2017 – the ‘slow down year’..

Whilst I always seem to be busy, 2017 was a quieter year than the last couple – that’s borne out by the blog activity, 68 posts this year compared to 90 in 2016.  Home ownership, life events and an inherent need to slow down a little bit (but only a little) took its toll.

There were a few occasions where I bundled events into single mega-posts rather than splitting them out that might be artificially manipulating the statistics downward.  But on the music front it’s been another belting year, regardless!

January got underway pretty late with a trip to Droitwich to see Nick Parker and Paul Henshaw, an ace gig and a chance to finally put a visual reference to a place that had always stuck in my mind from DFS adverts of yore.  Now I’m just looking to head to Darley-Dale and Measham for gigs and I can tick off the sofa-based trilogy of places from those cursed interludes that used to plague us between films around Christmas in the 80s and early 90s!

February was a little livelier, we had a trip with off-duty Nick Parker to see previously unheard of Kevin Devine in Nottingham which was awesome, great support too from The Lion and the Wolf and George Gadd.  Ferocious Dog dropped their From Without acoustic album to us which went down very well indeed, whilst Mad Dog Mcrea played an amazing set in Nottingham along with The Outlines and Star Botherers (I’m not sure if they’d officially dropped the ‘the’ by this point!).

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Freeborn Al / 30th December 2017 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos

A cheesy escapade to see Gaz in Ashby..

Last night was a landmark gig – one I could taxi to and from to home, woo!  Gaz Brookfield has made Ashby-de-la-Zouch an annual stop for his tour, and generally it centres around someone’s birthday – and features the patent-pending Ashby ‘cake break’ in between two sets.  Being so close Dave and Andy came over to stay, both armed with cheese (hurrah!) for a late night snack once home, some of the cheese in the sealed Tupperware box Dave brought so powerful it even broke through the airtight seal to make the house smell of, well, bum! Haha!

A taxi was duly arranged and into Ashby we headed – a quick cash point trip and we spotted an alluring micropub opposite the venue for a cheeky pint, before heading on over to the Bulls Head – a really nice traditional pub on the high street, to find it full of very familiar faces.  Best of all, they had cider from the same stockist that the amazing Scrumptiddly Cider Bar of Rockstock and Barrel fame on offer – rhubarb initially which once emptied was replaced with mango (whether it was a godless mango or not wasn’t specified).  Either way it kept me very happy for the night!

As gig time approached Jamie took to the mic to introduce ‘the marvellous Gaz Brookfield’ – a fitting accolade, but as Gaz pointed out, people probably shouldn’t expect a magic act from him – arf.  With such a friendly familiar crowd it was a very relaxed feeling performance which is always a pleasure to bear witness to – he launched into Solo Acoustic Guy, including amusing echoing on the ‘a touch of reverb if ya like, like, like, like, like’ line.

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Freeborn Al / 3rd March 2017 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Happy birthday.. Woop and He-lennnn…

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… alright, in my head the headline went with Levellers song Happy Birthday Revolution – but that might be a bit of a stretch (I think it’s a Rev Hammer song originally anyway!).  Come to think of it, it fits the first line of Ruby Bridges too!

As usual I digress from the start.  I love nights like tonight!  A bit of a no-brainer thing to say really, I’ve been in a pub watching Gaz Brookfield – but when festival and gig friends have parties it’s ace, because you get to be part of the melting pot of all the different strands of their lives coming together.  So it was that Jamie and Helen celebrated their respective birthdays – crossing the streams of family, friends from other areas of their lives and festival weirdos like me in the White Hart in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Being a work day – and being near enough directly on my way home from work – I drove up straight from the West Midlands with the thought of grabbing a bite to eat in the pub.  The birthday duo were already present, ‘supervising’ Jon setting up the sound.  Time for a natter: Helen works for a competitor of my work – but we didn’t bother talking shop, that’s not what nights like this are for!  Soon enough Gaz arrived, followed shortly after by Teresa, Simon, Dave, Caroline, John, Angela and Joel – so loads of familiar faces along with the other lovely people heading into the pub.

IMG_3358It’s worth mentioning the pub – a surprisingly roomy heavily beamed drinking den with a stuffed bear in the cellar you could look at through glass.  That’s right.  A stuffed bear.  There’s a picture over there if you don’t believe me.  Apparently history would have it the landlord of the pub in days of yore once kept a live bear in his cellar, which come kicking out time he’d set upon reluctant drunks who wouldn’t vacate the premises!

And here’s me getting a bit uppity when you get a surly bouncer asking you to leave a gig venue because they are keen to open a crappy club night!

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Freeborn Al / 8th April 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments