Triumphant return to an old Haunt..

IMG_1781In Southampton I was lucky enough to wake up in time for breakfast this time, and once everyone had convened and Wez had fetched Cerebus round for the next leg of the journey it was rather a more sombre trip along the coast to Brighton as the full extent of the awful events in Paris became apparent.  There was a degree of mood lightening with the scattered remnants of the previous night’s entertainment that John and Scott, both surprisingly chipper considering, could actually remember.

The hotel we were staying in was actually in Newhaven, some miles outside of Brighton, we opted to head there first to get checked in – Waggy’s sat nav amusingly taking us to a Premier convenience store nearby instead – but soon enough we did find our destination.  I ended up in with Ken for this night as Les was travelling home after the gig since Margate is just down the road for him relatively speaking – we got our bags dumped, freshened up and it was back on the bus to get to the venue.

Of course we were all at The Haunt earlier in the year – it’s an ace little place, sound checking seemed to go pretty well.  Ken had casually announced Jeremy from the Levellers was coming later, and Nick Burbridge too – hopefully getting up to perform with the band.  Nick is one of my all time favourite songwriters – so this was unfeasibly exciting for me even more so than normal!  Waggy and I also cased out the balcony – not open that evening for the public – as a good potential photography spot – the video below shows the soundcheck from up there.

John, Scott, Brad, Ellis, Les and I headed off into Brighton for a drink – opting for nearby The Mesmerist where a couple of Les’ friends were already.  John and I distracted Les in order to pinch his phone, then felt bad for the look of panic on his face when he couldn’t find it so gave it back.  You can’t be mean to Les.  Brad and Ellis had bought gigantic sandwiches neither of them could finish, and it was soon time for us to consider wandering back – Ellis and I did that, the others popped for another quick drink on the way.

IMG_1786Gaz Brookfield was getting set to get underway but must admit that I was a bit more excited to be stood right next to none other than Jeremy and Nick.  I wasn’t sure if they’d really come or not – in typical scared fashion I didn’t engage them in conversation, opting instead to talk to the assorted friends nearby and carry on drinking and then get suitably distracted by Gaz’s act which was now underway, kicking off as is customary with Land Pirates Life and Diabetes Blues and the reprise.

With a responsive crowd he donned his harmonica for Under The Table then into Godless Man then Ode to Ozzy in what would end up the same set list as Southampton – which makes sense, it’s a strong set!  The Ballad of Elizabeth Duke drew a favourably hostile response to Grant Shapps before the final straight of TownsBigger ManLet the East Winds Blow and Thin brought it to a raucous end – it felt like the whole room were singing along.  Jeremy certainly was!

Having worked through a few ciders I plucked up the courage to go and have a chat with Nick Burbridge who was charming and looked quite surprised to have someone come and gush about his work.  If you’re not familiar with him then he wrote Dirty Davey made more famous by the Levellers, but get yourself a copy of The Enemy Within by McDermott’s 2 Hours and the album Gathered by Nick Burbridge and Tim Cotterell.  They are fantastic.  It was a genuine thrill to meet him – I didn’t quite muster up the nerve for a selfie though!

IMG_1788In no time the Ferocious Dog intro music was booming round the venue and they took to the stage to a very excitable crowd, launching into Gallows Justice and Poor Angry and Young.  Les was having some problems with his amp as Ken introduced Nick to the crowd ready for their duet for Living on Thin Air, mercifully managing to get it working in time for the song.  He took the time out to dedicate the song, and indeed the set, to our brothers and sisters impacted by the terrible events in Paris.  I took a break to video such a special moment.

I found this really moving, and then it was on to the moving section of the set comprising Verse for Lee, The Glass and Lee’s Tune before Unconditional and Too Late led us to Freeborn John.  It had been decreed by Dean earlier that I was going up for this one, I co-opted Paul to give me a leg up – not realising ’til later he had a dodgy back, sorry Paul! – only to succumb to a moment of imbalance and tumbled straight off backwards.  Mercifully – for them rather than me I guess – there weren’t people behind me, I put the pain aside and clambered back up.

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It was steady for the rest of the song so it wasn’t too bad – I think this might be the most vertical I’ve managed to get when up on the board, ironic really considering the disastrous start!  The set up of the board wasn’t too near the giant glitter ball thankfully!  I’ve nicked a photo from Pete – you should check out the rest of his pictures from the gig too, Waggy let him get up on the balcony so between there and forays downstairs he’s got some absolute crackers of the whole evening.

IMG_1794Normality resumed once the fast bit kicked in taking us through a run of Marikana Massacre, On The Rocks, Slow Motion Suicide, Criminal Justice and Quiet Paddy – at some point during this blurred memory of moshing I’d popped up to the balcony where Waggy and I had found a box of Hallowe’en props earlier in the evening, so as Hell Hounds kicked in I donned a devil’s head mask and re-entered the fray.  Moshing without being able to see properly is a surprisingly comforting experience, I have to say!  To my shame I can’t remember who I pinched this photo from on Facebook.  Thank you mystery photographer!

IMG_1793Freethinker and Mairi’s Wedding Part Two drew the set to a close – with a strict 10pm curfew to enable the venue to transform into an 80’s night there wasn’t time for an encore, but a chance for me to catch up with Paul and Julie who’d travelled over from Jersey for the gig.  Julie has been in trouble with local festival organisers for incessantly asking them to book Ferocious Dog – but more importantly, they’d brought us a selection of Jersey cheese to continue our quest to get gout before the end of the tour.  More on that in tomorrow’s blog though!

This was meant to be my ‘going out properly’ night with John, Scott and Ellis – a combination of the hotel being miles away and feeling a bit delicate from my six foot plus tumble saw me take the easy option instead and head back to the hotel on the bus.  Sorry John.  I’d never be a substitute for a night out with Wez anyway!  Instead Ken and I sat watching the UNICEF charity match David Beckham had organised finish off, then Jools Holland – which included an appearance from The Slaves, who supported Ferocious Dog back in Derby a couple of  years back.

That led to speculation on what songs would be good for Ferocious Dog to play if they were invited on to the show – I think we plumped for Mairi’s Wedding Part Three, Slow Motion Suicide and maybe Lyla.  Jools Holland does irritate me a bit, but it’d be awesome to see the boys on there – I’m not sure how one goes about making that happen but I might have to do some investigating!  The night ended with a Jason Statham film – I never knew he was from Shirebrook, thanks for that nugget of information, Ken!

I do like Ferocious Dog gigs in Brighton – what a fabulous evening.  I hope Jeremy and Nick liked what they saw!

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