Keeping it Real (Time)..
When the tickets for this gig went on sale I was at Ey Up Mi Duck and had decided that, having secured tickets for the Rough Trade gig that I’d hang fire and give folk who had missed out a chance. By mid-afternoon there were still a few left so sod it – folk had had a chance, I duly ordered! I’m glad I did, I’m a big fan of Real Time Live as a venue – sat above a music shop in Chesterfield, it’s an absolute musical grotto!
Come the day we offered to pick up Geoff en route since he’s just a short diversion off the M1, and duly arrived in Chesterfield with a good amount of time to spare. Once we’d got our bearings (which took a while longer than it should’ve done!) we headed to The Barley Mow, just around the corner from a venue – a nice pub, with plenty of friendly faces already there – and seats outside to enjoy the not-quite-as-warm-as-we’d-hoped weather.
After a good deal of catching up, random photos and a strange experiment involving leaning against a wall and picking up a stool we wandered over to the venue. Over the course of the evening I was also informed that my good friend and fellow Ferocious Dog fan Andy Harrison has been honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list – over the course of the evening we weren’t allowed to mention it, but come midnight – well, I think everyone who knows him knows about it now! It’s an amazing and well deserved acknowledgement of the commitment he’s shown to good causes.
The Silk Road were up first – Tich seemed nervous before the gig, but once up on stage they really stepped up. A hometown gig afterall, I’m pretty sure this was the venue I first met him a few years back! They launched into I Don’t Care and then into Find a Cure and Master Race. It was sounding great – plenty of folk had got in early to listen and dance along to the support act – and as you will generally see, the energy from the crowd feeds back to the band and vice versa.
Wonderful instrumental Elizabeth Rose really showcases Jamie’s skill on the fiddle, then it was a new song critiquing the mainstream media (not without justification it has to be said!). I’ll take a stab at Your Days are Numbered for the title since that was a big part of the chorus – but who knows? No Revolution kicked in with its Riverflowesque swirling fiddle and then into The Ancient Road.
I was chuffed to get a shout out for the next fiddle showcase from Jamie, Montagu’s Harrier is a wonderful piece of music – Tich often singles it out for me as he knows I’m a bit of a bird-fancier, ha! Another newish song (which we also heard at Smile) was Justice for Daniel which covers the story of Daniel Morgan, which covers – one I wasn’t aware of, it makes fascinating and disturbing reading though. There was just time to sneak in Boats Come in at Midnight before they ran out of time.
Excellent set – really confidently delivered and got the crowd properly going – certainly from No Revolution onwards there were plenty of people whirling and dancing around the mosh pit. Judging by the queue around the merch desk it looked like a brisk bit of business was being done too – they finally have their album available on CD and having picked up a copy myself (review here) it sounds superb now in its fully mastered form. You should definitely get hold of it.
Then of course it was time for Ferocious Dog – a similar format to the week before was on offer, new songs and a short set, followed by a break with a raffle and then a second set. As before it started with Dan, John L and Alex on stage for a moving (and more confident) rendition of A&B – if you want more detail about the new songs then check out the review of the gig at Rough Trade which gives you a bit more insight into how the new tracks are sounding.
The American Dream was up next then the filthy bass-laden Class War which Michael unhelpfully implanted the observation that Snow’s Informer goes pretty well with it – haha! It’s slow, it’s fast, then it’s slow again – and a really long track. I’m looking forward to hearing it recorded – it must have a fair bit of John Alexander’s influence in it! Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye was next which saw the until-then watching crowd dancing and moshing.
The Enemy Within led into an emotional delivery of Blackleg Miner (by which point a proper mosh pit had begun to develop). Ken revealed that amongst the tracks-yet-to-be-played there would be one contributed by Les and a couple by John Alexander (unclear whether than means the latter will be singing, and whether translation services will be available!). They finished up the new songs with Spin before breaking into familiar territory.
It seemed rude not to take the opportunity to go and have a mosh as John L kicked into Gallows Justice and then Poor Angry and Young. A pause for an increasingly common epic singalong for A Verse for Lee with the mosh gradually building up for The Glass and finally in full fledge again for Lee’s Tune. There was time for Crime and Punishment before the break gave us a chance for fresh air – the room was ice cold before the gig, now it was like a sauna!
Having not won the raffle again it was soon time for the music to resume. Too Late opened part two, then Freeborn John which saw Rich hoisted as surfboard and Nadine up as surfer, she did really well to avoid an unfortunate incident with a projector and lighting rig overhead which mercifully became less of an issue once they manouvred themselves back a little bit. A good job well done!
Ruby Bridges was up next then Unconditional and Lyla – then the lovely surprise that is always Mairi’s Wedding Part III, seldom heard live and always welcome. Marikana Massacre too is one I’ve not heard in a while and got the crowd sparked back into life after ‘the quiet one’ – then we ended up with the run of ‘classics’ to the finish – Criminal Justice, Quiet Paddy, Hell Hounds, Freethinker and then Mairi’s Wedding Part II – no wonder it was so sweaty in there, what a run of mosh-anthems!
That left time for the finale of Slow Motion Suicide, always an epic finish – running slightly over the official curfew too, always fun to be a bit rebellious! After considerable time spent goodbyeing around the room (and insodoing losing Geoff who’d assumed we’d left and had wandered to the car and back) we eventually hit the road for home having had a jolly splendid evening.