Fine fettle down in Settle..
When I originally bought a ticket for the Settle gig it was going to be in June last year. I’d naively thought ‘oh, it’s Yorkshire, I’ll probably drive to and from that’ – it wasn’t until more recently, having acquired another ticket for Ella for the rescheduled show, that I troubled to look at a map and realise quite how far up Settle was in North Yorkshire. Seeing Clitheroe nestled beneath it meant a quick search for accomodation for the evening was very much the mission – luckily I found somewhere suitable, more on that later.
We’d arranged to meet up with Michael, Daren and Michelle for lunch in nearby Malham, having set off in good time we were running an hour early on arrival estimate so pulled into a services. Checking in on Facebook as you do revealed we were actually really close to Michael’s house – sense prevailed and we arranged to go and pick him up, meaning a chance to catch up wtih Rebecca too which is a bonus – and head onward with a much better carbon footprint than if we’d gone in separate cars!
The Lister Arms is a lovely pub. Malham was absolutely snidered with cars, we were worried the pub would be rammed – but it seems the streets and carparks were full of vehicles of walkers rather than pub goers so we soon found a table and awaited Daren and MIchelle’s arrival. A hearty meal of mostly pies and mash or chips (or cajun chicken for Ella) was demolished, followed by a bloody nice selection of cheese with a glass of port (or sticky toffee pudding and a cuppa tea for t’ladies). A very pleasant few hours before hitting the road to Settle. Definitely planning on a return visit at some point!
The drive was up and over the snowy moors – once we’d hit the first cattle grid it was a bit like driving through Mordor with the snow on the hills giving it a scenic but bleak feel. Sweeping down the hill into Settle we found our assorted accommodations and got parked up and checked in. The King William IV guest house where we stayed was lovely – a great greeting from the owners, a lovely comfy room and free wifi access too! Once we’d got ourselves freshened up we headed straight out to the Royal Oak where Michael was staying.
Daren and Michelle arrived outside in their taxi as we did – and it was inside to sit by the log burner and having a few drinks, and continue the mission to digest our lunch! Mick and Chris were about town too and numerous other Hell Hounds were in the pub already or arriving – apparently the Talbot was the busier pub but we never made it up there, I was quite happy settled (huh huh, settled) where I was drinking Dark Fruit. As the opening time arrived we had an amble up to find the venue, the wonderfully old fashioned theatre the Victora Hall.
Once in you enter a medium sized flat-floored auditorium with seats along the sides, above is a balcony with seating – then in a room off to the side a bar had been stocked with an amazing array of bottled beers and ciders for not too ridiculous a price too. After the gig the volunteers running it were running a collection to raise funds to wrestle control of the venue from the local council who are apparently reluctant to fund ongoing maintenance of it – all power to their elbow, it’s a lovely venue.
First up were Dirty Vertebrae – high energy rock with a healthy smattering of ska and hip hop influences. Very compatible with a Ferocious Dog crowd, they went down well with the healthy crowd who’d arrived in time for the support act. A really full sound considering instrumentally there’s just a guitar, bass and drums – but then you also have the livewire duo of Ash and Nicole on vocals, the former mostly rhymically rapping whilst Nicole adds melody and rhythm with her voice.
Folk in the room likened them to early Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Rage Against the Machine – I can see similarities in both but that’s not to say they are derivative of them – there’s originality aplenty in there too. I’m not brilliant with their track names yet – but certainly favourites of mine from their EP like Burial, Melody and We Do What We Want were present and correct. A cracking set. Ken had emerged from backstage to take in their set – sporting eight spikes now after the salon-created seven from the week before. Dan and John were also loitering watching.
There was time for a quick chat with Ash from Dirty Vertebrae by the merch desk whilst de-layering and finding a suitable hiding spot for my vape with Carl on the merch desk. An amusing revelation from Ash’s Facebook feed earlier that day was that in a laundry mishap he’d just washed all his pants with no time to dry them before setting off for the gig – so he ingeniusly wrapped them all in foil and put them in the oven, leaving them ‘hot, slightly damp around the waistband and smelling quite strongly of pie’ – nice!
After all this the intro music was on and in no time the band were up on stage ready to launch into.. you guessed it, Gallows Justice. The sound in Victoria Hall was great – hats off to the sound man – it didn’t look like a beefy sound system but it was working a treat for me. A good number of us had travelled to form a decent sized mosh pit along with the more local folk – it was nice that folk like Paul and Nicki had a relatively local gig, they do some miles for the band after all!
The ‘rock lobster’ claws were out for Poor Angry and Young and soon enough the shirts were off. Verse for Lee, The Glass and Lee’s Tune were up next. Incidentally, last week Ken and Karen went to a charity event where they were able to hand over a further £10,000 to Combat Stress from the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund – taking the total raised for the charity to £20,000 as well as the other good causes it supports. An amazing testament to the folk running and promoting the fund and of course the good folk like you that donate money to it.
Crime and Punishment allowed for a bit of line dancing, Unconditional was the child-friendly version – there were a few Ferocious Pups in attendance. Paul hoisted Nicki up for Too Late only for Dean to pick up the both of them for a bit of stacking. By the time the opening bass tones of Freeborn John kicked in Paul was in best position to be surfboard so we got him horizontal whilst the recovering Dean muttering ‘fuckin’ ‘ell!’ got up to perform his party piece – complete with a crutch to wield for much of it.
He complained after at the lack of jägerbombs at the venue, apparently normally providing the fuel for his superhuman antics. We had a couple of amusing drunk folk in the mosh pit who ended up getting pinballed around a little – they seemed to like it though as despite being kindly (and sometimes less kindly) encouraged to the periphery they were always back for more! Ruby Bridges moved into Marikana Massacre before the epic that is Slow Motion Suicide with assorted shoulder-riding going on.
I really like the ‘home straight’ to the set list as it’s the tracks I’ve known the longest for the most part – On The Rocks, Criminal Justice, Quiet Paddy, Hell Hounds, Freethinker and Mairi’s Wedding Part II – fairly relentless in moshability and effortlessly familiar with bellowing along the words. As they looked set to finish up they were lured into an encore of Raggle Taggle Gypsy. Ace gig, great sound and good atmosphere in the crowd – all the band seemed to have really enjoyed it as they started to pack up and greet the crowd, doing a busy round of signing set lists for people.
Partly regrettably but partly relievingly the post-gig drinking options after the gig in Settle were extremely limited giving us the chance to get back to our Guest House – it’d been a long day after all! The next morning after a (superb) breakfast we picked up Michael and hit the road, but not before heading to The Courtyard just outside Settle to go cheese shopping – wow, what a place, the lovely cheese experts there plied us with slithers of an amazing array of cheese before we picked a couple of pieces each to take home.
Amazing weekend – great to have not only had the gig but some more relaxed time with friends before and after too. We’ll be missing the next couple of gigs in Barnsley and Nuneaton as we’re jetting off to Tenerife on Tuesday – so definitely a case of sorry-not-sorry on that score!