The Pests from the West beat the Beast from the East..
In true British fashion social and mainstream media alike was awash with perhaps rather exaggerated fears regarding the weather, casting doubt on whether the Warsop leg of The Leylines tour would happen. It’s true some areas of the country really were hammered, but certainly North Nottinghamshire was okay, it put paid to a few acts making it, but some redrafting by Dave and some rearrangements meant a splendid day of music would definitely go ahead – with some hardy souls camping in the car park from the night before!
For our own part, both Ella and Morgan had fairly chunky distances to come – Ella and Becki drove up to mine the night before in occasionally grim conditions, with Nick and Morgan joining us in the morning in plenty of time for a sit and chill before we convoyed up to The Black Market Venue without incident – we could’ve probably squeezed into one car but it proved to come in handy later having two. Once at the venue there was time to catch up with folk in the bar side before the main room was open.
First up were Darwin’s Rejects – we got Ella and Morgan’s stuff sorted by their stage as they struck up with Phat Bollard’s Millionnaires – I must say they were sounding the most tight I’ve seen ’em, and as a fellow box banger I did have slight envy of Rob’s cymbal/tambourine stand! A Levellers section comprised Sell Out and then a Leylines style arrangement of Fifteen Years with the slow build up. Back to grassroots and Ferocious Dog’s Unconditional and Headsticks Cold Grey English Skies were up next.
Right from Rob’s double-thump on the box I knew Battle of the Beanfield was up next, then a cover of today’s headliner The Leylines with Let It Go. Levellers were back with Riverflow, then a cracking acoustic version of Ferocious Dog’s Freeborn John which I last heard them do at Rich’s party back in October, I couldn’t tell you whether the fast bit at the end was included then or not – but it struck me this time! They finished up the set with a rousing rendition of Levellers’ classic What a Beautiful Day.
I’d snagged myself a spot to do a sneaky live stream of Morganella who were up next – which you can watch here should you so wish (and I think you should!). They’d had a chance of getting a quick practice in the front room before the doors had opened, it’s hard to believe sometimes how infrequently they get to rehearse together really – they struck up with Daisies and Sunshine, I think it makes much more sense to emphasise your own songs right from the off like this (although the old traditional opener of Black Horse and a Cherry Tree does sound amazing too).
Next was Fight Your Own Battles, an apt song to be singing on this particular day – 3rd of March of course is the anniversary of the day in 2012 when Lee Bonsall tragically took his own life in the thralls of PTSD. A cover was up next, Skunk Anansie’s Weak has become a staple of their set over the last few months, Morgan’s acoustic rendering on guitar and Ella’s powerful vocals combine brilliantly for a new take on an iconic song. Next up was their festival tribute Memories, still relatively hot of the press but sounding great.
The Standing Stone of Onich is my favourite song of theirs – about an ultimately rather underwhelming standing stone we saw on holiday in Glencoe last year, the folk tale Ella has crafted for it and Morgan’s guitar work make for a spellbinding song. Another cheeky cover of Frank Turner’s Photosynthesis was next before finishing up with another new song in Dancing with your Demons. Quite impressive really – a 5:2 ratio of originals to covers (and in reality they could’ve played the two songs they didn’t from their EP too to make it 100%), but I think a nice mixture and a solid performance.
King of Rome were up next in full four-piece form – guitar, many stringed things for Ian, a double-bass and the inimitable Big Bob on the box gave them a fulsome gritty folky sound combined with Martin’s gravelly voice. Johnny Come Lately was up first, and then a stark warning about the dangers of hanging around brothels in the form of the strangely moving Honey (which DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show do an ace version of too). I want to say the next song was called Rolling Roads but I might be wrong on that. I was, it’s Roman Road!
I don’t think I’ve seen full-on four piece King of Rome since Ey Up Mi Duck last year (when I was very drunk), so I was particularly enjoying the bass accompaniment! Fisherman’s Blues gave the crowd a great singalong opportunity, then it was on to Sons and Lovers – a great version of the tune. Saw Doctors classic The Green and Red of Mayo was up next, then one I missed the title of which featured something to do with gambling from what I can vaguely recall (this was still early doors in a long day!). The set was finished up with Welfare Hall and signature tune King of Rome. I do like King of Rome!
Pete Drake was really excited to be boosted to the main stage up next. In a similar (but not in a copying way) vein to The Star Botherers he’s an artist who probably describes himself as novelty which belies his clever song writing (and he’s pretty nifty on a guitar too in spite of what he might claim!). He’s a bloody funny chap, and his lyrics are definitely irreverent – each time I see him (and I think this is the fourth) he looks more confident up there. He interspersed his songs with an empassioned sales pitch for the plastic 6 inch rules he’d had made up.
He opened up with The Weekend Song, opening track from his EP (there’s a new EP coming this year too!) – then on to the story of him making costumes for his children in a school play, The Owl and the Dolphin. It was fun to watch Bart watching with a massive grin on his face – Pete’s definitely on Bart’s wavelength. Accidentally Found is brilliant, about assorted discoveries that were made by accident. Anthemic Never Stick Your Finger Up Your Nose (which escalates quickly!) – which I remember hearing from my van at Roystonbury in 2016 whilst it was lashing it down with rain!
A fun set was drawing to a close though – the final tree tracks were the title track from the forthcoming EP The Man Who Stole My Suitcase, then it was either Hyper Quandriac (which is definitely how he prounounced it!) or Hypochondriac – and finally the strangely moving and ultimately hilarious Oddly Excluded. A really fun set, I’m looking forward to picking up Pete’s next EP which will be ready by Ey Up Mi Duck this year, so be sure to pick one up then – but not before I’ve got mine, I hasten to add!
Northern Monkey were up next – this was definitely the day for cajon goodness, I decided! They launched into Bound for Bedlam and then What’s Going On. I remember them describing themselves as a bipolar band in the past, either trading in euphoria or misery, I would definitely say this set was closer to the former than the latter in this instance. This is not my England was up next and then Co-Exist (one of Mr Lindley’s favourites!), and then up was (I think) Hola Valencia.
Monday Morning was up next then Ketamine Kim and finally a song I missed the title of (partly because I was contemplating a trip to the chip shop, I must confess) that was about being poor – a really fun set though, I dashed to the chip shop with Dean, Sarah and Amanda. Amanda was planning on driving back that afternoon – we quickly brokered a deal whereby I could drop her home at the end of the night (with absolutely no peer-pressure from Sarah at all.. *ahem*). This is where us arriving in two cars would first prove useful! We also discovered that Pete Drake’s rulers were woefully inadequate.
By the time we’d got back from some lovely chip shop goodness Blue Vulture were underway on the main stage – so I’m not sure how much I’d missed but they were into a rousing cover of Ever Fallen in Love by The Buzzcocks. I picked up a couple of original songs called Sonic and Joe 90 in there too. A cover of 80s classic Hungry Like The Wolf got a bunch of folk on the dancefloor (not least Sarah, as predicted by Dean who was sat with me at the time), they finished up their set with We Can’t Help Ourselves.
Next on the side stage were Ghosts of Men who are not strangers to me, but I was pleased to see they had merch with them as I’d never got around to getting their CDs. They were awesome – just Clegg on guitar and vocals and Ads on drums and backing vocals. They describe themselves as heavy dancey rock – and that’s a pretty good definition. They make a LOT of noise for two of them, and are deceptive on what their songs are call. Luckily armed with the CDs I later purloined I have identified some of them, if not the order!
They also brought a raffle draw on stage with them, which baffled much of the room who’d not seen any raffle tickets on sale – of course, that was the gag – quite expertly delivered. They are a comedy duo as much as a band as well at times. But anyway, I definitely think I heard Breathe In (Bleed Out), I Don’t Feel Right, Hey Now, Not for Sale, Crawl and Little Death (which has an awesome 360 degree video – see below for that and make sure you rotate your way around it. Dave was close by and clearly hadn’t seen these guys before, he was loving it – so hopefully we’ll see them back at The Market soon!
Set up on the main stage was Brad Dear, who is now Brad Dear and The March in full band form, although this was a three piece acoustic arrangement with Andy galivanting around Spain (I think). So yet more cajon ogling for me with Chris on a box, with a foot jingle and a shaker too. Coordinated bugger. They opened up with Circles and Roundabouts and then into Walls by which point Brad had snapped a string, leading to some top filling in by Lizzie, resplendent in the sparkliest dress on the planet (although she refused to tell us a joke!).
Sail Away was up next and then EP title track The Only Road I Know. The still unnamed song is becoming one of my favourites, I just love the plucked violin riff in there, it’s so unfeasibly catchy! Save Our Souls was up next and then Special Brew, I got singled out despite sitting quite far back to join in the conga line – it was a good laugh though, we even managed to branch off and form a split conga line at one point, and even an infinity conga line! I’m Still Here I think was meant to be the final song, but with shouts for an encore and time for it we were treated to a bonus They Say. Cracking set.
Brad has an album coming out soon which you can pre-order here. Phill who produced Ferocious Dog’s The Red Album has worked on it, which bodes very well indeed. He’s a talented chap.
On the side stage we’d been watching CAMBODiA set up, which had puzzled me as Parson’s Lot’s Jethro was amongst them. It turns out we’d get to see another side to the multi-talented Jethro this evening. Folk band frontman, poet, artistic superviser and – visceral punk frontman too! I managed to miss the name of the first song which was full on Oi Punk sounding, Jethro spitting out machine gun lyrics (and interestingly no customary music stand to help as an aide memoire like he does with Parson’s Lot quite often!).
A turbo-charged rendition of Bastard Beer was next (and still included the tin whistle which I’m pleased about!), Sticky Vicky was up next and then My Girlfriend was a Grave Robber which went down so well that across the room it prompted Dean to perform a moving table dance for Sarah, ha! Our Jud was inspired by the film Kes, then there was a track I missed the name of documenting the shortfalls of our education system in its bid to champion certain areas over others. They finished up with CCTV and Sex Pistols inspired Never Mind the Bollocks. A rip roaring set. Definitely surprised a few folk in the room, self included!
The Outlines were a very welcome last minute stand-in – always good value for my money, they launched into Waiting and then Static. During She Don’t Know a clandestine rendezvous with John led us to the kitchen were a beaming Dave invited us all to grab a portion of chilli with nachos which was bloody good! Calm Down was up next and then, ooh, a new song – I Want It All, sounded really good. It’s ace when bands start dropping new songs as you can start to contemplate that they’re working on new releases!
Buried a Lie was up next, then a sneaky cover of Green Day’s She. Sound of Rain followed this, and then what I think must be another new track in Tomorrow. We were back on familiar territory with Streets of England and Vanilla Poison, with loud cries for an encore there was time for an extra track – which was another new song called Cradle. An excellent last minute substitution from Dave – good work! And hopefully the startings of a new album in the offing too with some new tracks in the bag.
Next up were Star Botherers in three piece guise – kicking off with 13 Years in Oregon it was into Just Around the Corner (with a bit of a false start, ha!). First Night Festival Fever is fast becoming a crowd favourite judging by the singing along from all around the room, then Hubball Shuffle had an outing – I’d seen Kev in the front bar earlier in the day but not in the back room. It doesn’t matter though it’s a great song and another singalong number (which of their songs aren’t, in fairness?).
One Inch Death Punch was up next, then a welcome return for My National Trust which I don’t think I’ve heard since Rockstock in April last year (and possibly at the album launch night in November thinking about it). I always like an excuse for doing a spot of howling for the ‘dogging’ bit, and of course everyone loves to bellow I WON’T PAY THAT FOR JAM! They finished their set up with When Dave’s Dead – another firm favourite with the crowd – almost outrageous in its subject matter but retaining charm and more importantly hilarity and singalongability. Great fun!
The penultimate act was Pretty Babs, they kicked off energetically into Fade So Low and then I Wouldn’t Rule It Out. They were sounding really tight, Down in the Alley was up next before an intriguing and alluring interlude from Craig who’d learned the riff from Electric Six’s Gay Bar and busted it out at insistence from the crowd, Sam and Brad started to join in before getting back to plan and hitting us with Buttons and Pennies. I’m definitely hoping they might consider getting Gay Bar learned though – it would be an epic cover to throw into a set!
The Storm was next on the set list, followed by a new track The Fall. Then back onto familiar territory with Up From The Floorboards, then another song whose name I missed, but had something to do with stalkers from what I could pick up from the pre-song chat. Finally they finished up with Don’t Step on the Moor – another solid set, really liking the new songs too. So there you go – TWELVE bands in the run up to the headline act who’d arrived over the course of the afternoon and were now busy underway getting themselves set up.
So all that remained was The Leylines to get underway – they got themselves ready and launched into My Own Worst Enemy – I didn’t immediately identify it because the addition of Dan on electric guitar has started to influence arrangements, there was some nice rockier elements to the intro which I mightily approve of. Instrumental Stone Circle was up next which got the room bouncing, and morphs straight into You’ve Changed which again, definitely has more distinct bits of electric guitar work in there. Great development.
Standing By The Waterside is from the soon-to-be-recorded new album, then into Hannah’s Song and Sorry My Friends. The pace was slowed for the haunting In Your Shadow (I’m going to get repetitive hear but Dan’s electric guitar work jumped out particularly toward the end, really adding to the atmosphere and giving it an almost prog rock dimension (something I wholly approve of)). Let It Go was up next then Fly Away which is nearly as catchy even being a relatively new song.
Storm was a new song to me and sounded great, then Steve talked very movingly about the significance of the date and explained that Queen and Country had been dropped from the set in the tour so far but it was back in today in Lee’s honour. It was very moving, there were a few damp eyes in the room, I livestreamed it to the Ferocious Dog facebook group so you can watch it back (unfortunately I missed Steve’s pre-amble). Broken and Alone was another new song, amazing guitar solo and Hannah solely on backing vocals and tambourine, I’m more excited by the new album the more I hear of their new songs.
Run for Cover had an extended intro to allow Joel and Aoife to join the band on stage (Sigrit, Erik and Aoife had travelled over from The Netherlands, another couple had come from Germany – it’s a shame that a few more folk didn’t brave the weather that really wasn’t that bad!). Ella was on stage too to provide backing vocals as she does on the album track. The appropriate Long Way From Home was up next, and then the encore comprised of a rousing Sat in a Field. It was a superb set to top off a fantastic day – well done Dave, Colleen and team!
Make sure you check out The Leylines crowdfunding campaign to get their new album recorded.
We got back to the cars, I gave my house keys to the other car and headed north to drop Amanda off, then Andy on the way back home before reconvening with the gang at mine. The roads were fine until getting close to mine although snow was falling again. All in all, a splendid do. There was even camembert in the oven when I got back – if that’s not winning, I don’t know what is!