2015 – The year of the Dog..

12347814_10153863571453060_2422930688827816042_nOkay, so Ferocious Dog have been around a little longer – but this last year has felt rather like a landmark.  And not just because back in February it’s when Ferocious Blog was born, ha!  The lead up to a new year is traditionally a time for reflecting back on the year just gone and looking forward to the next one, so I figured it’d be nice to trawl back through the months and pull out a highlight or two for each month of 2015, it will be tough to pick just one or two so feel free to chip in your own in the comments – despite my best efforts I didn’t quite make it to every Ferocious Dog gig in the year!

January 2015 – a light month, Ferocious Blog was yet to be created (although it had been an idea kicking around in my head for at least a couple of years).  Checking my calendar and personal blog doesn’t reveal much at all in the way of Ferocious Dog activity – we’d have been still basking in the warm glow of Dogfest back in December – I latterly discovered that a 3 Piece Acoustic performance took place in honour of Ella’s 21st birthday in this month, but alas I didn’t know Snotty at this juncture!

IMG_9188_gFebruary 2015the blog is born after an acoustic appearance by Ken and Dan at the Brown Cow in Mansfield.  Seldom has one of Sam’s nights had such a huge crowd packed in.  The demand for the event was the perfect excuse to arrive early and chat nonsense with friends for the afternoon.  An afternoon of drinking had taken its toll on Dean who for the first time decreed I needed to get up and surf in his place – a great way to start what became a year of extreme ‘dogging’.  These smaller intimate gigs are as enjoyable for me as the bigger and bolder shows that are to follow.  We were first introduced to Scott at this appearance too.

Getting ready to unleash hell!

March 2015 – a busy month with the spring tour kicking off – starting with the sold-out-in-20-minutes Bodega gig – an amazing day of music and friends with Hell Hounds taking over Nottingham, the first time we’d seen Les and Scott take the stage with the band, the first time we’d heard the songs that would make the album ‘From Without’ – but then there were trips to Nuneaton where my first ‘proper’ surf happened (and I fleetingly met Ella), Barnsley and Harlow where I became properly acquainted with Ella and Simon (the former fulfilling the role of surfer).  Behind the scenes work was well underway on ‘From Without’ and the band announced they were playing at Splendour in Nottingham.

IMG_9636April 2015 – a trip to Cambridge via hospitality from Brian and Karen kicked off the month, the following night was spent in Derby.  Shortly after this Dan first treated me to some rough cut tracks from the recording sessions, which were utterly hammered on my commutes to work.  I was then treated to a trip on Cerebus – joining the band for treks to Bridport, Plymouth and Exeter giving me a real glimpse into what happens behind the scenes on tour.  The month was rounded off with the hilarious gig in Stamford, followed by the surprisingly awesome trip to Newbury.

surfingMay 2015 – the first trip to Brighton of the year, then it was Putney where acquaintances with other now firm friends were forged.  Timehop revealed the anniversary of my first ever Ferocious Dog gig from back in May 2011 whilst the month was finished off with an awesome impromptu trip to Aberdeen which I’d spent the last few days and weeks claiming I wasn’t going to be making – Lisa, Paul and I had such a fun weekend, it was well worth doing – so much so that I’ve availed myself of accommodation for next year’s gig already!

11248252_10155625734780702_5718697911303958114_nJune 2015 – Ferocious Dog released Ruby Bridges as a single (Gaz Brookfield released True and Fast too), whilst festival season kicked off for me with the inaugural Something To Smile About festival in Thorne near Doncaster – which meant I got to meet Becky and Pete, and enjoy a fundraiser gig in Warsop the day after to boot.  Gigs in Evesham and Brixton followed before a day at the Willowman festival in North Yorkshire it was starting to look like a question of which gigs I was going to miss rather than attend – but alas I wasn’t able to follow the band to the biggest event they’d play in 2015 – Glastonbury festival.  I did find a distraction or two to tide me over though.

IMG_0711July 2015 – the artwork for From Without was released, along with albums from The Outlines and Funke and the Two Tone Baby, Ferocious Dog followed up Glastonbury with an appearance at the Warsop Carnival.  Wistful Festival was an awesome weekend, and this year’s will of course feature that band, Ferocious Dog rocked their home town festival of Splendour, where we were also treated to a fun set by DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle show.  This was followed by the always awesome Deerstock festival – always pretty much a guaranteed highlight of the year.  There was even time for a bit of Levelling in Holmfirth.

IMG_0601August 2015 – Ella and I became an item (sick bags on standby), the long awaited Bostin’ Days album was released to the masses to great acclaim, we had a chilled afternoon and evening (and unplanned overnight) stay in Thorne for some live music, but really (relationship status aside) undoubtedly one of the event highlights of the year was the awesome Farmer Phil’s festival in Shropshire.  Tickets are in the bag for next year already, I just wish I’d listened to Dean who’s been mithering me for years to get my arse to this one!  Mairi’s Wedding Part III was revealed to the world via The Beat on BBC Radio Nottingham.

IMG_1158September 2015 – a quiet month for Ferocious Dog activity, whilst they did play up in Fleetwood I cheated on them and went to see 3 Daft Monkeys in Barnsley whilst news was filtering through that the album was getting tantalisingly close to completion.  Again outside of the band we had an amazing time at the Colour of Time festival in Doncaster as well as reliving a bit of youth by going to see Ugly Kid Joe in the Rescue Rooms – keeping ourselves warmed up for the autumn tour kicking off in earnest in the next month or so…

IMG_1493October 2015 – Rockstock and Barrel kicked off the month in fine style, and we popped along to Bagthorpe’s We Shall Overcome event to be treated to a solo set from Ken.  Then the album landed – as I’d been privy to previews of the recordings it wasn’t a surprise but great to have my mits on the real thing, and reading people’s excited comments on receiving it was brilliant.  The Alternative Weekend in Butlins was up next, an awesome way of using a holiday park off season, then the autumn tour kicks in with gigs in Birmingham, Bristol and Barnstaple – which I’d miss in favour of Bostin’ Days Live. What a day that was!  The following weekend I was back on the bus with the band for trips to Leeds, Newcastle and Carlisle.  The next dates in Norwich and Bedford we completed under our own steam, skipping the hallowe’en gig in Liverpool.

IMG_2066November 2015 – Before Ferocious Dog action kicked off in earnest I’d had a sneak preview of the album soon to be released by DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show, and it’s awesome.  Back on the dogging trail, Swansea was our first port of call, electing for a long weekend in Wales rather than heading to Swindon on the friday night.  Then back on the bus for a quadruple header of Camden, Southampton, Brighton and Margate.  The next weekend was another triple header, Telford, Manchester and Clitheroe comprised probably my favourite weekend of the year outside of festivals – particularly Clitheroe tourism with Ella, Les, John, Michael and Rebecca.  On the way back from Clitheroe we stuck our heads round the door for a rehearsal ahead of the tour climax – which of course was the unforgettable day that was the sell out gig at Rock City to round off a busy year of band touring.

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IMG_2225December 2015 – December saw Gaz release Solo Acoustic Guy, a compilation of fan-chosen tracks recorded in one take.  Dogfest 2016 tickets went on sale and sold out damn quickly, whilst non-Ferocious Dog gigs saw us taking in awesome performances by the Levellers and The Leylines.  There was still a bit of FD music to enjoy with Ken playing along with Maelor, Gaz and Funke in what was undoubtedly one of my favourite gigs of the year, as well as a charity gig in Chesterfield along with Dan (also by this time DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show had released their awesome album).  We had the treat of Drew’s 50th birthday party before the festivities kicked off in earnest, before rounding off the year watching Brad Dear in Eastwood with support from Kate Auburn and Joseph Knight – a splendid end to a splendid year of music.

It hasn’t really been ’til sitting and reviewing month by month what I’ve been up to that I’ve really taken in just how ridiculously ingrained in my life Ferocious Dog have become.  They are woven into the tapestry of my social networks, other music I listen to – and well, if I’ve been busy following them around to nearly all their gigs, imagine how busy they themselves are when you chuck in rehearsals, practising, travelling and of course living their own lives.  What a year.  101 posts on here, over 15,000 views from good folk like you.  It’s been a bit mad.

I’m not sure or not whether 2016 will see me able to keep up the same pace – but looking at the festival and gig tickets already acquired then well, it should prove another interesting year regardless!  I can’t wait!  Whatever you’re doing to see in the new year have a wonderful time – and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2016 to one and all!

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