The year the music died?

Image credit: christhebarker

2016 will probably go down as one of those years where sad news overshadowed the good – certainly that was true for me both in personal terms, which I won’t cover here, but also the seemingly relentless march of famous icons being taken by the grim reaper.  Just as we were coming to terms with Lemmy passing away at the end of 2015, in 2016 we’d be constantly reminded by social media of a glittering parade of cultural icons shuffling from this mortal coil.

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Jimmy Bain, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee, Frank Kelly, George Martin, Keith Emerson, Frank Sinatra Jr, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, David Gest, Victoria Wood, Lonnie Mack, Prince, John Berry, Nick Menza, Muhammad Ali, Henry McCullough, Anton Yelchin, Caroline Aherne, Kenny Baker, Dalian Atkinson, Gene Wilder, Pete Burns, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Liz Smith, Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

That’s not an exhaustive list, I’m sure, but that’s not really what I wanted this blog post to be about – but you can’t really do a review of the year without mentioning the elephant in the room.  As with seemingly most things these days it caused ruckuses on Facebook with folk taking to social media to express their sadness whilst others get irked at seeming over-emotionalness.  Certainly there’s a lot in that list who whilst I’ve never met have had huge influences over my life, and I felt genuine sadness at them moving on – some seemingly far too early, others having reached a ripe of age.


Freeborn Al / 30th December 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Beware the Silk Leylines!

img_0335Nice little triple-header gigs like this are a real treat – particularly since fate conspired against me making it to the Hairy Dog (or rather, my energy levels did!) to see Ferocious Dog the night before as I’d originally planned.  A blast down the M42 and M40 takes you to Banbury from my house in a little over an hour, a small inconvenience stacked up against a free gig at The Wheatsheaf – a splendid traditional pub nestling in the town.

We arrived pretty early really, catching up with assorted folk in the venue rather than venturing forth to find what was probably a very drunken gathering of folk who’d been in Banbury since the night before.  A local character who introduced himself as ‘Hat Man’ was a particular highlight whilst nattering with Hannah and Dan outside.  In the venue we could hear strains of the first act soundchecking which boded very well for the gig – since we already knew the remaining two would be ace.

So Beware This Boy were up first – a traditional folk rock sound infused with fiddle to accompany the guitar, bass, drums and vocals also present.  Hailing from Oxford, I really enjoyed the set.  Singer Simon wasn’t big on telling us song names, although he did a few times (and I’ve derived a few more from the CD I bought from them after the set), the first song names were a mystery but Won’t Care came in at three.


Freeborn Al / 6th November 2016 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Along the old straight track.. to Banbury!

IMG_4335I didn’t really have any definitive plans for Friday – Ella made the suggestion of going to see The Leylines in Banbury, which is a pretty good idea – and an opportunity to try a spot of stealth camping proper!  Once work was finished I hit the road and arrived to find a handy parking spot, for the princely sum of 80p I was sorted until 7pm from which the parking was free until the next morning – all within a short stagger of the venue!

Once the bed was down in the back and sorted, I was able to catch up with Addie and Jane grabbing some food in the Wetherspoon’s round the corner (seeing most of the band getting settled in to The Swan on the way past) – by the time we’d finished in at the pub we went back round to the venue – Mark and Rob followed, then Maty and Pil and finally Simon and Ella.  There was a slight lack of t-shirt communication with Ella and I both wearing a Sweetchunks Bees t-shirt – I had to nip back to the van to change out of mine!

Soon enough the rest of the band arrived – some deft van reversing from Dave gave them the chance to get unloaded at set up.  The Swan is a nice little pub with a small area up front which disappears off in an L shape around the bar, with another room around the back.  We’d assumed they’d be playing in the back room – but no, they were setting up – all five of ’em – in the front area for what would prove to be a very intimate setting.  Suits me!  It definitely wasn’t me that set off the smoke alarm with an electronic cigarette.  I blame Mark!


Freeborn Al / 26th June 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments