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

From Without – it’s finally here!

IMG_0447Facebook has been awash with excited people receiving packages through the post after the Herculean efforts of Gibbo and Hannah in getting everyone’s album packaged and mailed over the weekend.  Despite basically having it already, it was still a bit galling to be stuck at the office periodically spotting a series of delighted people  posting photos and their initial thoughts – all of which have been positive so far (not that I ever doubted it).  I’ve skirted around writing about the album tracks a few times, but now it’s ‘in the wild’ I can do so unabashed at spoiling anything too much.

Biased though I undoubtedly am, I love everything about it – the imagery, the packaging, the slight imperfection in that the lyrics for Gallows Justice are missing from the sleeve notes (Waggy has posted the page online should any perfectionists wish to download them), the signatures, the fact my name is in it, and of course the songs themselves.  The songs, they’re unmistakably Ferocious Dog, they are a mixture of biting political observation, historical accounts, a traditional re-imagining and a love ballad gone sour.

They are unmistakably Ferocious Dog, but they chart some evolution too.  What more could you want?  I described it earlier on Facebook as a plateau of an album rather than a roller-coaster – whilst there’s variation of paces and styles there’s no let up in quality, it peaks early and stays there – I do genuinely love it.  Even though I heard it a lot I still played it all the way home from work, playing pretend that I’d been in in time for the Postman to deliver it to me.

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Freeborn Al / 5th October 2015 / Band, Music / 0 Comments

The waiting is almost over..

IMG_0447.. and boy are you going to think it’s worth it.  From Without has been mastered, and is going into production ready to be sent out to the good folks who made it a possibility by paying up front for it.   Back in April I wrote a review based on some of the rough-cut tracks I’d been privy to, subsequently I’ve been lucky enough to hear a number of the iterations of mixing that occurred and finally the mastered full album this evening.  And wow, what a treat.  I’m not sure if posting this is torturing folk who’ve waited or help with anticipation.

In the recent radio interview Ken talked about From Without and how it was inspired by Karl Marx.  More specifically the inference that revolution can’t be triggered solely by the proletariat but would need help from without their ranks.  Of course all the speculation and misinterpretations were fun – but undoubtedly this is an album that has a strong political underpinning almost throughout – be it contemporary or historical – there’s anger and cutting observation.

Whether it be what sounds like a summary of Iain Duncan-Smith’s assault on the disabled and the farce of the bedroom tax in Living on Thin Air (this is the track, you’ll remember, that was co-written with Nick Burbridge), historical accounts like Ruby Bridges, Crime and Punishment and more recent history in the form of Marikana Massacre or the hauntingly sad-yet-beautiful Slow Motion Suicide charting the demise of a jobless miner in the wake of the pits being closed – there’s clear messages of the disenfranchised ringing through the opening nine tracks of the album.

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Freeborn Al / 1st September 2015 / Band, Music, Photos / 0 Comments

And he’s turned to the bottle..

unnamedI might’ve been a bit quiet but the band haven’t – they released a radio edit of Slow Motion Suicide as a single this week (which you can buy from iTunes, Amazon or Google Play) – a timely release given the subject matter of the impact of the decimation of the mining industry, just as Hatfield Colliery was issued with a winding-up order earlier this month.  It’s been a mainstay of live performances recently and is one of my favourites – and a nice teaser leading up to the album.

On the album, the production is all but done and the mastering is near completion so the drop date for the CDs we’ve all been waiting patiently for is looming large.  Having been lucky enough to have heard the tracks in their various stages of rough-cuttery up to pre-mastering I’m extremely confident that the unexpected delays in perfecting the content will prove well worth the wait to get the final CDs in your hands and CD/record players.  It really won’t be long now.

At Farmer Phil’s around a campfire I had an interesting conversation with someone who wasn’t sold on the new songs from a few live viewings.  Having probably heard them live more than most folk as well as the recordings (and, I freely admit, being more than a tad biased) I’m hooked.  But then I was from the gig at Bodega.  One comment was of the lack of variation in style – which I’d dispute – just think about the raucous cacophony of Gallows Justice opening a gig, to the more tuneful Ruby Bridges, the reggae infusion into Marikana Massacre..

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Freeborn Al / 27th August 2015 / Band, Music, Thoughts / 0 Comments