Shirebrook together..

I love initiatives like this – Shirebrook Together intends to revitalise an area, to encourage folk to get out and get involved in local events.  I picked up my tickets at Farmer Phil’s, literally within seconds of chatting with Waggy I’d had a couple of tickets thrust at me – for just a fiver it promised to be a good laugh though, Shanks’ Pony and The Star Botherers would provide the soundtrack along with a disco crossed with a megalithic monument set up by the side of the stage.  On the one hand I go to things like this and lament the dearth of local folk who take part, but then realise that there could well be similar things set up closer to home I’m not aware of!

With an early start the next morning I drove up despite having a few overnight options, and arrived just as a deluge was stopping mercifully to park just up the road from the venue – the Shirebrook Welfare.  I headed in and nearly wandered into the members-only bar to the left, but hearing music coming from further down the corridor I carried on toward the function room, what an ace room it is!  Angela was outside on the phone so I knew I was in the right place, inside I found Waggy to hand over my ticket to, and John, Rob, Annie, Rob and Caroline had already bagged a table.

I mentioned a dearth of people above but the room was filling up quite nicely – there was a disco running, one part music system, two parts light show and ten parts skyscraper – it was spectacularly loud!  It made conversation very shouty, but well, we can manage that!  Moving over to the stage The Star Botherers were up first, a little late in getting on so the set and soundcheck merged into one, poor Bob on the sound being kept well and truly on his toes in getting them underway as the first track / soundcheck track 13 Years in Oregon got everyone’s feet tapping.

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Freeborn Al / 4th September 2017 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos

Not extinguished at the Old Fire Station..

IMG_1514As morning broke in Newcastle I was feeling pretty good – both Carl and I had a great night’s sleep and were up and ready to tackle breakfast downstairs where we found Waggy and Ellis already seated.  That’s right, Ellis was already there!  Folk started arriving downstairs, piecing together the night before – Les had walked to the wrong Premier Inn who gave him a map to find the right one, John and Scott had been on an adventure that saw them end up at the University and in the middle of a busy traffic island – but everyone was unscathed.

Breakfast was very welcome, that’s for sure!  Eventually with everyone sorted and checked out we returned to Cerebus for the next leg of our journey, Brad hopping in Ellis’ car, Les coming with us as he’d travelled up by train from Leeds.  We needed to get a bit of fuel, and as Carl spotted a convenient petrol station Scott and John’s choice of location for a cigarette break gave Ken the chance to spot and recognise The Denton, which was the venue for Jay’s wake last year.

Having bought some poppies in the garage Ken decided we needed to go and have a pint to honour our old friend – Carl duly drove the bus over there and we did just that, a fitting way to be heading out of Newcastle to follow the course of Hadrian’s Wall (every wall we passed on the way loudly announced to be Hadrian’s Wall).  Kenny’s battery had run out so I let him use mine to peruse Facebook.  Amazingly he resisted the urge to ‘Frape’ me – unless he left inappropriate comments somewhere I’ve yet to find – I don’t think he did though, what a gent!

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Freeborn Al / 25th October 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

Deer, stock and (mead) barrel..

IMG_0711Ah, so that was Deerstock.  Now I’m home, the tent is dried and back in the bag (subject to repairs later), I’m showered and the washing machine is on probably the most daunting task of the day is how on earth to go about summing up four days and nights of mayhem in a field in Newton?  Deerstock 2014 was definitely the highlight of my year last year, and this year might well have just gone and topped even that.  So I will apologise in advance for the wordiness, and for the inevitable blanks in my recall… this is going to be a loooooong post.

Off work on Thursday I was mooching around planning on arriving on the site around 4pm – upon messaging Tim around lunchtime he revealed that he and Tina had already set up camp – so rather than pace around the house I hopped straight in the car and made my way to Newton via the supermarket for last minute supplies.  Tina and Tim had done a great job in saving a chunk of space to keep us all together – and I was soon pitched and sorted in time to help Lisa and Pixie get their tent up.

Once cabin fever relieves you get that slight craziness and the concoctions came out perhaps a little earlier than planned.  As we got steadily more pickled by the fire we had the chance to marvel at how quickly Spike can put up his gigantic tent, and see our village slowly constructing itself around us.  A ramshackle and wonderful mixture of camper vans and tents nestled together containing many of my favourite people – sure, there wasn’t any music on, but that wasn’t really needed.

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Freeborn Al / 27th July 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos

A triumphant homecoming..

unnamedI talked about my reservations over Splendour as an event before – a little too sterile, a bit too rule-bound, and it didn’t bode well when arriving at the site as it opened to see loads of people having assorted things confiscated.  In defence of the security guys, they were very courteous and I thought the organisers had done a decent job in communicating what would and wouldn’t be permitted on the site – but well, taking a lads water off him because he’d had a swig on the way to the park?  A bit much!

After the state I got in three years ago I didn’t attempt any smuggling of contraband this year – more’s the pity as I wasn’t so much as patted down on my way through the gate!  It’s probably a good thing though!  Early on to the site my first objective was something to eat, which was duly purloined from the bacon cob van – shortly after this I bumped into Ian and Lucy for a quick chat over our assorted food choices.  They’d hit the bar already, which was my next stop.

Ah, beer tokens.  I loathe them – but grudgingly bought some in order to get that all important first cider of the day.  You can see why they don’t want people bringing their own booze in when they’re charging £4 a pint for their own edited range of beverages.  That said, ales, lager, cider, jägerbombs and Pimm’s were all on offer in exchange for a magic token.  After picking up a drink I wandered down to the Confetti Stage where Georgie and her band were getting set up.

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Freeborn Al / 19th July 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos

Glaston-buried, but the fun doesn’t end..

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I think it’s fair to say that Ferocious Dog‘s debut at Glastonbury has been a resounding success – just look at this photo I pinched from Scott!  Certainly the number of search engine hits to this site searching for more information about them has increased since Monday.  The cherry-on-the-cake of some BBC coverage of course never transpired, but with folk uploading photos and videos to Facebook we did at least catch a glimpse of the performance, to the third biggest Avalon crowd of the weekend.  Fantastic. (special shout out to Colin who was uploading stuff as it was happening).

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Freeborn Al / 1st July 2015 / Band, Gigs, Interview, Music, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

A fish that’s learned to fly..

Sam Jones

Sam Jones

Nights like tonight are how a weekend constrained by work in the morning should be eased out of.  Of course, like many of us I was forlornly checking Facebook for scraps of how the boys might be going down at Glastonbury (and thanks to a kind chap called Colin uploading some videos, as well as a few pictures arriving, I saw much more than I thought I would – scan the FD Facebook Group to see).  It sounds like a rip-roaring success we were confident they’d achieve.

The third biggest crowd in Avalon over the weekend, and whilst perhaps not as lively as they’re accustomed to, a lively crowd nonetheless and an encore demanded and delivered – there’s a video of the crowds reaction as Ken was leaving the stage (with the obligatory picture from Waggy in the background) which suggests that there might have been a fair number of new Hell Hounds indoctrinated into he fold this afternoon.  I’m sure further video and photographic evidence will feature over the next week or so!

But for me today was leading up the M1 to Mansfield to the Brown Cow for one of Sam Jones’ acoustic evenings – a somewhat hidden gem of a fortnightly event that takes place showcasing both Sam himself as well as a fine array of other talented performers.  Tonight we had Sam, Paige and an unknown quantity for me called King of Rome – something I twigged as being a reference to the famous homing pigeon from Derby (don’t even ask how I knew that…)

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Freeborn Al / 28th June 2015 / Gigs, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Not-being-at-Glastonbury distractions..

IMG_0406As the appointed hour of the appointed day comes for Ferocious Dog at Glastonbury since I’ve not been able to follow them to this particular landmark it’s been a week of finding alternative musical amusement for myself, and frankly it’s been rather an easy task.  I’ve heard reports that their smaller gig at the Bimble Inn went down very well indeed and now they’ll be psyching themselves up to take to the Avalon Stage at 2pm today.

Looking at the array of talent available in the Fields of Avalon I’d be spending a lot of time there – so hopefully plenty of similarly-minded folk are doing just that to get them in front of plenty of new appreciative faces.  Not least I hope the various folk I know who are there heed my advice and get themselves there – otherwise there’ll be trouble, and since the BBC cameras don’t reach as far as Avalon, we’re depending on Waggy et al to try to capture some of the event.

But for me I’ve been finding my fun elsewhere – whilst I can well imagine the experience of being at the festival is unforgettable – I’ve never really got much out of watching highlights on TV.  So last night I headed over to the lovely Colville Arms in Lullington where a small beer festival was underway with the promise of a couple of sets from Paige Seabridge to make up for the fact that I needed to drive there so couldn’t sample more than one of the beers on offer.

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Freeborn Al / 28th June 2015 / Band, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Here comes the Willow man..

IMG_0361To be home in Leicestershire, showered and in bed with t’laptop before 11pm having spent a day basking in a fine array of talent at a festival in North Yorkshire is both a good thing and perhaps in another light testimony to a missed opportunity of spending more time at the Willowman Festival.  It was a cracking day and I’m reliably informed by friends who spent a long weekend there that today was certainly not an exception – definitely one I’ll be looking out for in the future.  I reckon Brian might well blog in more detail about the whole festival later.

Whilst of course I can offer no guarantees of my intentions and what I end up doing to watch Ferocious Dog, it had been my intention to ‘settle for Settle’ this weekend and skip Willowman, but with the twinned revelations that the former gig had been cancelled and that Ferocious Dog’s closing set was in fact finishing before 8pm it opened up the opportunity to travel up for the day and still get home at a reasonable time to get to bed at a reasonable hour in preparation to get up for work in the morning.

So come Sunday morning in the car I hopped and quick service station stop aside it was an event-free journey.  I elected to leave my car outside on the road rather than go into the car park simply to aid the quick escape, and it wasn’t far from there to the entrance to the festival.  E-ticket exchanged for an armband and at just gone noon I found myself walking into the field – almost immediately bumping into Mick, buying the most gigantic portion of nachos I’ve ever seen in my life!

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

Why Settle for less?

I’m sure that you’ll have heard by now that the Ferocious Dog gig in the Victoria Hall in Settle has been postponed due to issues outside the control of the band.  Disappointing, but in the face of such adversity of having the promise of a weekend gig it makes you have to work on alternative plans.  Hopefully once the gig is rearranged I’ll be able to make it as I was looking forward to the visit!

First up I’ve been playing with some of Waggy’s photos and was particularly pleased with this one of Ken taken at the Evesham gig made up entirely of the words ‘Red Ken’ – I’ll have to have a play with other images when I get the chance!

red_ken

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Freeborn Al / 18th June 2015 / Band, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts / 0 Comments

Whoa-oh.. the dogs of Brixton..

IMG_0310Gracetonbury in Brixton was going to be another of those pauses in my Ferocious Dog diary that turned out not to be a pause.  A sell-out event, I was lucky enough to spot some returns go on sale in a moment of weakness and snapped them up.  With Simon and Ella kind enough to offer me crash-space for the evening it made the decision all the more easy (not that I take much persuading, as you may have noticed!).

First order of business was to get myself down to their place, from where we picked up Ella from work.  Her boss was somewhat confused to see her literally pounce upon an unsuspecting customer wandering into the place (me), and soon enough we hit the road – the plan being to park the car up in a secure spot in Camden that Simon had access to, tube it down the Victoria line to Brixton and get a taxi back to Camden later.

After parking up and meeting a horse that was close to where we parked (no really!) it was a quick schlep to Kings Cross and off we went.  I had planned on playing my favourite tube game of looking at people and smiling – this backfired when a lovely friendly lady sat opposite me, but that was better if anything, friendly people on the tube!  Even better still, she asked if Simon was my dad – ha ha!  Sorry Simon.

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Freeborn Al / 14th June 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments