static-logoA total diversion from my normal subject matter – but we’ve just had a really fun afternoon that’s worth talking about.  Back in March my Mum and Dad came up with the hugely original birthday gift of taking three friends and being locked in a room which we then have to try to escape from by decoding clues in there within a time limit.  Given the busyness of social calendars it took ’til this week for us to finally get it locked down!

So myself, Ella, Sarah and Paul met up to tackle Contraption – I was ordered by Ella that no rooms involving mannequins was allowed, and Sarah has an aversion to clowns, so when I rang up to book I made those points to the chap on the phone, and he recommended this room.  It was set up as a laboratory of a scientist, machinery and artifacts make up the clues you need to eventually solve the room to escape.

Our very first task proved quite tricksy to solve – it was actually pretty easy really, but then isn’t everything once you’ve worked it out?  We then had a series of finding objects, cracking codes and clues and eventually finding our way out of the room with nine minutes to spare from our allotted hour.  It wasn’t scary as such, but there were a few jumpy moments (especially for scaredy cat Ella!).


Freeborn Al / 22nd October 2016 / Photos, Thoughts / 0 Comments

Re-living Rock City..

IMG_3347I’m probably late to the party for anyone who reads this blog – but whilst Rockstock and Rolling out the Festival Barrel was a perfectly justifiable excuse for missing trips to Buckley and Burnley at the weekend with Ferocious Dog, waiting for me when I got home was what might prove to be my salvation when financial and logistics make a trip to Exeter and Newbury highly unlikely next weekend.  Yes, the hotly anticipated live CD and DVD from November’s sell out gig at Rock City in Nottingham!

Having got back from Willington Ella and I spent a chilled afternoon airing the tent in the garden listening to the CD – the sound quality is great!  Remembering poor croaky Ken just a week before the gig in the rehearsal studio, it’s pretty amazing really.  After that the doctor ordered him to cancel the gigs in Stroud and Cardiff right before Rock City – the transformation that rest and recuperation yielded is incredible.  Not so much as a lyrical slip either!

If you’re a ‘full contact’ Ferocious Dog spectator frankly quite often nuances either visual or aural can easily be missed in the blur – and on Rock City day, okay – the Hell Hound AGM – it had been a long day!  Coupled with a raft of awesome music before the main event, plenty of drink and food (and Ella and I were both feeling ill) – my memories of the night itself are a bit blurry, the amazing atmosphere, getting my surfboard nicked (ha!), being pinballed round the moshpit – but above everything else an amazing homecoming and moment of history, watching them take to that famous stage and frankly own it for an hour and a half.


Freeborn Al / 4th April 2016 / Band, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Alice? Who the Wolf is Alice?

IMG_3111Often my gig-going is centred around the very familiar, it made a nice change tonight to go to a gig almost entirely blind.  I’d booked a ticket to see Wolf Alice at Rock City back in October at my brother’s suggestion – and entirely forgotten about it until I glanced at my calendar on Tuesday evening after work.  A text to my brother enquired as to whether he’d got the tickets, he replied saying he didn’t think I was coming – a search of my emails revealed an e-ticket.  Two e-tickets in fact.  Oops!

With Ella down south Rich was able to get my ticket re-homed with Simon, a friend of Ed’s who was also coming to the gig.  Perhaps just as excitingly, we decided to pop to Annie’s Burger Shack before the gig – I opted for the current special on offer, the Cannonball – it was delicious.  I love Annie’s.  Annie came to the UK pursuing music, but found fame for her imaginative music-themed burgers, initially served in The Old Angel, then The Navigation Inn and finally in her own extremely popular restaurant – a real characterful success story.

IMG_3110After eating we waddled up to Rock City deciding to find a spot on the sidelines rather than in the mosh pit – it was pretty much a sell-out, quite a feat on a Wednesday night.  We found a good spot on the elevated area to the left of the stage and decided not to move from there for the evening – it seemed a bit strange to be on the sidelines at a gig but I wasn’t keen on the idea of being smashed around the very lively (even for the support acts) mosh pit whilst quite so full of burger!


Freeborn Al / 24th March 2016 / Band, Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Gaz a-Maze-s us again..

IMG_2783I defy anyone to have had as fun a saturday night as we just did for the princely sum of £8.  I’ve used this kind of comment before, but the entry fee would have been good value for any one of the four acts on offer at The Maze, nestling behind The Forest Tavern on the fringes of Nottingham’s city centre.  To have basically paid a couple of quid to see each of them is frankly insulting really.  I was surprised that the crowd wasn’t a little fuller in truth, not that that detracted from a most excellent evening.

With Ella arriving in the afternoon fresh from album recording with The Leylines we headed into Nottingham to meet Paul, Sarah and Andy and attempt to find somewhere to eat that wasn’t booked up – initially attempting to fulfil a craving for barbecued food we ended up settling for the newish Handmade Burger Co in the revamped-but-still-soulless Victoria Centre – which at least was on the way up to The Maze.  The food was decent – and by the time we’d finished the grotty weather had eased up making the schlep up Mansfield Road a less traumatic prospect.

Once in the pub there were plenty of folk already assembled awaiting the venue at the back to open up, including Sam Jones who’d had an unfortunate beard over-trimming incident making him resemble someone still at school.  Haha!  It wasn’t long upon getting through to the back before Star Botherers took to the stage.  Or at least two thirds of them – Dave apparently competing in an international bingo tournament in Skegness (so Bart informed us!).  This left us with just Bart on guitar and vocals, and Brad adding percussion and backing vocals.


Freeborn Al / 21st February 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Splendour highlights too!

Just in case you hadn’t had your fill of Ferocious Dog on the tellybox, Tim has managed to get the Notts TV special from Splendour festival on to YouTube as well – four songs and a bit of interview action.  Just look at that dust cloud above the mosh pit – powdered mud and deer poo, no wonder I was poorly after it! Haha!

Freeborn Al / 6th January 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Videos / 0 Comments

TV personalities..

3373_10153880894334343_8765133109960421985_nHopefully 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!


Freeborn Al / 2nd January 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Interview, Lee Bonsall, Music, Photos / 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.


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

Sell outs..

IMG_2066.. in the best possible sense, of course – it took until the day but Ferocious Dog were indeed successful in capping off the tour by selling out home town (ish) venue Rock City in advance – the first unsigned act to do so in the 35 year history of the venue.  28th November 2015 is a day that history was made.  For me it felt like a real watershed moment for a band I’ve had the pleasure of following for the last few years.

IMG_2034I spent the evening before making my hair look a bit more silly than normal.  It turns out I should’ve probably checked in with Spike and Chris who would end up with the same coloured hair as me for the evening, but never mind, eh?  I’ll probably regret it more when it starts to fade out to pink!  I even managed to get it spiked into a pretty good mohawk without the assistance I often get from Ella!

IMG_2033Come Saturday morning unusually the postman turned up before midday bringing me Gaz Brookfield‘s new acoustic album to provide the soundtrack to my fairly short drive into Nottingham.  More on this at another time, though!  I got parked up near Rock City and found Cerebus being unloaded, so time for a few greetings with the band and crew who were all looking suitably excited about what was to come.  Simon and Ella arrived which meant for us it was time to head for food.

IMG_2037Dave and Bettina had done a great job in organising the whole of the downstairs of Annie’s Burger Shack to be reserved for a group of fifty or so of us to be fed a fine array of burger goodness in a buffet style.  Very filling it was too, handy stomach lining for what was to follow and a chance to have a nice leisurely chat with a section of the wonderful folk we’d be coming into contact with over the course of the day!


Freeborn Al / 29th November 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts

Run with the wolves while I hunt like a hound..

IMG_1964I’d booked tickets for Prodigy ages ago and kinda forgotten about it – subsequent Ferocious Dog tour marathoning has rendered me pretty much without holiday now so it was a straight-from-work driving job.  Ella and I met up with Phil in Nottingham and headed on to the venue, Nottingham’s Ice Arena, a fairly characterless carbuncle of an arena.  Once in we were directed outside to join a monstrous queue for those of us with standing tickets (one of the bouncers inside did clock my Ferocious Dog hoody though!)

Seeing Prodigy at the G-Mex centre in Manchester back in 1997 was my first ‘proper’ gig really – I was with Phil then too, funnily enough.  We had naively made our way to the front for a good vantage point, getting smashed around the mosh pit during the support act – some band called the Foo Fighters – before Prodigy took the stage.  My then girlfriend passed out at some point during their set meaning we watched the second half from the medical area while she recovered.

But well, you live and you learn – whilst I’m a fan of being up close and personal in my general gig going this one was always going to be one to appreciate from a distance so upon gaining entry past the zealous and unfriendly arena staff we were faced with a pretty packed floor space and Public Enemy already underway.  Eventually we settled in a spot not far from the exit around level with the mixing desk, occasionally being impolitely compelled to move in by some jobsworth harpy with a radio.


Freeborn Al / 25th November 2015 / Gigs, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

Colour of Ugly Kid Beards…

IMG_1145In a slight diversion from my usual subject matter, it’s been a fun weekend of distractions which whilst not really related to Ferocious Dog – has certainly involved many of my Hell Hound brethren.  It started on Friday night with a blast from my youth with Ugly Kid Joe visiting the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham.  I used to love them in the early 90’s – before meandering off to the Levellers – my brother retained his love of metal though and accompanied me along with Snotty.

I must admit, my expectations were pretty low – having not really stayed abreast of Ugly Kid Joe developments I was imagining a desperate cash-grab from some washed up 90’s almost novelty-act that I’d never had the chance to see live ‘back in the day’ to a half-empty venue.  As an aside I do remember us listening to them live on the radio supporting Def Leppard at some point, cringing slightly at Whitfield Crane’s lewd references to the joys of blowjobs whilst I think my Mum was listening along with us.. anyway, I digress…

Whitfield Crane has grown up a bit – shorter hair, a suspicious whiff of Just for Men and I’d say a humble demeanour – he seemed genuinely grateful to what was a packed out, not half-empty, Rescue Rooms.  Launching into an intro then straight into Neighbor (the first CD single I ever bought!) it was a cracking performance from the band – with the guitarists throwing solos between one another, Cordell Crockett giving the funky underpinning with his bass and a drummer wearing nothing but pants – with the front man conducting the crowd.


Freeborn Al / 21st September 2015 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments