Oh man, look at those cave men go..
I must admit I was a bit surprised when we got to not particularly far away Corby at the lack of familiar faces in the busy crowd at The White Hart. Of course there were a fair few as ever – reassuring that a sell-out can be achieved in a new town in terms of playing, I guess! We got there early, had a quick drink a nearby funky cocktail bar (the perils of needing the loo, seeing a bar called ‘Malt-something’ and assuming it was an ale pub, ha!). Some chips from the chippy and we were good to go.
The venue was the backroom of the pub, a work in progress the landlord was telling me, but workable enough – it was evocative of the kinds of places we used to go see Ferocious Dog years ago – but in this case very much full of people! A nice mixed crowd in terms of age and look – there were FD t-shirts a plenty, folks who perhaps didn’t normally see them, plenty of kids – a really good mixture.
First up on stage was Emma McGrath (accompanied by Alfie on drums), she has a new single out next week, and is off on tour supporting Hayseed Dixie too. She started off on guitar and wow, what a voice she has! I’m going to guess the opening song was called either Don’t Leave Me Behind or Lifeline, really engaging – I’m sure there was some jiggery pokery going on with the drumkit alongside traditional drums too. A really full sound for just the two of ’em.
Butterfly and Off The Wall followed and were similarly engaging, before a switch from guitar to keyboard for White Lines (not that one), then back to guitar for the forthcoming single Love You Better. I didn’t catch the name of the final song, it might’ve been called Let Go – but who can be sure. Really engaging set, and not the kind of thing you’d normally hear preceding an FD gig – and I like that, it gives you a chance to hear something a bit different and expand your horizons!
We popped into the bar next door for a sit and a drink (and for me to look at some very glum looking Liverpool fans on the telly as they went out the FA Cup to West Brom – always a treat for me! We headed back in for the next support act.
Patch Black were up next, I suspect in stripped down form from what I’ve been able to glean about them online – a singer on guitar and a keyboard player, and a more classic rock sound to them, bluesy vocals, bits of hammond organ type sound behind along with guitar – they were mysterious of song title revelations so I’ve not got a great deal to be able to tell you I’m afraid! Aside from a cover of David Bowie’s Sorrow which I enjoyed I didn’t manage to discern a single other song title!
By the time Ferocious Dog were ready to go the room was full, a cluster of kids had a space at the front as had a fan in a wheelchair. It was a busy room, but at a sensible capacity level. Ken was acting as stage hand, laying out high seats for them to play on – and once the gig was under way (after an introduction track of the Imperial March from Star Wars!) with Spin there was a lively but initially sensible mosh pit developing – unusually I’d say close to a 50:50 split on gender which is nice to see!
Raggle Taggle Gypsy was up next and then into On the Rocks. Dan had a malfunction with his violin, but a quick fiddle (huh, fiddle, geddit?) with his assorted electrical gubbins got it sorted quickly. Ruby Bridges had the room singing along, before Crime and Punishment kicked off the energy levels again. Verse for Lee was loudly sang back from the crowd then it was into The Glass and Lee’s Tune which had the room bouncing again.
Too Late never seems right without seeing Nicki hefted aloft over the crowd, and when not followed by Freeborn John which it wasn’t here – but Class War kind of continues a similar theme (there was a false start here, and Ken introduced it as Unconditional which was quite amusing). John briefly gave up picking the instrumental late on prompting Dan to sing it into his mic, before the diminutive one resumed normal service, ha!
Now it was time for Unconditional – it had ‘hell’ not ‘fuck’ given the youngsters down at the front, then time for Dan to take lead vocals for A&B, a moving performance as ever – it gets stronger each time I’ve seen it played. Lyla saw the crowd invited to do the traditional ‘Ellis roar’ which I think is a nice touch – then we started to see unreset in the mosh pit, probably prompted by one chaps ill-advised attempt to loft three full pints over his head straight into the middle of it. Foolish. The band had to stop to try to calm things down.
Black Gold was up next – another pacey one, and unfortunately someone who’d muscled their way down to the front needed to be told again, Ken going as far as threatening to stop if it didn’t calm down in there. Without the usual ‘regulators’ there wasn’t much self-regulation going on in there, and certainly not much consideration for surroundings from a couple of people perhaps worse for drink. I don’t think there was any genuine malice, just ignorance and lack of common sense.
No sooner was action resumed it was paused again for Ken to ask the crowd if anyone had a ventolin inhaler for someone who was suffering an asthma attack, all go in this gig! The band did really well at picking up where they left off, though! Black Leg Miner was up next and then Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye where further handbags were taking place at the front – the bouncers intervened at this point and removed at least one protagonist and took a spot closer to the action to keep an eye out. The song was paused but picked up again soon enough.
The Enemy Within was up next and then into Criminal Justice. The earlier buzz (and the band were properly ‘on it’) was a bit tainted for me thanks to a couple of idiots, I popped out to cool off and have a vape, a bouncer was being very patient with a chap who’d been chucked out and was trying to charm his way back in. Back inside Quiet Paddy was on which I live-streamed to Sarah since she loves it so much, haha!
For Hell Hounds we found Sigrit who’d retreated with Aoife from the front due to the earlier shenanigans – then it was time for Freethinker, by which point it felt like the room had got its mojo back. Dan launched into the fiddle riff for Spin at the start of Mairi’s Wedding Pt II which made me chuckle – Daniel takes his medine, indeed! That left a finalé of Slow Motion Suicide and it was good to see Aoife standing on a chair playing along for the fiddle solo on an air violin!
We didn’t hang about at the end – so some quick goodbyes to people within reach (Leanne and Sigrit) and it was on the road to get home. An interesting gig, it’s only the second time I’ve seen them threaten to stop playing in all the times I’ve seen ’em, and only one of a handful of times I’ve seen any kind of untoward behaviour. Most unbecoming, but not enough to take away from a fun night and a cracking performance.