Well it takes my breath away!

justice9n-1I never think of Funke and the Two Tone Baby as an overt story-teller in his songs – obviously there are stories in there, but the lyrics are obtuse – they don’t spell things out (that for me combined with the masterclass in multi-instrumental multi-tasking is a big part of the appeal!).  So you could be forgiven for mistaking Bella’s Kiss as being a passionate tribute to the breathtakingly good kissing technique of a lass called Bella.

It’s certainly something I fell foul of, with Bella rhyming with Ella it even took on a degree of soppy significance.  It was at Deerstock that before playing it Funke casually introduced it like this: ‘here’s a song about a Hungarian serial killer’ – at the time I was looking forward to a new song, only to be faced with the confusion of a familiar tune that I thought I already knew well.  Being a song-story geek I took to Google almost immediately – and unearthed, well, a pretty disturbing tale.

Bella’s Kiss is about Béla Kiss.  Born in 1877, he was a tinsmith who lived in Czinkota (then it would’ve been a town in its own right, now part of Budapest) since 1900.  In 1912 – according to some reports after his wife Marie, fifteen years his junior, left him for another man called Paul Bikari.  Kiss, well thought of in the local community, probably illicited great sympathy from friends and neighbours when he confessed they’d run away together.


Freeborn Al / 16th September 2016 / Music, Other Bands, Thoughts / 0 Comments

All’s well at Whitwell..

bbWe had a really busy weekend just gone – with events on Friday and Sunday we wouldn’t have missed for the world, combined with the possibility of me finally getting completed on a new house we thought Whitwell might’ve been a step too far.  Luckily the house move was delayed by a week – some hasty arrangements involving somewhere for us to park Ludo meant that we could at least make the Saturday.  And it was sure worth it!

The festival nestles in the Whitwell Community Centre – what I’m presuming is a former school building eerily reminiscent of my old Primary school (which has long since been torn down and replaced by an old folks home!) – with a stage and stalls outside, and a couple more inside functioning as the second stage and an open mic performance area.  Stalls ranged from food, clothing and of course a bar.

Upon advice of people who’d been there on the Friday I was pointed towards the cider bar to sample the Mango cider – it had sold out the night before, hasty new provisions had been sourced – and I took heed and made sure I got a few pints in before it had gone.  My gosh, what a delicious drink… keep an eye out for Lilley’s Mango Cider – it really is a thing of beauty (not quite up there with Rockstock Pineapple cider for my money, but bloody nice!).


Freeborn Al / 14th September 2016 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

It’s all butter side up for Black Thorn..

a3508657378_2Butter Side Up is a great name for this album.  Your metaphorical dropped toast lands butter side up on a good day, and whacking this in your CD player is definitely a precursor to one of those!

If I could sum up playing it briefly (not my forté I realise!) then it would be that it feels optimistic, summery – it wonderfully encapsulates the kind of festival feeling in which you might invariably encounter Black Thorn strutting their stuff on a stage.  I think it’s the accordion wielded by Josie more than anything that soaks these tracks with cheerfulness and light-heartedness, with Joel’s heartfelt vocal style, Jack’s bass rhythms and Adam’s guitar it all knits together into a well-honed collection of songs.

There’s some development from the live performances I’ve seen – double bass, brass, melodica and synths feature in here, as well as guest appearances giving more vocals, percussion, didgeridoo, harmonica and cornet, but it doesn’t detract one little bit from the kind of turns on stage I’ve seen the band put in a number of times over the summer.  It’s ambitious, but it doesn’t over-reach by any stretch – add to your consideration that the whole thing was mixed and mastered by Joel himself – in a damp cellar in Derbyshire according to the album sleeve – and it becomes all the more impressive!

It opens up with Cabin Fever – one that felt immediately familiar with a few festival outings – starting with birdsong and guitar strums, a ‘woo!’ kicks the full track in (Black Thorn are a very woo-y band – and it fits them perfectly) – it changes rhythm and pace, I think the narrative is the anticipation of waiting for summer.  Psychic Sally picks up a very different theme – on the dubious merits of the psychic industry, whether or not it’s inspired by a famous ‘psychic’ of that name was fervently denied on Facebook by Joel – it carries on nicely in tone from the first track but is gently scathing by the same token with an empassioned chorus.


Freeborn Al / 8th September 2016 / Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Freaky fingers in Doncaster..

IMG_5261A welcome return to live music came courtesy of Darren Eastell and the Freaky Fingers EP launch in The Leopard, Doncaster this weekend just gone.  Darren was a last minute replacement at Wistful Festival, and they made a great impression – certainly on Ella who treated us to the tickets!  Gritty bluesy rock was my vague memory from Wistful, a bearded frontman in a truckers cap – what could possibly go wrong? We had the bonus of two support acts too – Laura Kelly and Framing Witches.

Becky and Pete were hosting the evening (and us, having fed us before driving into Donny!), and we met Herb at the venue too.  It was certainly more packed than last time we ventured to The Leopard, soon enough we were amongst a very healthy crowd – including assorted members of Darren’s family.  As well as entry to the gig the ticket also provided access to a free EP and a sticker too – stickers adorned most of the people in the room, often with a fair bit of encouragement from family members in attendance!

We sat and drank cider in the green room for a while whilst sound-checking was underway, before heading downstairs to the bar for general nattering and merriment.  It was probably the freaky fingers element of the performance I was most excited about watching – as a fledgling cajon player listening to Liam’s soundcheck (which you’d think was a full drum kit if you weren’t able to see him) was at once inspiring and incredibly daunting!


Freeborn Al / 5th September 2016 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments