The south-west? We shall exit ‘er in Exeter..

Well, now the dust has settled and I’ve grabbed a few hours of kip in my own bed it brings us to the Exeter leg of the tour.  Having surfaced and written yesterday’s blog I got the call from Dan on loading times from the venue, so I checked out and staggered that way to find John and Scott had pretty much got everything out of The Hub and we just had to wait for the bus (or ‘the buzz’ if you’re John) to load up.  It’s worth considering at this point how much stuff it takes to make a Ferocious Dog gig.  Just some of it is pictured below.

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It’s fairly obvious really – there’s six of ’em, Ellis plays about eight million instruments, there’s a drum kit – there’s amps, there’s merchandise, there’s the stage backdrop and assorted maintenance kit, there’s a few spare guitars for quick changes in case of string snappage.  Then of course there’s up to ten people in the bus too along with their travelling gear (in our case we only had six of us for most of our journeying).  It’s a logistical challenge for sure – and Waggy and Ken are masters of the game of 3D Tetris involved in getting everything in the back section of the dog bus.

When you see a band playing to a group of people going crazy, people eulogising about them on Facebook (not least me) and clamouring to get photos or just talk after gigs it’s easy to forget after that it’s the same people – admittedly with some help from venue staff or folk they might have on tour with them – who will be packing everything up and getting it either in the bus or ready to collect in the morning.  It makes Ken’s mingling with the crowd after gigs all the more charming – and it’s not an act either, he turns heads and starts conversations wherever he goes!

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Freeborn Al / 19th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

Ply-mouth to mouth.. resuscitation required..

The morning after the night before wasn’t too bad in Bridport – a relatively early rise, a return to the venue to meet Ken and Waggy to load up the van then a return to my hotel for and awesome breakfast before reconvening to prepare for our onward journey.  Scott and John were ready but it was a little more challenging to get Ellis upright.

The locals passing by as the van was loaded were all really friendly – a few had been to the gig, others drawn by Ken’s unusual appearance in the area.  It gave rise to some conspiracy theories on the bus that it was all a front for some kind of Hot Fuzz style hidden sinister society underpinning the place, everything just seemed so lovely and welcoming – I’m not sure that’s really true, but it made for some amusing bus banter.

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The going was good before the roads became terrifying!

The run from Bridport to Plymouth is relatively straight forward so was done and dusted reasonably quickly.  With John added to team crossword we did a bit better on this trip.  As we didn’t have a cigarette stop it’s true that Ellis did start to get a little bit agitated – the signal for this I’ve discovered is when he starts to quote from Robocop!  It does make for an entertaining end of journey though, although judging by the look on John’s face maybe it’s novelty factor from my point of view!

Moments later the RoboCop quotes were out in earnest!  "You see I got this problem..."

Moments later the RoboCop quotes were out in earnest! “You see I got this problem…”

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Freeborn Al / 18th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

Bridport down, Plymouth and Exeter to go!

Initially it was quite the intellectual journey

Initially it was quite the intellectual journey

It was slightly earlier start than initially planned as Ken kindly offered me the opportunity to skip driving to the South West for this leg of the tour and hitch a ride on Cerebus, the Ferocious Dog minibus.

I should’ve grabbed a picture or two really – I’ll try to remember tomorrow.  I got myself up to Trowell Services for the pick up and procured a massive box of doughnuts as they arrived, with Ken in the driving seat, along with Waggy, Scott and Ellis – all mostly in good spirits, Scott’s previous evening’s alcohol consumption aside.

Waggy took over driving duties and we were off to Bridport via picking up John off the M5.

Cerebus is awesome – emblazoned with Ferocious Dog graphics on the outside, and inside the middle row of seats are replaced by a table printed with an image of the band making it spacious and comfortable compared to a typical cramped minibus for someone of my height.  It certainly draws a lot of looks on the motorway from passing motorists too.  The windows at the back are blacked out too, mercifully considering later on…

The journey down was fun – we joined the M5 at the junction after the service station we were meeting John and after 16 miles or so of not seeing any services realised so doubled back to collect him.  Oops.  In the meantime Ellis and I had made a solid attempt at the crossword (ahem) and watched Scott transition from still-drunk to getting-hungover.  The new Ferocious Dog tracks were on the stereo and it was interesting to listen to them talking about little bits and pieces they were happy and less happy with.  There was even a sneak peak of prospective new album artwork passed around which looks great.

.... but once cabin fever kicked in somewhere on the M5...

…. but once cabin fever kicked in somewhere on the M5…

Once John was on board our party was complete – Dan and Leanne were travelling down separately by car and Les too was meeting us down in Bridport.  A couple of stops for toilet breaks and cigarette breaks from the increasingly agitated Ellis and Scott and eventually we were honing in on Bridport – only to encounter a series of bizarre road closures, suicidal parking and general kerfuffles – however, we did make it and ingratiate ourselves with the locals with a quiet and dignified drive through the quite well-to-do looking Dorset town.  Ahem.

Whilst much of what happens on the bus must stay on the bus, the overwhelming experience is one of a bunch of fellas who are down to earth and loving what they do – albeit well hidden in the case of a certain hungover drummer.  He did perk up as the day went on though and was in high spirits but the end of the night.  It will be interesting to see what level of inebriation he’s managed to achieve this evening when we reconvene in the morning!

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Freeborn Al / 17th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

The real derby day this weekend was in.. well.. Derby!

Scotty - proving to be a bit of a hotty with the Ferocious lady folk

Scotty – proving to be a bit of a hotty with Ferocious lady folk

Folk might’ve been getting excited about the Manchester derby this weekend, but for Hell Hounds derby day was the day before (although Dan at least I imagine enjoyed United’s 4-2 triumph over City this afternoon – nice belated birthday present!).

Derby is not far off a home town gig, really – and it shows, whilst Bodega sold out in around twenty minutes tickets for the gig at The Hairy Dog in Derby were gone in a little under an hour too I believe.  Plenty of Hell Hounds made arrangements to congregate in places prior to coming together at the venue, for me I was continuing my weekend of being an itinerant hobo and staying with Lisa and Paul (along with Rachel) so I travelled into Derby with them, but not before meeting their newly acquired ferret!

It was straight to the venue via the chippy on the corner for us with Mel, and then once at the Hairy Dog, a rock bar with the venue upstairs, catching up with the countless friends out in force for the gig.  Dave, a friend of Lisa and Ferocious Dog virgin, met us outside the bar, after sinking a few beers Dean elected it was my turn to go up on the surfboard – more on that later, a fairly unconventional and ungraceful performance on that front.

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Freeborn Al / 12th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

FD put a smile on Cambridge’s boat race..

IMG_9506Back on the road for the recommencement of the tour.  My original plan for Cambridge was just to drive there and back, it’s not a million miles away from where I live and there’s the promise of Derby the following night, but thanks to the hospitality of Brian and Karen I did end up staying and having a few cheeky ciders in Cambridge which is a nice bonus – particularly with them both off on their travels today.  Thank you very much, both!

On the drive into Cambridge along with Brian’s cousin John, a Ferocious Dog debutant, I wondered whether Ken had been sticking up the assorted Vote Labour boards I saw on the way in.  It doesn’t strike me as a typically Labour area – maybe that’s why those supporters that are there feel the need to advertise! – but I didn’t see any other political parties represented.  Either way, it was no time at all before we’d parked up coincidentally arriving at the same time as Simon and Ella and parking up right behind them.

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Freeborn Al / 11th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands / 0 Comments

Har-low can you go?

IMG_9368After a bit of an enforced break from ‘dogging’ it was back into action yesterday, hitting the road for I think my furthest flung Ferocious Dog gig in Harlow, Essex.  With the threat of the M25 around rush hour I allowed plenty of time for the drive and predictably hit no traffic at all, arriving at the venue and parking up with an hour and a half to spare before opening.  Oops!  Dan and Leanne arrived moments later, the rest of the band were already in situ.

Luckily The Square has a bar area that was open so it was there I headed and earwigged the sound-checking as more folk began to arrive.  After getting armbanded up and heading upstairs the gig venue was pretty compact – wide with a shallow dance floor with a worryingly nearby staircase you could end up getting launched down – luckily the mosh pit wasn’t too expansive so that never proved to be too much of a risk!

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Freeborn Al / 28th March 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands / 0 Comments

New album nearing completion – what splendour!

000A typically teasing Dan post in the Ferocious Dog Facebook group today revealed that Les has been in the studio today finishing off his guitar pieces for the forthcoming album, with Dan and Ellis due in this week to finish off followed by Ken next week along with an orchestra (!).  This of course implies that John and Scott are one-take wonders.

A suitably exciting way to build up to the live action restarting this Friday at The Square in Harlow.  I’m looking forward to hitting the road to Essex for the next instalment of the tour – just another week of work to get out the way first!

In other news the band have confirmed they’re appearing at Nottingham’s Splendour festival this year – teeing up The Twang and Bananarama on the Confetti Stage meaning that they’ll be finished in time to check out James and The Specials on the Main Stage which – no disrespect to The Twang or Bananarama – works well for me!  It’s not the first time Ferocious Dog have appeared at the festival but this time at a much more conducive time of the day.

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Freeborn Al / 23rd March 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands / 0 Comments

And the devil sends his ale hounds for me, boys..

Martin Gormley posted in the Ferocious Dog Facebook group earlier confessing to a mis-heard lyric situation – we’ve all been there.  In his case it was the very name of the song that featured in the error though!  In Hell Hounds rather than “And the devil sends his hell hounds for me boys” he was merrily singing along “And the devil sends his ale hounds for me boys” – which if you listen to it could be understandable given Ken’s accent (and if you go to the trouble to forget what the song is called!).

It got me thinking of my own mishearing of Ferocious Dog songs – indeed, Hell Hounds was my the source favourite one – in the line “Tonight I lay with a buxom whore in a brothel drenched in beer” I had somehow conspired to hear it as “Tonight I lie with a buxom whore on the bonnet of an HGV” – have a listen, tell me I’m wrong!  The mental image it’s evoked tickled me so much I got my sketch book out.  I apologise unreservedly to Kenny for my awful caricature skills!

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Freeborn Al / 19th March 2015 / Band, Hell Hounds, Music, Thoughts / 0 Comments

Freeborn Al / 16th March 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

Talk of the Tarn..

Another day, another chance to discover a new venue for a Ferocious Dog gig!  Barnsley Rock and Blues sits near the hospital in Barnsley and comprises a friendly bar with a hidden gem of a venue room at the back – something Andy and I rather spoiled the surprise of by arriving early and inadvertently going in via the back way, but never mind, huh?  It was a good chance for Andy to catch the end of the egg-chasing and to watch the end of the Burnley vs Man City match along with Dan and Ken.

Anyone local should pop back tomorrow (well, later today now) to check out the Star Botherers.

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Freeborn Al / 15th March 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments