Lock, stock and three smokin’ artists..

IMG_1738It was only back on Thursday I was preparing to head off to London town – it feels like a month ago!  The day started with a phone call from Wez who had ended up in the wrong town due to a satnav mishap, soon enough that was remedied and we were hotfooting it up the M1 to Warsop to convene with Cerebus and the rest of its happy band of travellers.  Soon into the journey Scott was sharing his beauty regime secrets meanwhile Ken was absorbed in a book entitled Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones.

To pass the time John, Scott, Brad and I had a few rounds of rummy – I didn’t have masses of change and was running up a substantial gambling debt (okay, it was four quid..) to John before mercifully I won a game and enough cash to clear my increasing arrears.  A trip to the service station saw Brad’s hat end up on the roof of the van, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in Camden – and doing a few laps of it to find the spot we needed to unload into Dingwalls. Mercifully it was clear so parking up wasn’t a problem ready to get the gear off the back of the van.

Of course, avoiding the glaze-eyed sauntering dawdlers wandering like a zombie procession down the pavement between the van and the venue was more of a challenge – but we’d soon got the assorted cases and boxes and instruments into Dingwalls enabling Wez to find somewhere to leave the bus until later.


Freeborn Al / 16th November 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Transatlantic Doozer goodness..

a0132217080_2Doozer McDooze fascinates me in general – he and Birdy (The Famous Artist Birdy Rose) eschew much of the trappings we succumb to in life, living like modern-day troubadours in a van working and travelling hard to fill the world with music and art.  They’re lovely folk too – Doozer even wrote a song for me dedicated to my as then unborn nephew, Arlo – charting his destiny to reawaken Nottingham’s rebellious past and kick off a new generation of cheese riots.  Once he is beyond toddling at least.

His music is raw, fun and generally released for a pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth on his Bandcamp page – the priority clearly being getting his music out there in recorded or gig form above and beyond trying to make a quick buck.  Learning more as I do about the lot of independent musicians and artists, it’s really not a very easy industry to make money out of compared to the amount of effort it takes to organise recordings and events, not to mention the time to learn to sing and play, practice, sit and write songs.

In more recent weeks the intrepid duo crossed the Atlantic to take their show stateside – from watching their Facebook posts it looks like they’ve had an absolute blast, and a culmination of that is a live recording of Doozer’s set at Vigilstock which took place in the wonderfully named Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana at the end of September.  Vigilstock has been running since 1996 in memory of musician Shannon Hoon, best-known as singer for Blind Melon who tragically passed away in 1995.


Freeborn Al / 10th November 2015 / Band, Gigs, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Cŵn ffyrnig ar daith yng Nghymru..

IMG_1710Online translations are always a risky prospect, I’ve tried a few to double-check the headline – but don’t pretend to be a Welsh speaker (much as I’d love to be!) so apologies if it’s completely nonsensical to any native Welsh speakers out there!  Snotty and I had decided to make a weekend out of a trip to Swansea and travelled there on Friday evening and missed the Swindon gig, which according to Mick was an awesome evening’s entertainment.

We checked into an awesome B&B for a couple of nights,  I wouldn’t normally write loads about accommodation (and I won’t write loads, don’t worry!), but The Mirador in Swansea is worth  bit of a mention for its quirkiness.

A town house run by the incredibly affable Phil and Jeanette, each room there is themed on a different part of the world – there’s a Venetian room and a Parisian room (that’s two blogs on the bounce that have mentioned Parisian – what’s the odds of that?!) or in our case an Egyptian themed room, with pharaohs and Nefertiti looking down on us – it was brilliant.  Should you ever find yourself travelling to Swansea then I’d heartily recommend it – breakfast was awesome too.  Next job after this is to head to trip advisor and leave a nice review.



Freeborn Al / 8th November 2015 / Band, Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos

A lovely ramble in DH Lawrence country..

dhl_albumI’ve heard people be pretty dismissive of Skiffle as a mere novelty or something not to be taken too seriously.  I don’t profess to have vast experience of it, but I do know humble skiffling gave rise to the Beatles.  Researching a little further I found a definition of ‘Jazz, folk or country music played by performers who use unconventional instruments such as kazoos, washboards or jugs, sometimes in combination with conventional instruments’ – which sounds fair enough.

DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show fuse this, perhaps sans the jazz, with a healthy slug of Folk, Bluegrass, Americana and North Nottinghamese (I take exception to UpNorthicana as they call it, we are midlanders after all!) to create something really rather magical.  I saw them performing at Splendour earlier in the year, where washboards, kazoos and a ‘skiffle boot’ nestled with a banjo, double-bass (and but for availability an absent violin) to mesmerise us with folksy bluegrassy ballads and rowdy tunes coupled with engaging crowd participation.

So it was pretty exciting when Al got in touch to offer to send me an advance copy of their forthcoming album – Sons and Lovers – to have a listen to, which is what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks.  Once I’d got it on my phone I lined it up to listen on my way to work – time enough for two run throughs since the traffic was bad.  It felt a bit like a first date that had gone well – excitement, a little bit of uncertainty but a keen desire to reacquaint myself with my new beau and get to know her better.


Freeborn Al / 5th November 2015 / Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments