They did the mash.. it was the Münster mash!
We set off early for Münster, it was a pretty quiet bus all told, all the more reason to appreciate the Herculean efforts of Dean and Stu who got us from place to place whilst we either messed around or slept. On arriving in town we spotted gig posters on the walls, and soon enough we were pulling into the car park of the hotel (hurrah!), which was right next to the venue – Jovel (double hurrah!).
They had a few rooms ready, so we were able to drop bags off and freshen up and await the rest whilst grabbing a quick drink from the hotel bar. Once everyone was ready we decided to risk public transport again and grab the bus into the town, this went much more smoothly than the tram in Amsterdam, and was really reasonably priced too – we’d got ourselves to the centre in no time at all and off the bus.
Münster is a very scenic place – markets bedecked the streets and we had a nice wander around, having failed dismally in Duisburg to eat anything of note I was dead excited to get myself some currywurst, and very nice it was too before heading to a local pub to sink a few beers (and assorted local spirits). We went back via the market again, Mick bought a soap which he thought was a lump of cheese (ha!), whilst Jacquie and I found some stagewear for The Star Copiers.
Clutching a bratwurst we headed off to get the bus back to the hotel without incident and get sorted for the gig. In the bar we had an quick award ceremony for Dean, Sarah and Stu who’d made this whole trip so easy for the rest of us – meanwhile other folk had arrived in our hotel too, and it was a pretty good party atmosphere – dampened only very slightly by the revelation we’d need to leave at 4:30am to make our connection with the channel tunnel.
Jovel Music Hall might be my favourite of the venues we visited (and I loved them all!), the drinks were really reasonably priced and the atmosphere from travelling folk and locals alike was awesome. It was literally the climax of the European leg of the tour – and it felt like it too, one that ranks right up there with my favourite experiences watching live music and/or travelling.
Ferocious Dog kicked things off – energetic as ever, if you’ve been following the other write-ups you know the set list by now – but well, for the sake of completeness the intro music fades out to Ellis’ bouzouki intro for Gallows Justice leading into Verse for Lee, The Glass and Lee’s Tune. Despite the rigours of three days of travelling and three nights of partying we were all bang up for a good time too!
Unconditional led to Too Late – Dave nipped in to pick up Paul and Nicki to give Dean a break. Dean took his place on the surfboard for Freeborn John, it was a flawless exercise with the right number of folk covering the assorted positions. The rest of it seems a bit like a blur. Lyla saw me with Sam up on my shoulders, Slow Motion Suicide, Hell Hounds (this time I think it was Mick who was propelled from feigned proneness on the floor).
Freethinker was another epic circle where local folks were grabbed to join in – I literally don’t think it could’ve been any bigger due to the confines of the room. I loved it, leaving a tear up for Mairi’s Wedding Part II to finish up the set. We headed to the bar then hung around the merch at the back – we’d all toyed with getting our heads down at the hotel, but since it was such a good night and we’d been a bit slack on Levelling we stayed for the main act.
And boy I’m glad I did. Levellers are one of my absolute favourites after all – and much like FD had been bang on form. They kicked in with One Way and worked their way through the rest of Levelling The Land with gusto. By the time they were three songs in Kenny decided he wanted to fulfil an ambition to be up on a surfboard – we assembled a group to make that happen.
As much as he’d hate the idea of being treated any differently – given he’s in the middle of a massive tour it’s all the more important no injuries occur (not that we aren’t careful with each other too!). We decided the instrumental section at the end of The Boatman was a good plan – Dean was the board, I had hold of Kenny’s knees, it was steady as a rock – and it was funny to see the look on Charlie’s face when he looked up from his neck-slung drum to see him up there!
I’ve shamelessly pinched Rob’s photo of it – a real awesome moment.
We stayed for a dance at the front through Liberty and Far From Home before heading back to the bar for a more distant dance at the back. It was such a pleasure to watch – the sound in the venue was amazing, Sell Out, Another Man’s Cause, The Road, Riverflow, Battle of the Beanfield – all etched indelibly in my mind from my youth whirled around us as we danced and laughed together.
Once the album itself was finished This Garden and Belarus were next, followed by Men an Tol (one of my favourites, I’m still a little bit sad the Levs opted for another Levelling the Land anniversary tour and skipped over the 20th anniversary of Zeitgeist). Truth Is and Cholera Well gave some representation to newer albums before taking it right back to Carry Me to finish the main set.
Of course the crowd loudly demanded an encore, and it was duly delivered with raucous renditions of Beautiful Day and What You Know. Meanwhile Andre and Jacquie had been distributing trays of Jägermeister shots and we were all having a splendid time. I bought myself a tour hoody – I’m dead pleased with it, lovely quality. Mark left the stage saying “Thanks to Ferocious Dog, thanks for having us” which raised a smile.
Back at the hotel the party carried on raging – eventually I had to get at least a few hours, I tiptoed into the room past the already sleeping Deano and got into bed, having set an alarm for 4am (ugh!). I slept through the alarm, I was woken up by Dean trying to make my phone shut up, haha! Apparently Sam had snuck in our room overnight, I was dead to the world!
The drive from Münster to the channel tunnel is a long one – not that I saw much of it, I think I slept even through a service station stop although did rouse myself for the next one to get something to eat. Eventually we did make it to our destination, but had missed our planned crossing – we got the next one easily enough – I was sad to see the patched up fences, evidence of the desperation some folk have.
Of course, the drive on the other side of the channel wasn’t much less daunting – but soon enough we’d reached our assorted cars, we’d said our goodbyes (Stu then had to dash the bus back down to Leicester before 5:30pm), I took Trudi and Karen home, we caught up with Kenny who’d not long been back and had an appointment to do a tattoo that evening (madman – although I’ve since seen the pictures and it looks good!).
All that remained then was for me to take Mark and Amanda home and then get myself back to my feathered creatures, some laundry and the contemplation of going to work in the morning. What an absolutely amazing few days, the decision to do the European dates has meant compromising how much of the UK tour I can take in – but by god I know I made the right decision there! All hail the Groovers on Maneouvres!
So whilst I’m a little sad to have missed Cardiff last night, Bristol tonight and Plymouth and Manchester – but well, it’s not long ’til Rock City on Sunday – given this is a venue Ferocious Dog have demonstrated they can sell out in their own right, it might well prove a good opportunity to stand back a bit and watch the full set I think. Particularly since I’ll be driving and have work in the morning after!