And Alex too, I suppose! It seems highly apt that The Enemy Within tour took a diversion to the BBC – BBC Radio London, to be precise where presenter Jo Wood spent 20 minutes or so chatting with Ken, Dan and Alex and had them play a few tunes too! If you missed it, then you can catch up here.
They did a really good job I thought of getting the message out there, and some quality tunes ahead of their data at the 100 Club in that London!
In true British fashion social and mainstream media alike was awash with perhaps rather exaggerated fears regarding the weather, casting doubt on whether the Warsop leg of The Leylines tour would happen. It’s true some areas of the country really were hammered, but certainly North Nottinghamshire was okay, it put paid to a few acts making it, but some redrafting by Dave and some rearrangements meant a splendid day of music would definitely go ahead – with some hardy souls camping in the car park from the night before!
For our own part, both Ella and Morgan had fairly chunky distances to come – Ella and Becki drove up to mine the night before in occasionally grim conditions, with Nick and Morgan joining us in the morning in plenty of time for a sit and chill before we convoyed up to The Black Market Venue without incident – we could’ve probably squeezed into one car but it proved to come in handy later having two. Once at the venue there was time to catch up with folk in the bar side before the main room was open.
First up were Darwin’s Rejects – we got Ella and Morgan’s stuff sorted by their stage as they struck up with Phat Bollard’s Millionnaires – I must say they were sounding the most tight I’ve seen ’em, and as a fellow box banger I did have slight envy of Rob’s cymbal/tambourine stand! A Levellers section comprised Sell Out and then a Leylines style arrangement of Fifteen Years with the slow build up. Back to grassroots and Ferocious Dog’s Unconditional and Headsticks Cold Grey English Skies were up next.
Ah, day two. Groundhog night? Not a bit of it really. This time the evening started in a hotel, waiting for Ella’s train to get in – once we’d got ourselves checked in and sorted we nipped up to the marvellous Tap and Tumbler for a few drinks and general catching up with folk. There was a nice atmosphere about the place, and I finally succumbed to the temptation I always have in there to buy a pint of Trooper – Iron Maiden produced beer, and very nice it was too. With plenty of folk on hand to talk to, it was a splendid way to start the night.
Better still, who should be stood next to me at the bar but Cliff – who I mentioned yesterday. I’ve literally not seen him for a good many years, and it was absolutely fantastic to get the chance for a prolonged natter at the bar. Reminiscing, putting the world to rights and occasional introductions – it was great. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog (which gave me my record views in a day since the blog’s inception – thank you!) Cliff tutored me through firewalking and glasswalking back in the day – both amazing experiences on different ends of the adrenaline scale.
The only pitfall was as time did its inevitable thing we realised we’d propped the bar up and talked our way through the support slot of Louise Distras which is very remiss of me, my humblest apologies to her. In the venue we headed up to the balcony, Ella was planning on taking in the gig from on high – whilst unlike yesterday I was planning on getting smashed around the moshpit for an hour and a half. Which gave Ella dual duties of set list noting and carrying my assorted breakables. So it’s thanks to her that I have the song order, haha!
One of the charming traditions that has arisen amongst Hell Hounds is to mark the anniversary of Lee Bonsall’s tragic passing by all raising a glass in his memory. As I’ve spent the evening watching the notifications pour in (literally!) from the Ferocious Dog group on Facebook with folk posting photos of them doing just that I found it quite moving.
So it seemed to me that the best thing to do was to gather as many of them together as I could (I’m sorry if I missed anyone) and set them to Lee’s Tune from the first Ferocious Dog album. Here’s the result. Beautiful people.
Hopefully most of you got to see Notts TV’s hour long Ferocious Dog special which aired last night at 10pm. Those of you that missed the opportunity through geographical constraints or not having Sky will get the chance to catch up online once their systems update (it doesn’t appear to be quite so quick as more established channels at catching up!), but I thought that it was a superb introduction to what Ferocious Dog are all about from presenter Mark Del.
The programme centred around the climax of the tour – the sell out gig at Rock City, the first ever unsigned act to do so. My only pedantic quibble was the repeated claim of them being the first local unsigned act to do it – they are the first act, full stop, in 35 years of the venue to sell it out without the backing of a label. Whilst it is of course nice they’re local, it’s not relevant to the feat at all.
A mixture of interviews from before the gig – constant references to the fans (well, okay, family) – when Anton from Rock City was interviewed before the gig he made some astute references to the relationship between hell hounds and the band being akin to that he’d seen before with the Levellers and New Model Army, and not from other bands since then. He was also pretty on board with the idea of pushing for more national coverage for the band too – good news!
Warsop 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.
However, 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.
At any Ferocious Dog gig you’ll have heard the chorus and sung along, and most people know the inspiration for ‘The Glass’, it’s a beautifully moving tribute to a desperately sad series of events and perhaps – in its tragedy – one of the best examples of why to many of us this group is more than ‘just a band’. It’s why Lisa has set up Wistful Festival, why Zoe – terrified of heights – is skydiving in a few weeks – all to raise money for the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund.