In-Spire-d in Chesterfield..

IMG_3611I’ve been feeling a bit ropey all week – by the time I’d got in from work I regretfully couldn’t drag my arse out on Friday night for a The Leylines and Under A Banner which was a pisser.  Yesterday was touch and go whether I opted to head up to Real Time Live to see Ferocious Dog and The Outlines, but having rested up in the day the relatively short drive up the M1 didn’t seem too daunting so I jumped in the car to hook up with some of the early revellers in the Barley Mow pub.

First order of business was food, we left Kieron and Helen in the pub cheering on Norwich in their bid to beat Arsenal (which didn’t go too well, bad luck Kieron!) and eventually ended up in Einstein’s, a German themed bar / eaterie – the food there took a while to arrive, but bloody hell it was nice!  I ordered a schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) – it was a thing of meaty beauty.  The food Mick, Michael, Becky, Mark and Amanda had was similarly impressive.  Next time I’m in Chesterfield I’ll be sure to eat there!

IMG_3613Back to the pub it was, later than planned as the food took a while so it was a short stay before wandering over to the venue.  Real Time Live is a cracking venue sat above a music shop on a very domestic looking street – apparently it used to be a Conservative Club so it’s nice that such vestibules of corrupt ideology are being reappropriated for better purposes.  A big Ferocious Dog sold out poster adorned the wall along with other adverts for mostly cover bands.

IMG_3615A decent crowd was in for The Outlines to open the night, they kicked in with Fall To The Drop – for a three piece they create an awesome full sound.  There were a few wobbles with the sound from my vantage point, but knobs were twiddled and the vocals came back strong as Vanilla Poison and Sound of Rain were delivered to the crowd.  After Sound of Rain there was the song who’s name I always forget with ‘when the lights go out..’ in the lyrics.

Next up was the excitement of Waiting – a new song which sounded cracking – last time I talked to Kyle he’d seemed jaded with the rigours of the life of a musician, so that new material is emerging is hopefully a sign of much more to come.  The Outlines are a cracking band.  Static was up next before a cover of Guns of Brixton which was quite faithful to the original initially before kicking into a thrashed up sound at the end which was awesome.

The set was finished up with Streets of England and Tomorrow.  An energetic and great start to the evening – The Outlines have a punkish rock energy despite the relaxed demeanour of the band, each time I see them – which isn’t often enough – they are sounding tighter and more confident.  Between sets there was time to chat with the countless friendly faces in attendance before the lights dimmed and the intro music was kicking in.

IMG_3619Ferocious Dog hit the stage, Ellis initially cavorting on followed by the rest of the band – the bouzouki was the instrument he went for first, suggesting a return to a more traditional start to the set list.  It was!  Gallows Justice started which I know will please Mick and Paul in particular who’d missed it at Derby, and straight into Poor Angry and Young (again, good for Mick – he’d worn his ‘Four Angry Onions’ t-shirt for the evening!).

IMG_3621With Verse for LeeThe Glass and Lee’s Tune up next it was starting to feel like the familiar line up of songs – only for Unconditional to be thrown in a little earlier than normal.  Ellis had been sorting himself out with his electric guitar, the next song up was Living On Thin Air, then I Stand – Ken kindly dedicating it to me (he must have good eyesight, I’d taken a position near the bar rather than get into the mosh pit due to residual tiredness!) – nonetheless, much appreciated – it’s still my favourite at the moment!

IMG_3626Dean arrived midway through the song, just in time as Too Late kicked in to hoist Paul up on to his shoulders – who already had Nicki on his.  Rich was also up on shoulders nearby (“Wow, look at that crazy shit!” said a man I hadn’t seen before behind me, admiring the three-person stack).  Next up was the lovely surprise of Mairi’s Wedding Part III – even without the string section it was as mesmerising as ever.  I hope this heralds a regular slot at gigs.

Ruby Bridges kicked in next, and then Freeborn John.  With me standing back I noticed Dean on the sidelines too – Paul was up really quickly as a surfboard and clearly there was some confusion over the surfer.  Eventually Andy clambered up and did it from his knees, he claims because he was commando under his kilt (a valid reason!), but then it’s a good job as the lighting rig was directly above them too!

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Lyla was up next with the same extended intro we heard at Derby – before it kicked in Ken teased the crowd by starting off Julie and What A Beautiful Day by The Levellers.  The main set was finished up in riproaring style by pulled out what I guess can be considered classics now of Quiet Paddy and Hell Hounds, as ever dedicated to the memory of Jay Barsanti, and heralding a bit of a rush toward the mosh pit.  The band then headed off to rapturous applause.

IMG_3642For the encore initially just Les appeared on stage chugging his guitar through the start to Slow Motion Suicide with the rest of the band re-entering the stage to complete the song.  Dan, Nicki and Nadine were all up on shoulders for it – not Mick this time!  Freethinker and Mairi’s Wedding Part II finished up an excellent set.  As with Derby, it was nice to have spent the evening stood back and watching.  That said, I’ll be glad to get back to moshing soon!

After the gig it was another chance to catch up with folk and talk nonsense – I had a great long philosophical chat with Anton about all things Ferocious Dog, and countless other folk whilst the (lovely polite) bouncers gradually tried to edge us out of the venue.  It must be a nightmare for venues clearing out the place after an FD gig with so many goodbyes and catch-ups going on.  They took it in very good grace though!

Once I’d managed most of my own goodbyes it was a pretty straightforward wander back to the car park and drive home.  Definitely a good thing to have done despite not feeling 100% – Ferocious Dog gigs are good for the soul.

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