Another fine Dogfest!

As if Dogfest isn’t a prospect mouthwatering enough for your musical delectation, Bart runs a pre-Dogfest night to get you limbered up for what is to follow – so I decided to bash the two reviews together as a further time-saving measure (given I’ve got three gigs coming up this weekend, d’oh!).  We got ourselves up to The Black Market Venue in good time and for a mere fiver were granted entry to the back room where both stages were being utilised to put on an amazing line-up.

First up on the side stage were 3 Wise Men, acoustic mellow tunes with all three of ’em providing vocals at one point or another and well synchronised guitars.  In The Cold Cold Night was early in the set which was followed up with That’s Life.  I was really enjoying the set – especially a cover of Massive Attack’s Man Next Door which was simultaneously unexpected and delightful in equal measure – well worth getting in early doors for (not, of course, that the event started on time – arf!).

The Outlines were up next on the main stage – looking ever more confident in their own skins, launching into Waiting and filling the room with energetic grungy rock, a stark contrast to the gentle set before but just as enjoyable.  Static, She Don’t Know, Calm Down – all quickly establishing themselves as classics.  Next up was probably my favourite of theirs (for now) in Buried a Lie.  Tight backing vocals and Kyle’s distinctive voice over an unfeasibly heavy sound for three of ’em..

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Freeborn Al / 13th December 2017 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos

T’was Dogfest eve, babe..

Thanks John 🙂

With reports of the awful incident that caused the M1 to be closed on Friday (obviously thoughts and best wishes to everyone affected by that) I set off early to make it up to the Black Market Venue in time for us to get set up and soundchecked as we were up first for pre-Dogfest Stars Bothering on Friday.  I picked up magician Tom en route – more on his awesome skills later – and mercifully was able to get to Warsop in time and get the van parked up in the car park.

We got ourselves all set up as The Star Copiers – during the soundcheck the cajón was sounding huge – I think it could’ve done with turning up a bit during the set.  Alas I didn’t realise ’til it was too late, never mind!  As for our set, we left feeling a bit disappointed – we dropped a sound to make sure we could fit in Merry Christmas Everyone at the end and well, we all felt like we’d made a few too many mistakes.  Whilst we don’t take ourselves remotely seriously we do want to be as good as we can be!

That said, the first thing that happened when I got off the stage was to be faced by Rob who said “Al, I’m really disappointed” – I was about to concede we were a bit too, only for him to follow up with “I was expecting it to be all tuneless and rubbish!” – maybe it’s true you’re your own worst critics!  Either way, we had some fun and we started distributing the CDs we’ve had made to raise money for Framework.  The raffle on the night was also supporting them, not to mention the collection of food and toiletries occuring the next day too.

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Freeborn Al / 18th December 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Star Copying on Sunday..

img_0343Another one of those strange blog posts featuring a set where I’m actually a performer rather than spectator, but there are three other acts to cover too – I’ll cross the potential for self-reviewing when I come to it!  Stars Bothering on Sunday is – as I’ve written before – an amazing way to round off a weekend.  An early start and early finish means you don’t need to be out late if you need to get to bed early for work in the morning, and has introduced me to loads of ace new bands.

Tonight was no exception – three familiar bands on offer, one of whom breaking in a new substitute fiddle player, one I’m part of, and of course the Star Botherers themselves.  The new band for me was Swifty’s New Front Teeth who are old friends of Mark’s.  Being in an unfamiliar setting they were a bit pensive before hitting the stage, so when it came to discussions around running orders they were keen to get on first, so set about sorting out the stage.

For just the three of ’em, electric guitar, bass and drums, they make a big noise – I cunningly clocked their set list before they started, although that’s bitten me in the arse now because I didn’t make any notes, and because of the ambitious idea of squeezing four bands into a little under three hours they had to drop a few from there.  D’oh!  Just Friends kicked things off in fine style, and those pre-show nerves seemed to evaporate in no time.

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Freeborn Al / 7th November 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

The return of the Fox and the Pirate!

img_0276I wasn’t sure I’d make this, with revelry for birthday celebrations the night before I might not feel too energetic.  On the flipside, I didn’t have the north-south-north run to make – as it happened, I had some errands to run on Sunday that took me nearly half way to Warsop anyway – so well, it would’ve been daft not to have taken advantage of the opportunity to take in a bit of live music to finish up the weekend.  With an early finish it’s definitely do-able on a work night.

Plenty of folk had the same idea – there was a great gathering of friends either already at the Black Market venue or arriving shortly after me.  With tables arranged suitably it was soon time for The Star Botherers to kick things off.  The first thing I noticed was that Dave has added a cajón to his arrangement of instruments with a kick pedal that may or may not have also been attached to his tambourine, alongside his more familiar bass drum.  Exciting!

They kicked off the set with Ringing in Sick, possibly a subliminal move on Dave’s part to encourage people to take part in the quiz straight after the music – haha!  I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since I’ve heard One Inch Death Punch aside from when it pops up on a music shuffle in the car.  Just Around the Corner followed, Bart muttered something about it being his favourite of theirs – I do like it a lot too to be fair.

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Freeborn Al / 31st October 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

A bit of bothering on a Sunday..

10393576_733673203416234_6760695815172788004_nWith work on a Monday morning and travelling logistics to sort out on Sundays it renders Star Bothering on Sunday something I’ve not had the chance to do before.  A bank holiday and evening plans with friends in the area made it a distinct possibility this weekend just gone.  Albeit one we had to cut a bit short – missing the final act entirely (doubly gutting, as my friend Lynn plays flute and pennywhistle for Last Word Dogs – another time, Bart tells me they were great).

We arrived in sunny Warsop in time for a sneaky visit to the chip shop before making our way into the venue – the remnants of Mac-Stock evident from camper vans still in the car park and a pretty full room.  Star Bothering nights happen in the front room, we grabbed ourselves a drink and a seat and watched Dave and Bart grappling with the not inconsiderable amount of electrical stuff Last Word Dogs had with them.  In the meantime it was nice to just have a relaxing drink and natter with assorted folks.

IMG_3201Star Botherers were up first, already somewhat later than initially planned.  As it was Easter Sunday they introduced themselves as offering up a religious themed set – which comprised a quick run through Just Around the Corner, the song that I’ve yet to divine the title of that’s about ringing in sick at work and finally One Inch Death Punch.  Certainly it got the feet tapping around the room – and it was a very full room!  We were cautiously keeping an eye on the time.

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Freeborn Al / 29th March 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts / 0 Comments

Dogfest..

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I just spent a good ten minutes trying to think of a witty headline, and then figured – why do I need a witty headline?  Dogfest kinda speaks for itself, doesn’t it?  I certainly don’t pretend to be able to speak for it, but I’ve just breached 2,500 words trying – I’d probably better stop there!

I think this was the fourth Dogfest.  Certainly it’s the fourth Dogfest I’ve been to, and like much about Ferocious Dog related activities they illustrate a stark exponential progression – from a handful of folk rattling around the main hall of the Black Market venue in 2012 to a jam-packed room of folk, many of whom have come to be firm friends.  Plenty that’s familiar, plenty that’s grown – the only problem with that was how bloody hot the mosh pit gets in there, and the difficulty in navigating the room with tables in the middle.  Small issues with an otherwise amazing day.

It started for us at Dukeries Lodge in Edwinstowe where we set up base this weekend – breakfast was a welcome addition with Adele, Drew, Simon, Richard and Julie – whilst I might’ve overdone it more than intended at A Bit of Bothering Before Dogfest I was feeling relatively fresh.  Ella opted for a lie-in instead, and once we were about ready Becki arrived so that we could get ourselves sorted and in the car ready to head to Warsop – again, eager to get there for the start of proceedings.

We arrived in plenty of time, time to get wristbanded up, greet the countless folk also already there – and down to the stage in time for Brad Dear to open the day.  He’d got a few chaps filming some up-to-date gig footage for them – and it was great to see so many people there early and in the party spirit, I’m looking forward to seeing the footage!  Plenty of familiar songs like They SayFestival Bar Blues, Save Our Souls  and Far Away kept us all bopping and singing along.

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Freeborn Al / 15th February 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

A bit of bothering before Dogfest..

IMG_2705Of course everyone was rightly excited for Dogfest the weekend just gone, but there was the small matter of a bit of ‘bothering’ for the night before.  The bargainous sum of £5 gained entry to the main hall in the Black Market venue for a nice little warm up.  I arrived in where we were staying in Edwinstowe and met up with Ella and Simon who were awaiting a bit of food, giving me time to get checked in and finish up my working week with a couple of conference calls (oh such fun!)

Once that was over and we were suitably fed and relaxed we hopped into the car for the short drive to Warsop – keen to arrive in time for the first act, easily making it in time for a marathon round of hellos before heading through to the main room.  First a word for Black Market Brewery‘s offerings – well recommended for ale lovers, after a warning from Dave (which I suspect for many would be an advert!) I steered clear of Insane but did enjoy a few pints of Illicit and Imposter, quickly putting paid to my plan of not going to mad with alcohol.

First up on stage was the inimitable Brian Stone.  He is building in confidence more and more – although taken aback at how many people had made it to the wilds of Warsop for a 6pm start.  Launching into Life Begins at 50 his set was an energetic singalong both of his own songs and an eclectic selection of cover versions like Believers by Levellers and Ward the Pirate.  Highlights for me were his own song Where is all the Rum Gone evoking memories of that campfire at Farmer Phil’s, and a raucous singalong of Gaz Brookfield’s Let the East Winds Blow to finish.

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Freeborn Al / 14th February 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

It’s all about Drew..

IMG_2295There’s a common phrase that behind every great man there’s a great woman – of course, ignoring the simplistic assumptions around sexuality and dated notions around gender-equality it’s a nice sentiment.  The reason it sprang to mind when finally getting around to write about Drew’s 50th birthday bash which happened last weekend is that he and Adele kinda turn that on its head.  Whilst Nana is the public face of the kitchen that bears her name, Drew is the ever-dependable dude there too.

Anyway, I digress.  For months Adele had been plotting a surprise party for Drew to be hosted at the Black Market Venue in Warsop.  Why I’ve felt compelled to write about a private party on here is that every person in the room bar one, indeed, the room itself, were only known to me either directly or indirectly because of Ferocious Dog.  Folk met at gigs or festivals all of which I attended because of the spark the band provided and ignited me into a sometimes non-stop gig and festival going machine.

We had arrived in Warsop early – I’d picked up Ella and Dave from Loughborough station and after a tea stop at home we headed straight up there via grabbing Andy in Clifton.  So there was time aplenty for chat with the other attendees before we were ushered into the main hall at the back.  It’s been lovingly redecorated since I last went and we were soon all clustered behind the curtain in front of the main stage.  Drew was ostensibly just being taken for a drink in the bar area with a few local folk ahead of a trip to Nottingham the next day to see The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican.

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Freeborn Al / 22nd December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Dogfest 2016 – going, going… gone!

If you blinked you might’ve missed the window of opportunity for ordering tickets for Dogfest 2016 which went on sale shortly after the Rock City gig.  Dan announced on Facebook he was putting on sale the remainder of the tickets for the event on 13th February 2016 – which will once again be hosted at The Black Market Venue in Warsop – and it’s now officially sold out in a matter of days.

The line-up is all but confirmed – with one slot remaining for prospective bands to vie for – there’s been some amazing suggestions on the thread in the Facebook group already, so if any of those are successful in getting the final place it’ll be a fine addition to what is already a stellar line-up.  Gaz Brookfield isn’t available for the date sadly, although y’know, you need to mix it up a bit – he’s done the last two Dogfests after all!

Quite a change from the first Dogfest I attended back in 2012 – that definitely wasn’t a sell out, and my own attitude was less committed too.  We hotfooted it up mainly to see Ferocious Dog finish the day off having been at the football in the afternoon.  Fast forward to 2013 and there was merchandise and a lot more people, 2014 I think was sold out and amazing, of course 2015 was skipped to make way for Rock City and a change of date for February in 2016.

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Freeborn Al / 2nd December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

On this day..

My first Ferocious Dog gig on this day in 2011!

My first Ferocious Dog gig on this day in 2011!

I loaded up Timehop this morning, as I do most mornings.  Timehop is an app you can install on your phone and it will trawl through your photos, Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out what you’d been up to on a particular day in previous years.  For a maudlin nostalgia-junkie like me it’s a fun way to peruse things and see how things have changed over years gone, or just jog your memory of things you might’ve been up to.

So, on 19th May four years ago today I excitedly finished up my working day then headed up to the Black Market Venue in Warsop to see Mark Chadwick play a solo gig supported by, of course Ferocious Dog.  Because when picking up the ticket from Dan a couple of weeks prior I was given an EP I already knew four tracks – Quiet Paddy, Criminal Justice, Mairi’s Wedding Part II and On the Rocks.  They’d been on somewhat of a heavy playing cycle in the run-up to this gig.

I remember Ken and Dave both looked at me a bit funny as I was singing along to them despite never having seen them before.

Back then the set opened – I think – with Burford Stomp, a cover version of the song the Levellers recorded for Rev Hammer‘s Freeborn John album – it involved a bandana-clad Ellis taking the stage first with an energetic solo that the band joined in with.  I have no real memory of the set list but there were a fair few cover versions – certainly River O’Joe and What You Know featured along with Burford Stomp.  I have been able to dredge a video out of my archives of that first gig for me along with the photo.

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