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

Fishing for Owls..

I’ve been sitting on Paul Henshaw and the Scientific Simpletons‘ latest album for a while so I do apologise profusely for the delay in finally jotting down my musings.  Fishing For Owls has been on my regular playlist for a little over a month now, and it’s a mixed paced collection of folk-punk goodness – one moment irreverent, one moment deeply moving and at times funny.  There’s full band big sound, acoustic moments and all manner of paces.

Middle Finger Thank You is a ballsy opener – drumsticks click a count in to a wall of guitar and percussion before it slows up for the vocals to kick in.  Defiant in sound and message – Paul describes it as a ‘bit of an internal battle and ‘fuck you’ to myself, which fits nicely with the sound here – uncompromising, relentless and aggressive instrumentals overlaid with measured and considered vocals for the most part.  Don’t let life get you down and deal with your problems is the message here.

A folksier feel with stomping feet and acoustic strumming heralds Wild Turkey – a song telling the tale of a trip to London to play a gig involving perhaps a little bit too much of the titled whiskey for the narrator.  Slightly self-sorry in tone, but quite philosophical about it too – I’m sure we’ve all had one of those moments when you feel like there’s nobody on your side and you’ve only got yourself to rely on.

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Freeborn Al / 14th June 2017 / Music

Havin’ a blast in (Chetwynd) Aston..

Tonight was one of those pseudo-logic nights out – I work in Solihull, I live in South Derbyshire – so it wasn’t too tough a sell to myself that it was kinda on the way home to pop to Chetwynd Aston (not far from Telford) to see Paul Henshaw and Nick Parker at The Wheatsheaf.  It’s not the most ridiculous example of this in my recent gigging history – earlier in the year I’d decided since I was already 30 miles in the right direction from home I might as well plough on to Glastonbury to see Nick along with The Leylines!

So with Ella training in to Solihull upon getting my Powerpoint presentation finished and sent we hit the road reaching the pub really early – soaking in the last of the sun in the beer garden, before Nick and Paul arrived in time for a good natter in the frankly excellent Wheatsheaf.  A proper pub – they’d dedicated the front room to the gig which had a stage and PA set up in the corner – and as the locals wended out landlord Tosh started laying out chairs for what would be a really intimate little gig.

Paul Henshaw was up first – playing a mixture of older songs and some from his very imminent new album Fishing for Owls (more on that next week, I’ve had a sneaky peek at this!).  He kicked off his set with Dancing in Lay-bys, and then on to a new track Wild Turkey – amusingly Tosh was busy behind the bar framing a photo of him with a bottle of the aforementioned whisky in the foreground.  I Declare Shenanigans is one of my favourite song titles ever – and was up next!

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Freeborn Al / 5th May 2017 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos

Great music with a Worcestershire source..

So, yeah – welcome to 2017!  January is traditionally a bit of a live music hibernation and it’s been the same for me – until the last couple of days so I can sneak a couple of posts in before we’re into February and assorted tours beginning in earnest.  Home ownership diverts more funds these days so I’m having to be a bit more picky and choosy on dates but that’s okay – life’s all about balance isn’t it?

So on Sunday Ella and I headed on down to Droitwich.  All I think of when I think of Droitwich was the highly repetitive and irritating adverts around childhood Christmas for a furniture company who had a sale on, and outlets in Darley Dale, Measham and Droitwich.  I think it might have been DFS.  Tom Adams did the voiceover.  Anyway, I digress, it was an early start and finish, which is good as it’s about an hour’s drive to get there – and a couple of miles outside Droitwich proper we found ourselves parked up at The Maltstone Pub & Kitchen.

Definitely more eatery in aspect than gig venue, it was a really nice space – with a few locals hanging around awaiting live music – this evening being provided by Paul Henshaw and Nick Parker.  I’d cunningly deployed the slow cooker before leaving so we resisted the tempting looking menu opting just for drinks instead (although I still regret not succumbing to the ingenious idea of a bar snack comprising a Yorkshire pudding with gravy!).  Paul and Nick arrived and had their PA set up in the blink of an eye.

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Freeborn Al / 31st January 2017 / Gigs, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments