A bit of bothering before Dogfest..
Of course everyone was rightly excited for Dogfest the weekend just gone, but there was the small matter of a bit of ‘bothering’ for the night before. The bargainous sum of £5 gained entry to the main hall in the Black Market venue for a nice little warm up. I arrived in where we were staying in Edwinstowe and met up with Ella and Simon who were awaiting a bit of food, giving me time to get checked in and finish up my working week with a couple of conference calls (oh such fun!)
Once that was over and we were suitably fed and relaxed we hopped into the car for the short drive to Warsop – keen to arrive in time for the first act, easily making it in time for a marathon round of hellos before heading through to the main room. First a word for Black Market Brewery‘s offerings – well recommended for ale lovers, after a warning from Dave (which I suspect for many would be an advert!) I steered clear of Insane but did enjoy a few pints of Illicit and Imposter, quickly putting paid to my plan of not going to mad with alcohol.
First up on stage was the inimitable Brian Stone. He is building in confidence more and more – although taken aback at how many people had made it to the wilds of Warsop for a 6pm start. Launching into Life Begins at 50 his set was an energetic singalong both of his own songs and an eclectic selection of cover versions like Believers by Levellers and Ward the Pirate. Highlights for me were his own song Where is all the Rum Gone evoking memories of that campfire at Farmer Phil’s, and a raucous singalong of Gaz Brookfield’s Let the East Winds Blow to finish.
He dealt with a small legion of female fans (and maybe some male ones) bombarding him with underwear during the set too. And seemed unflappable to an appearance from BB-8 on the stage to interrupt his set at one point. (Okay, so that latter one might not have happened beyond a combination of my imagination and a silly app on my phone, haha!). A thoroughly enjoyable start teeing up the evening’s entertainment perfectly.
Next up on stage was some all out rabble-rousing folk punk from Folk The System, with pounding bodhran and lilting fiddles and vitriolic vocals it certainly upped the tempo – anti-establishment and getting the feet stomping, I’ve not done brilliantly at learning their song titles but a combination of fuzzy memory and cross-checking on my phone recalls highlights of Environmentally Friendly and Death of a Nation. I spent a bit of a time chatting with Maty from the band before the Leylines and Ferocious Dog gig in Cardiff, there is new songwriting and probably future recordings afoot!
I must admit a combination of the moreishness of Dave’s brews and socialising meant that Blind Fever Band (although I did have a dance along to the mash potato song!), BB Blackdog (in an acoustic incarnation, and a nice flashback for those of us who went to much more sparsely populated Dogfests of yesteryear!) were chugging out their eclectic steam punk craziness, followed by The Hugo Steady Band. By the time assorted catching up and drinking had been done it was time for Black Thorn.
The first time I saw Black Thorn was at Wistful in the summer – and even through the mead-induced fug that day became they really struck a chord then, and they didn’t disappoint here either. Ludicrously catchy folk music epitomised by tracks like Catch Me If You Can drew me back toward the stage from the bar (mercifully, this was supposed to be a ‘take it easy’ kind of evening on the alcohol front, it didn’t really work out like that as these things often don’t!). Having picked up their EP back at Wistful I’ve just noticed they have an album out, which I must avail myself of!
A brief sojourn outside to cool off a little saw Michelle find an interesting new use for a drink stirrer with the unfortunate Wez, whose bravado perhaps overshadowed his common sense as he volunteered to be the victim of a ‘bollock twang.’ I hope Michelle didn’t return the stirrer to her drink after that, haha! This interlude made me miss out on most of the folky sounding set from Northern Monkey, which is unfortunate – that’s probably the only problem in a full on assault of music – you’re bound to miss some of it.
We were back inside for Parson’s Lot though, a band I’ve seen a few times now – but they were on the best form I’ve seen. Energetic, fun, they had the crowd really going for it – highlights of the set for me being Liberty of Levellers fame (and of course their contribution to Bostin’ Days, followed by a wonderful cover of Dreadzone’s Captain Dread which went down very well indeed with the crowd, who broke into a bit of moshing. A really strong set from the Barnsley folksters – looking forward to my next opportunity to have a dance around them.
The dancing lead to warmth which led outside again, which meant I missed a chunk of Steel Threads too, I’ve a vague recollection of them playing Ace of Spades before the descent into potentially alcohol induced amnesia and conversation. It rounded off a splendid evening – it would do it a disservice to call it a warm up – it was an event in its own right, and great to see so many folk able to make it out for the extra night too. A quick round of goodbyes saw us retreat to the car via the kebab shop to get our heads down ahead of the early start for Dogfest in the morning.