2015 – The year of the Dog..

12347814_10153863571453060_2422930688827816042_nOkay, so Ferocious Dog have been around a little longer – but this last year has felt rather like a landmark.  And not just because back in February it’s when Ferocious Blog was born, ha!  The lead up to a new year is traditionally a time for reflecting back on the year just gone and looking forward to the next one, so I figured it’d be nice to trawl back through the months and pull out a highlight or two for each month of 2015, it will be tough to pick just one or two so feel free to chip in your own in the comments – despite my best efforts I didn’t quite make it to every Ferocious Dog gig in the year!

January 2015 – a light month, Ferocious Blog was yet to be created (although it had been an idea kicking around in my head for at least a couple of years).  Checking my calendar and personal blog doesn’t reveal much at all in the way of Ferocious Dog activity – we’d have been still basking in the warm glow of Dogfest back in December – I latterly discovered that a 3 Piece Acoustic performance took place in honour of Ella’s 21st birthday in this month, but alas I didn’t know Snotty at this juncture!

IMG_9188_gFebruary 2015the blog is born after an acoustic appearance by Ken and Dan at the Brown Cow in Mansfield.  Seldom has one of Sam’s nights had such a huge crowd packed in.  The demand for the event was the perfect excuse to arrive early and chat nonsense with friends for the afternoon.  An afternoon of drinking had taken its toll on Dean who for the first time decreed I needed to get up and surf in his place – a great way to start what became a year of extreme ‘dogging’.  These smaller intimate gigs are as enjoyable for me as the bigger and bolder shows that are to follow.  We were first introduced to Scott at this appearance too.

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Freeborn Al / 30th December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts

The not so Jingle Bell Ball..

IMG_2266Just how do you follow up a sell-out show these days? Well, two consecutive sell-out shows in Kenny’s case, well – Ken and Dan gave up their time for free to support a charity event set up by Georgi and Heather from Chesterfield College.  They were raising money and awareness for FairPlay, who support children and young adults with disabilities or other needs across the North Derbyshire area, as part of their Health and Social Care studies.  So far their fundraising total is over £900 – which is awesome, huge well done!

I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it to the event at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium but as work took me to Leeds on the day it seemed like providence as that made the gig pretty much on the way home.  So upon leaving our office just north of Leeds into the mysterious and misty weather it turned out the M1 was a bit of a nightmare – my sat nav came up trumps and diverted me round the back of Meadowhall and through a labyrinthine route around the backstreets of Rotherham and Sheffield to eventually spit me out on the road to Chesterfield past Dronfield.

Now as a proud Stag being asked to play at the home of the Spireites is a big ask for Ken.  It’s a new ground so it’s very shiny – and The Spires restaurant is a cracking venue, it was going to be a bit odd being at a Ferocious Dog gig – albeit a two-piece one – and sat in dinner party table arrangements!  Whilst Ken and Dan were sound checking I settled on a table with Karen, Bev, Emma, Jamie and Dylan – it was good to have a natter, and coo over Lacey-Lee a bit who was with Leanne and family on the next table.

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

A lovely ramble in DH Lawrence country..

dhl_albumI’ve heard people be pretty dismissive of Skiffle as a mere novelty or something not to be taken too seriously.  I don’t profess to have vast experience of it, but I do know humble skiffling gave rise to the Beatles.  Researching a little further I found a definition of ‘Jazz, folk or country music played by performers who use unconventional instruments such as kazoos, washboards or jugs, sometimes in combination with conventional instruments’ – which sounds fair enough.

DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show fuse this, perhaps sans the jazz, with a healthy slug of Folk, Bluegrass, Americana and North Nottinghamese (I take exception to UpNorthicana as they call it, we are midlanders after all!) to create something really rather magical.  I saw them performing at Splendour earlier in the year, where washboards, kazoos and a ‘skiffle boot’ nestled with a banjo, double-bass (and but for availability an absent violin) to mesmerise us with folksy bluegrassy ballads and rowdy tunes coupled with engaging crowd participation.

So it was pretty exciting when Al got in touch to offer to send me an advance copy of their forthcoming album – Sons and Lovers – to have a listen to, which is what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks.  Once I’d got it on my phone I lined it up to listen on my way to work – time enough for two run throughs since the traffic was bad.  It felt a bit like a first date that had gone well – excitement, a little bit of uncertainty but a keen desire to reacquaint myself with my new beau and get to know her better.

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Freeborn Al / 5th November 2015 / Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

We shall overcome.. Bagthorpe edition.

weshallovercomeIf I had one regret at the awesome weekend we just spent at Rockstock and Barrel it would be that it clashed with We Shall Overcome – a nationwide campaign of awesomeness, essentially gathering together artistic performers to do their thing under a single banner in protest against the terrible levels of austerity being inflicted by the current government.  Performers, promoters, sound people all gave up their time at over 300 events this weekend for free in order to raise awareness and money to help those effected by homelessness or needing food banks etc.

However, I’m always happy to seek out opportunities to eke out the weekend a little more – and in between family visitations and the logistics in getting Snotty back down south I spotted an irresistible opportunity to head over to Dixies Arms in Bagthorpe where DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show had organised an afternoon of performers.  Working out our timings, we could get there for a little before 5 and spare an hour – and providence was our friend as the performer in that time was none other than Mr Kenny Bonsall.

As well as Ken also on offer were performances from Paul Carbuncle, King of Rome, Quiet Loner and the hosts, DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show – two of which I’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed in the past, so I am a little sad that we couldn’t make the whole afternoon work – but well, if I had to pick one, let’s face it, it worked out pretty well for us!  Upon arriving we found a handy car-sized space next to the Ferocious Dog bus (Cerebus), a deft bit of reverse parking (if I do say so myself!) and we were on our way into the pub.

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Freeborn Al / 4th October 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Photos / 1 Comment