers that run events like the carnival, as well as an awesome venue like the Black Market it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve pondered that it’d be a great place to live.  A top day out, and not home too late either considering I’ve got work in the morning!

Definitely makes up for not making it down to Bridgwater’s Big Bash which sounds like it was a brilliant event too which of course featured a full band gig.  I teetered on the brink of going as the arrangements I’d made this weekend were all concluded by Friday night, but well, sometimes – very rarely – I do err on the side of being sensible and not committing to a 7-8 hour round trip!  A part of me does kinda regret it though, I must admit!  It’s less than a week until Wistful now though, which whilst not featuring FD, is shaping up to be a fantastic weekend.

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