Geddin’ on Farmer Phil’s land.. part two..

I'm dead when Ella sees this!

I’m dead when Ella sees this!

Saturday morning came and despite the strange cold-like thing I’d had the night before I felt fine aside from a bit snotty, which is a bonus!  Speaking of Snotty, she had an appointment with an open-mic night where Morganella were scheduled to perform – so our first order of business was to head over a couple of fields where clan Parry were camped for an opportunity to rehearse a bit, grabbing a coffee en route.

By the time we’d finished and headed up to the arena it was lunchtime, nachos were my weapon of choice, we munched food whilst Emma and the Professor were getting started, it provided a most excellent soundtrack for a nice lunch – I only caught Kisses Sweeter Than Wine amongst the set before we decided to check out the shops.  I had designs on a poncho – as The Mighty Boosh rightly states, it’s impossible to feel sad in a poncho!

IMG_5075Whilst shopping though I was drawn down the bank to the second stage where Guitar Cubed were playing Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd – one of my favourite songs, and done justice here.  They moved on to Hey Jude before I headed back off up the hill to find Ella mooching around the shops some more.  It was a shame not to have had the chance to catch more of their set though, the little bit I caught sounded great (I managed to miss getting a photo too).

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Freeborn Al / 17th August 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Royston-buried! It was Jamie’s fault..

IMG_4488One of Ella’s many talents is an ability to sleep in once the sun’s up – be it in a sweltering tent or a less-so van.  Not so much me, I was awake, I made myself a tea and went for a wander – Jamie was up too, I made him a tea and eventually we all settled around Paul and Jayne’s van for a civilised sit down.  I’d grabbed a breakfast from Nana’s Kitchen, Paul and Jayne were cooking theirs, and that’s when it all started to go a bit wrong…

“Fancy a Bloody Mary, Alan?” asked Jamie, casually.  I was reluctant, but as I’d not indulged too much the night before there was no normal festival delicateness, I went for it.  And breakfast descended into a bit of a shot-fest – there was vanilla vodka, Disaronno, Honey Rum, Tequila (complete with lime/lemon and salt purloined from Nana’s), Triple-sec and – well – safe to say we were all pretty drunk well before lunch time when the music started.  Ah well!  We did have a bubble machine and some ace tunes to accompany our excesses!

IMG_4495Doozer McDooze was up first, having broken the main stage – which hadn’t been used yet! – he switched to the acoustic stage to open up the day of music.  He launched into Searching, a track on his new album (stay tuned for a review of that in due course) and into Dreams – given our alcoholic lubrication we were probably much more fun for an early performer than we normally are!

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Freeborn Al / 4th July 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

When you’re smilin’ the whole world smiles with you..

IMG_4001I’ve been dreading starting this post.  Of course I’m looking forward to rummaging through my photos and notes and re-living another fantastic weekend, but I must admit I’m feeling the pressure to do it justice just as I did with Bearded Theory the preceding weekend.  Getting a glimpse of the work Pete and Becky have put into Something To Smile About, it was so good to see them able to announce a sell-out as the deadline for ticket sales loomed on the horizon.  I’m going to break this down to a post for each day – so here’s Friday (with a bit of bonus Thursday)..

We arrived a night early, delivering a gazebo Debbo and Phily kindly offer to loan – not that any of us could work out how to put it up, it lay dormant where I left it until I collected it again on Monday morning to bring back.  Never mind!  It gave us the chance to pop the van back stage and plug in to the hook up for a night and enjoy pizza, drinks and campfire songs whilst the finishing touches were being added to the arena – we also got to meet Phat Bollard, who as well as being awesome are really lovely folk too (thanks for the CDs!).

Come morning we de-camped to the camper van field along with Roger and Kaye, finding a good spot to set up camp and save a few spaces for folk who’d arrive later.  With an idea of our layout sorted we got the tent up for Becki and Maia who’d be arriving later too, and watched folk starting to arrive as the campsites officially opened – an assortment of vehicles started trundling into the L shaped field a short walk from the festival site proper to pick a suitable spot to set up home for the weekend.

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Freeborn Al / 6th June 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

The theory of Beard-ativity…

IMG_3875Well how do you go about trying to summarise four days at Bearded Theory? My normal modus operandi of slavishly noting set lists would probably lead to a novel that I don’t want to write and you certainly don’t want to read – so I’m going to force myself to be a bit less unimaginative and try to summarise what was a bloody fantastic time – a great setting, wonderful weather, amazingly well organised, great acts and a frankly marvellous collection of people to party with.

It all started for us on Thursday afternoon, we arranged to meet Addie, Jane, Dave and Nadine in a layby near the site to secure a camping spot together.  Getting back onto a busy A38 was entertaining for the two caravanners in our convoy, but soon enough we’d found ourselves queuing to get on site – a few very familiar vehicles already snaking their way around to the entrance to the camping field.  This was Ella and I’s first trip to a festival in our new van – Ludo – so it was pretty exciting!

IMG_3879Eventually in and sited, everyone set about getting things set up – for us it was pretty simple, extract things from the storage under the back seats, spinning the front bench seat around, putting the silver screens up in the window – and cracking open a can of cider!  The only fly in our oinment was a dead leisure battery – despite having been on charge for a couple of days – but well, even the lack of promised power a van would provide still proved infinitely better than the faff of tenting!

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Freeborn Al / 30th May 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Ey Up Mi Ducks! The friday file..

IMG_3675Uncharacteristic bad planning from me made me think that Ey Up Mi Duck started on Friday evening – and as such I hadn’t arranged the time off work to get there until early evening.  We did, however, think forward enough to get down to Amber Valley Rugby Club on Thursday evening to get the tent set up to save us a job once the festival was underway, so after finishing up with work with excitement we headed to the site.

A lovely setting – a raised Rugby field for camping, stalls and the acoustic stage with a dip down to the clubhouse and the main stage – and the Meadevil Bar – and already a festival well underway, with plenty of folk to mingle with whilst clutching the first of too many ciders purloined from Pete (and a pink mead – which was amazing).  After a good while we realised we’d not eaten, so made a beeline for Nana’s Kitchen for plateful of steak and ale pie, mash and peas.  Awesome food.

IMG_3668We’d settled with Dave, Caroline and Murph – which was fortuitously next to the Cheezy Vinyl Bar – I couldn’t resist a cheese platter despite not exactly being starving, Phil and Debbo served up a monumental (not emmental – ha!) portion which I battled my way through with relish, washed down with a lovely slug of port.  Happily the Cheezy Vinyl Bar will be making appearances at plenty of other festivals on our roster this year!

It’s not easy being cheesy.  But I’m happy to keep giving it a good go.

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Freeborn Al / 9th May 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos

Rolling out the festival barrel in style.. (part two)..

aIMG_3284A combination of factors had made for a bad night’s sleep – a small degree of being drunk (not too much though), an airbed that deflated itself at an alarming rate, persistent rain and the presumably associated crackling and buzzing from the overhead powerlines.  Eventually I deigned to emerge from the tent to find the guy rope from the front had been ripped away from the tent – I’d assumed by a passing early hours reveller in the dark, it’s happened before (and I’ve got the kit to fix it, so no big deal).

First call was one of nature so wandered toward the building – in time to find Steve, Matt and Dave packing up their gear.  Then some less good news, it turned out there’d been some opportunist thefts in the night – a couple of vans had had cash and phones taken – whilst folk were asleep in them.  This is distressing and unfortunately not unheard of in festivals.  I believe that it wasn’t anybody on the site already, but we’ll probably never know.  It made me wonder about our torn guy rope and the tent being partially unzipped, but who knows.

IMG_3243It’s a learning for future events – to double-check the security of access to the site from outside, and perhaps have a couple of security guys patrolling in the evening and early hours.  And of course, a reminder to all of us to be vigilant with valuables – keep them on your person or locked away in vans (or cars if you’re tenting it), and be a bit paranoid even once you’re in and asleep.  I pondered not mentioning this at all, but it’s something to be aware of – but absolutely shouldn’t put people off attending events, poor Debs and Phil were understandably distraught as were all the festival team (not least the folks who’d had things taken too).

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Freeborn Al / 4th April 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos

Snotfest?

12540637_10208690227158086_1485361613149906056_nThis post nearly didn’t make it due to some fairly desperately sad news in our family over the weekend – but I’ve since rationalised that tragedy should make you treasure the precious moments and people in your life all the more.  So it would be daft not to write about the weekend just gone for that reason alone.  You can never be sure when fate might deal you a truly shitty hand – so grab those opportunities to celebrate and be amongst your loved ones whenever you can.

So, on Saturday it was a surprise slightly early birthday party for Ella which Simon and Andrea had been busy organising.  The first I heard of it was a message from Simon asking me to set up a secret Facebook group to invite people to – unfortunately the eagle-eyed Ella was with me at the time… “What are you talking about with my Dad?” came the inevitable question, I’m not a good bluffer at the best of times but kinda got away with it.

The only other significant gauntlet to run was Brad’s gig up in Eastwood where plenty of now co-conspirators were present – but again, whilst she was aware stuff was afoot we got away with it for the most part.  The Saturday before her birthday as far as she was concerned involved going to Annie’s for lunch then heading out for a meal later, where I suspect she was expecting a few surprise faces to mysteriously be present at.

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Freeborn Al / 12th January 2016 / Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

It’s all about Drew..

IMG_2295There’s a common phrase that behind every great man there’s a great woman – of course, ignoring the simplistic assumptions around sexuality and dated notions around gender-equality it’s a nice sentiment.  The reason it sprang to mind when finally getting around to write about Drew’s 50th birthday bash which happened last weekend is that he and Adele kinda turn that on its head.  Whilst Nana is the public face of the kitchen that bears her name, Drew is the ever-dependable dude there too.

Anyway, I digress.  For months Adele had been plotting a surprise party for Drew to be hosted at the Black Market Venue in Warsop.  Why I’ve felt compelled to write about a private party on here is that every person in the room bar one, indeed, the room itself, were only known to me either directly or indirectly because of Ferocious Dog.  Folk met at gigs or festivals all of which I attended because of the spark the band provided and ignited me into a sometimes non-stop gig and festival going machine.

We had arrived in Warsop early – I’d picked up Ella and Dave from Loughborough station and after a tea stop at home we headed straight up there via grabbing Andy in Clifton.  So there was time aplenty for chat with the other attendees before we were ushered into the main hall at the back.  It’s been lovingly redecorated since I last went and we were soon all clustered behind the curtain in front of the main stage.  Drew was ostensibly just being taken for a drink in the bar area with a few local folk ahead of a trip to Nottingham the next day to see The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican.

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Freeborn Al / 22nd December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Dogfest 2016 – going, going… gone!

If you blinked you might’ve missed the window of opportunity for ordering tickets for Dogfest 2016 which went on sale shortly after the Rock City gig.  Dan announced on Facebook he was putting on sale the remainder of the tickets for the event on 13th February 2016 – which will once again be hosted at The Black Market Venue in Warsop – and it’s now officially sold out in a matter of days.

The line-up is all but confirmed – with one slot remaining for prospective bands to vie for – there’s been some amazing suggestions on the thread in the Facebook group already, so if any of those are successful in getting the final place it’ll be a fine addition to what is already a stellar line-up.  Gaz Brookfield isn’t available for the date sadly, although y’know, you need to mix it up a bit – he’s done the last two Dogfests after all!

Quite a change from the first Dogfest I attended back in 2012 – that definitely wasn’t a sell out, and my own attitude was less committed too.  We hotfooted it up mainly to see Ferocious Dog finish the day off having been at the football in the afternoon.  Fast forward to 2013 and there was merchandise and a lot more people, 2014 I think was sold out and amazing, of course 2015 was skipped to make way for Rock City and a change of date for February in 2016.

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Freeborn Al / 2nd December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

And a Bostin’ time was had by all!

IMG_1373How on earth do you go about summing up a day like Bostin’ Days Live? Both Jamie and Bart at different points in the day asked me how on earth I was going to keep track, I revealed a bit of note-taking on my phone to act as an aide memoire but well, that’s something I generally do (except when in Ferocious Dog moshpits funnily enough – can you imagine?!) and I frequently still frequently forget crucial details.  But making a few notes and making sure I grab a photo of key things I’ve seen generally suffices to at least try to get the point across.

The early finish in Bristol combined with exorbitant drink prices in the O2 Academy saw me on the road in good time – only an accident on the M42 caused some delays around Solihull, as I work there I’m well-versed in dodging that road, so got myself to my hotel where the owner was glad to let me check in early so I was at The Crew well before everything started.  Clad in the best wristband I’ve been given all year (it’s going to be a real bind to take this one off) and a nice plastic pint pot.  I thought about being sensible and ordered a cider.  Oops.

Shortly after Snotty and Simon arrived, it had been a bit odd being at a couple of Ferocious Dog gigs without her (the first question either of us get when out without the other is ‘where’s Snotface/Fisher?’  Anyway, it was good to be at an event together – as folk started arriving we made our way upstairs where things were kicking off – Steve Bentley opened the event by introducing the first performer and compere for the upstairs stage, Stevie ‘One Bloke One Mandolin’ Simpson, and also inviting a sheepish looking Addie on to the stage to mark the start of the event.

Now, I am confident I’ll remember everyone I saw – whether I remember songs I heard is another matter entirely!

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Freeborn Al / 18th October 2015 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments