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

The West Country’s always been good to me..

Ever since I’ve got into Gaz Brookfield I’ve always harboured an ambition to see him play closer to home, particularly one of his Christmas shows.  Then they always seemed to clash with Dogfest, but this year it didn’t – so I booked tickets aaaaages ago along with a hotel and consigned it to something to be excited about.  Then Ferocious Dog announced they were playing Weston Super Mare the next day, well, I was practically there wasn’t I?  So I booked tickets and a hotel.

A support of The Leylines Duo made this doubly exciting.  Then to compound matters Nick Parker announced a full band gig at Bocabar in Glastonbury on the Friday night before – well, y’know, since we’re in that neck of the woods anyway – it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?  An extended weekend of gigging taking in some of my very favourite live performers in a last hurrah before Christmas takes over.

So Nick was up first – Ella trained to Solihull where I was working so we could hit the road to Glastonbury.  A pretty good trek down there found us at the Premier Inn, and a fully booked restaurant next door.  D’oh!  Luckily we found an Aldi nearby (there’s not a lot else!) so ended up stocking up on stuff there for something to eat before heading to the venue just over the road from the hotel.

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Freeborn Al / 24th December 2017 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos

Glastonburied..

We had a bit of an inpromptu decision to head down to the wonderful Bocabar in Glastonbury last night to see Nick Parker and the False Alarms and The Leylines.  I’d not planned on being in the West Midlands for work earlier in the week, but as I was it seemed logical that I was already thirty odd miles along in the right direction, so why not carry on? Plus Ella could get the train across to Solihull easily enough and meet me at my office, so that’s what we did – final meeting finished up, laptop shut down and off we went!

Now it’s worth taking some time to comment on the venue – reclaimed from an old industrial building, it has a wonderful creative and community-led vibe to it, nestled near a Premier Inn on the outskirts of Glastonbury itself, although still get lovely views of the town and the tor on the way in to get parked up.  Inside you’ll find an eatery, bar, awesome and reasonably priced artwork adorning the walls, and a low-ceilinged large event venue that holds around 300 people.  A really lovely space, nestled in an area that has clearly suffered a bit of depravation in recent years.

We descended late afternoon and settled with coffee and soft drinks, outside a murmuration of starlings was threatening to form as they prepared to roost as dusk set in.  Alas despite my best efforts I never did get to see whether or not they eventually succumbed to that peculiar and mesmerising urge they have to perform complex acrobatics together.  Inside we sat merrily watching soundchecks as the assorted musicians arrived – if you ever see a gig you fancy at The Bocabar then I’d thoroughly recommend a visit!

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Freeborn Al / 25th February 2017 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

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

Warsop Carnival fun..

IMG_0477Warsop is a place I’ve become more familiar with than I was (which was not at all) before Ferocious Dog entered my life.  It’s a really nice north Nottinghamshire village – that would’ve been developed to support the colliery sunk there and obviously subsequently closed.  The carnival there is one of many years standing and held on the first or second sunday of July, on The Carrs, nestled between Market and Church Warsop.  It’s a cracking community day out in its own right – although of course there was the obvious lure for me of a certain band closing it off in their three piece acoustic guise.

Upon parking up in the middle of Warsop I wandered over just ahead of the procession to find the field set up with an assortment of stalls, a funfair and a central arena, with the music stage in the far corner of the field.  With events like jousting and falconry on offer as well as music there was plenty to entertain.  I bumped into Ken who was talking with a chap from Warsop Remembers, an organisation that he’d painted a picture for that might potentially end up as a raffle prize to raise money for the cause – so look out for that for a bit of unique Ferocious Dog related memorabilia.

IMG_0468However, it was the music that was my main motivation for going – so I soon found myself settled in front of the stage where Ellie Keegan was up first.  I’ve seen Ellie play a few times now and she’s a cracking performer – although not to my knowledge with the addition of a loop pedal (remember spare batteries next time!).  She played a mixture of covers and a couple of original ones – with things ranging from Crazy by Gnarls Barclay, a mash-up of Come Together by the Beatles and Lose Yourself by Eminem (I think – that’s not my genre!) with plenty of use of the loop pedal on both guitar and vocal layers.

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Freeborn Al / 5th July 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Glaston-buried, but the fun doesn’t end..

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I think it’s fair to say that Ferocious Dog‘s debut at Glastonbury has been a resounding success – just look at this photo I pinched from Scott!  Certainly the number of search engine hits to this site searching for more information about them has increased since Monday.  The cherry-on-the-cake of some BBC coverage of course never transpired, but with folk uploading photos and videos to Facebook we did at least catch a glimpse of the performance, to the third biggest Avalon crowd of the weekend.  Fantastic. (special shout out to Colin who was uploading stuff as it was happening).

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Freeborn Al / 1st July 2015 / Band, Gigs, Interview, Music, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

A fish that’s learned to fly..

Sam Jones

Sam Jones

Nights like tonight are how a weekend constrained by work in the morning should be eased out of.  Of course, like many of us I was forlornly checking Facebook for scraps of how the boys might be going down at Glastonbury (and thanks to a kind chap called Colin uploading some videos, as well as a few pictures arriving, I saw much more than I thought I would – scan the FD Facebook Group to see).  It sounds like a rip-roaring success we were confident they’d achieve.

The third biggest crowd in Avalon over the weekend, and whilst perhaps not as lively as they’re accustomed to, a lively crowd nonetheless and an encore demanded and delivered – there’s a video of the crowds reaction as Ken was leaving the stage (with the obligatory picture from Waggy in the background) which suggests that there might have been a fair number of new Hell Hounds indoctrinated into he fold this afternoon.  I’m sure further video and photographic evidence will feature over the next week or so!

But for me today was leading up the M1 to Mansfield to the Brown Cow for one of Sam Jones’ acoustic evenings – a somewhat hidden gem of a fortnightly event that takes place showcasing both Sam himself as well as a fine array of other talented performers.  Tonight we had Sam, Paige and an unknown quantity for me called King of Rome – something I twigged as being a reference to the famous homing pigeon from Derby (don’t even ask how I knew that…)

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Freeborn Al / 28th June 2015 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Not-being-at-Glastonbury distractions..

IMG_0406As the appointed hour of the appointed day comes for Ferocious Dog at Glastonbury since I’ve not been able to follow them to this particular landmark it’s been a week of finding alternative musical amusement for myself, and frankly it’s been rather an easy task.  I’ve heard reports that their smaller gig at the Bimble Inn went down very well indeed and now they’ll be psyching themselves up to take to the Avalon Stage at 2pm today.

Looking at the array of talent available in the Fields of Avalon I’d be spending a lot of time there – so hopefully plenty of similarly-minded folk are doing just that to get them in front of plenty of new appreciative faces.  Not least I hope the various folk I know who are there heed my advice and get themselves there – otherwise there’ll be trouble, and since the BBC cameras don’t reach as far as Avalon, we’re depending on Waggy et al to try to capture some of the event.

But for me I’ve been finding my fun elsewhere – whilst I can well imagine the experience of being at the festival is unforgettable – I’ve never really got much out of watching highlights on TV.  So last night I headed over to the lovely Colville Arms in Lullington where a small beer festival was underway with the promise of a couple of sets from Paige Seabridge to make up for the fact that I needed to drive there so couldn’t sample more than one of the beers on offer.

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Freeborn Al / 28th June 2015 / Band, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Why Settle for less?

I’m sure that you’ll have heard by now that the Ferocious Dog gig in the Victoria Hall in Settle has been postponed due to issues outside the control of the band.  Disappointing, but in the face of such adversity of having the promise of a weekend gig it makes you have to work on alternative plans.  Hopefully once the gig is rearranged I’ll be able to make it as I was looking forward to the visit!

First up I’ve been playing with some of Waggy’s photos and was particularly pleased with this one of Ken taken at the Evesham gig made up entirely of the words ‘Red Ken’ – I’ll have to have a play with other images when I get the chance!

red_ken

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Freeborn Al / 18th June 2015 / Band, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts / 0 Comments