The return of the Fox and the Pirate!

img_0276I wasn’t sure I’d make this, with revelry for birthday celebrations the night before I might not feel too energetic.  On the flipside, I didn’t have the north-south-north run to make – as it happened, I had some errands to run on Sunday that took me nearly half way to Warsop anyway – so well, it would’ve been daft not to have taken advantage of the opportunity to take in a bit of live music to finish up the weekend.  With an early finish it’s definitely do-able on a work night.

Plenty of folk had the same idea – there was a great gathering of friends either already at the Black Market venue or arriving shortly after me.  With tables arranged suitably it was soon time for The Star Botherers to kick things off.  The first thing I noticed was that Dave has added a cajón to his arrangement of instruments with a kick pedal that may or may not have also been attached to his tambourine, alongside his more familiar bass drum.  Exciting!

They kicked off the set with Ringing in Sick, possibly a subliminal move on Dave’s part to encourage people to take part in the quiz straight after the music – haha!  I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since I’ve heard One Inch Death Punch aside from when it pops up on a music shuffle in the car.  Just Around the Corner followed, Bart muttered something about it being his favourite of theirs – I do like it a lot too to be fair.

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Freeborn Al / 31st October 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

The Fox and the Pirate!

img_0239We had a lot of fun tonight at the opening night of The Fox and the Pirate (I think you need a Facebook page chaps if this is gonna be a ‘thing’) tour in the Yewtree Inn and Lodge in Ednaston, Derbyshire.  They comprise of Jonny Wallis and Brian Stone, excellent musicians and friends both!  Arriving in the car park we found the advanced camping party – Dave and Caroline (and Murph!) along with Barry and Debs were already in situ, getting the party started early!

As we’d had daytime activities, and because we’d piked out as it was cold, we decided to just drive to and from the gig rather than stay over in the car park.  Since I’m sat comfy in my lounge (albeit not toasty warm given the boiler is knackered!) it’s not a decision I rue, although a stay over is always fun.  So after general car park catchups we made our way into the pub.  It’s a lovely pub, great food and drink, a relaxed atmosphere and of course some excellent music.

img_0235Brian and Karen were already in and tucking into some rather tasty looking pizzas.  We’d not planned on eating as we’d had a massive meal earlier in the day, but the temptation was pretty big – we relented.  A pizza for me and Ella more restrained with just a garlic bread (she can’t eat dairy – booo!) – it was bloody nice, although I’m sure Scott Doonican would have something to say about it being served on a wooden board (indeed, he did later via the medium of Facebook!).

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Freeborn Al / 23rd October 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Escapology..

static-logoA total diversion from my normal subject matter – but we’ve just had a really fun afternoon that’s worth talking about.  Back in March my Mum and Dad came up with the hugely original birthday gift of taking three friends and being locked in a room which we then have to try to escape from by decoding clues in there within a time limit.  Given the busyness of social calendars it took ’til this week for us to finally get it locked down!

So myself, Ella, Sarah and Paul met up to tackle Contraption – I was ordered by Ella that no rooms involving mannequins was allowed, and Sarah has an aversion to clowns, so when I rang up to book I made those points to the chap on the phone, and he recommended this room.  It was set up as a laboratory of a scientist, machinery and artifacts make up the clues you need to eventually solve the room to escape.

Our very first task proved quite tricksy to solve – it was actually pretty easy really, but then isn’t everything once you’ve worked it out?  We then had a series of finding objects, cracking codes and clues and eventually finding our way out of the room with nine minutes to spare from our allotted hour.  It wasn’t scary as such, but there were a few jumpy moments (especially for scaredy cat Ella!).

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Freeborn Al / 22nd October 2016 / Photos, Thoughts / 0 Comments

All’s well at Birdwell..

img_0212Our original plan for Birdwell was to head up to Sam and Matt’s in Ludo and then taxi in, which would have undoubtedly been ace, but since we have plans today back in the Midlands it just made more sense to drive.  Allowing for the not-particularly-bad Friday night M1 traffic meant we made it up there in good time, so parked up and went for a wander around Birdwell – a place I must admit I never knew existed!

The Travellers Inn clearly designed for eaters – as we popped in for a couple of soft drinks to pass the time one of the waitresses stood by our table like a hawk to whisk our glasses away.  The food did look good mind, even if the welcome was frosty!  Rather than endure another round of that we headed down to the venue, what I guess is an old social /working man’s club – bar at the front, venue at the back.  The venue wasn’t open yet but the bar was.

It gave us a chance to have a sit and a natter with Rob and Russ, and admire Russ’ new tattoo that Ken has been working on before eventually being permitted into the venue room.  What a room too, nestling back there is a big stage, dancefloor and tabled area along with a bar – slightly reminiscent of The Black Market Venue but without the head space (or balcony) – cracking space in there though, and for my non-audiophile ears at least a decent sound system,

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Freeborn Al / 22nd October 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

That difficult second festival… day two!

img_0052Friday night was so memorable, so it was with that ambivalent mixture of excitement and tired reluctance we hauled ourselves out of the hotel come Saturday to taxi our way back to the Robin 2.  As such, we owe apologies to Stevie Simpson for missing his set in its entirely and to Emma & The Professor who were half way into theirs by the time we made it – but well, non-stop music for twelve hours, it wouldn’t be the only stuff we missed – and I must confess to sitting and feeling daunted about trying to write it all down!

img_0051Heading back into the gloomy venue worked a lot like the casinos in Vegas – it made it seem perpetually evening.  Emma & The Professor were on the second stage, and just striking up Bostin’ track Men An Tol – thankfully plenty of folk were more disciplined at getting up than we were, there was a good crowd in already!  This was followed up with Battle of the Marches and The Old Black Crow.  They have such a unique sound, and a new album in the offing which I’m excited about!

The two stages were alternating – Stevie Simpson compering the main stage, handing over to (or being handed over from) Brian Stone on the second stage.  If you take a moment to think about the logistics, soundchecking through the sound-desk only, the first chance to artists get to hear their monitor mix was starting the set – the sound guys and stage management deserves some serious kudos for even considering this way of working, to have pulled it off – just wow!

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Freeborn Al / 19th October 2016 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

That difficult second festival… night one!

13076514_485725474954762_3562155143094634744_nI’m sure you know the story behind Bostin’ Days – in a nutshell, an accident happens at Beautiful Days… it’s sorted out thanks to the local air ambulance.  Addie Burns has a crazy idea.  It’s the kind of idea that people probably have all the time – but in this case, he made it happen – get a fabulous array of musicians to record a cover of a Levellers song and release it as a compilation, then have an associated event by the said same artists.

That album is still a regular feature on my playlists – and last year’s event was superb.  How do you follow up something like that? Well, they bloody well did it – I’ve just got back from a fabulous weekend, and after sorting out assorted domestic stuff now I have the unenviable task of trying to put it in to words!  Unlike last year I was able to make the Friday night too, so arrived at the hotel in Wolverhampton early afternoon in time for a bit of a chill out.

Ella and her Mum would be arriving later – so after a pleasant afternoon with a book (rock and roll, huh?) – I hopped in a taxi to The Robin 2 in Bilston with Mark and Amanda.  I’d booked it using an app, and pre-paid for it – which confused my journey companions when I thanked the driver and got out without paying, as they thought!  Haha!  The venue wasn’t open yet, but the attached bar was so we headed in there and got ourselves some beers.

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Freeborn Al / 16th October 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

An electric atmosphere..

img_5635Rockstock and Barrel is fast becoming one of my favourite festivals – to take what is, frankly, a somewhat tired old social club attached to an abandoned power station and sprinkle it with imagination, art and music is a real testament to Debbo, Phily and their ever-expanding team of helpers.  This year the them of the festival was Tim Burton films – the decor and fancy dress were the magic dust on top of a solid foundation of facilities and great acts.

img_5560I’d dumped Ludo on the site on Thursday night, but alas work commitments meant I couldn’t stay – arriving back on site on Friday afternoon – complete with some shopping for Tim and, perhaps most randomly, a watering can for Lynne and Ian (which looked alarming like some kind of thing you’d find in Ann Summers!).  First order of business was to get the van sorted out – and then get my mits on the first of many Pineapple ciders.

As well as organising superb venues, decor and entertainment the stand out feature of Debbo and Phily’s events are their wonderous array of ciders and wines – and of course the Cheezy Vinyl Bar, which even had the option of pre-booking a baked camembert too.  The main stage was in the social club, the cider bar hosted the second stage and a third was nestled in the attached Cheezy Vinyl Bar.

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Freeborn Al / 5th October 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 2 Comments