Beer Cocktails and Reggae Pie at Hereford’s Latest Pub for the Craft Beer Connoisseur

The May Day Bank Holiday in the Hereford city centre was taken over by the annual Hereford River Carnival, which attracts tourists from afar with it’s unique and colourful celebrations.

The liveliness and atmosphere of the Carnival carry on into the evening at the various nearby pub restaurants and music venues who offer up an interesting variety of live music and dance music, some until the wee hours of the morning. It seems to have become a tradition, or perhaps more of an opportunity for the pubs to entertain the carnival goers who are wanting to carry on with their merry celebrations and benefit from the trade.

Firefly Hereford, Craft Beer, Local Herefordshire Cider and Ale, Bohemaian and Urban Uk Pub Vibe, Beer Cocktails
The Firely is located at 16 King St
Hereford, Herefordshire  Tel: 01432 358252

 

“Marcin Zachara has recently inherited the position of manager and is working on expanding the cocktail menu by curating his own unique beer cocktails that consist of spirits he infuses on the premises with either fruit, almonds, coffee, vanilla pods and other interesting additives”

I was one of those carnival goers looking to carry on where I left off, which in my case was co-hosting an acoustic live music stage at De Koffie Pot for the carnival. Don’t ask me where I found the energy, but I had compiled a list of various planned stops at all the venues hosting music and decided to begin in the Firefly on King Street. Well, I never left, I stayed until 3 a.m. deploying all my favourite reggae and dancehall dance moves, or perhaps they were ones I had invented in the moment – I really couldn’t leave and I really couldn’t stop dancing.

The Firefly Hereford just celebrated one year of trading and is the second location outside of the original location in Worcester, which is known for its quality craft ales and live music. The Hereford location received a warm welcome from the moment its doors opened and has developed a loyal clientele who enjoy the aesthetic of the pub created by owners, Mathew Pugh and Ray Velasquez, and the continuously fresh selection of incoming craft beers and ciders that make each experience one of inquisitive beer sampling leading to a pint of something to ponder over with your newly acquired craft beer knowledge.

STEERING THE SHIP

Firefly Hereford, Craft Beer, Local Herefordshire Cider and Ale, Bohemaian and Urban Uk Pub Vibe, Beer Cocktails
Photograph: Marcin Zachara

Behind every great pub is an experienced manager and friendly, willing bar staff to support the ideology of the venture. Marcin Zachara has recently inherited the position of manager and is working on expanding the cocktail menu by curating his own unique beer cocktails that consist of spirits he infuses on the premises with either fruit, almonds, coffee, vanilla pods and other interesting additives.

Marcin was fortunate to be given an opportunity to train with some of the countries best bartenders during his time at the Malmaison in Newcastle and is a true mixologist with an expansive imagination and flair for creating complementing alcoholic fusions. Myself along with two very discerning foodie friends were introduced to his beer cocktail fusions one lovely evening last week and I think we all still fondly savour them in our thoughts.

BEER COCKTAILS

Beer Cocktails at the Firefly hereford
Snail’s Cup Cider Cocktail Photograph: Catherine Jennings

We began with a ‘Snail’s Cup’ Cider Cocktail. Marcin combined gin he infused with lemon peel and cinnamon, the very tasty Herefordshire Snail’s Bank Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit Cider, (regularly available on tap), and topped it off with an extra crisp Prosecco. This cider cocktail was reminiscent of the summers one spends sipping on Pimms & Lemonade, but this cocktail has a bit more zest and edge to it. It receives a definite push as a summer favourite. This cocktail was priced at £5.

Beer Cocktails at the Firefly hereford
Kentucky Wonderland Photograph: Catherine Jennings

Then we bravely went on to try the ‘Kentucky Wonderland’ Porter/Stout Cocktail. This already looked like a proper gentlemen’s drink served in an old-fashioned bar glass with an orange peel. For this rather snazzy concoction, Marcin infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon with orange peels, coffee beans and vanilla pods. What a beautiful marriage of flavours! He then adds Thornbridge Brewery’s popular Cocoa Wonderland Porter  and tops it off with a splash of Coke.

The Cocoa Wonderland Porter has fast become a favourite of many and has a creamy chocolate taste with a hint of coffee bitterness. This cocktail was stunning and was not as rich as I expected it to be – it was balanced by the Bourbon and Coke. The selection of Beer Cocktails on the menu will change regularly, which in a way gives them an aire of exclusivity. I recommend you pop in soon to try one.

REGGAE PIE

So of course, on this River Carnival evening, I joined in on the Reggae Pie DJ Night and was mesmerised by the selection of reggae albums being played and the dancehall and ska that had me busting out my one of a kind dance moves (laugh with me readers). Reggae Pie is a collective of DJ’s who come together with their unique personal vinyl collections of previously mentioned musical styles and put on a pretty fierce night.

Early on in the afternoon, there were sets from Dr. Nico Demus Puffalot and Ally Baba in the beer garden, followed by live music from singing electronic keyboardist Regor followed by a beatboxing session from General Jams with whom audience members Mark Turner and Leo Bell joined in for some brilliant impromtu rapping. Once the music was moved inside due to cooling conditions, Owen Culture took over on the decks followed by BDS of Last Tree Squad. Finally there was the Idris Sound System trio with AshberB who came over from Aberyswyth.

The music carried until 3 a.m. and the Firefly soon was filled with like-minded punters joining in on the dancing, many who I recognised and realised were in a similar jolly state. Hereford has found its heart again and it is beating strong thanks to talented promoters like Reggae Pie and new establishments like the Firefly who bring their own kind of investment into our local culture, in this case, a pub with an urban and bohemian vibe that caters to people from the ages of 18 to 80. I don’t know if that is because Hereford is so isolated but young and old mix beautifully which is a sign of an intelligent, friendly and forward-thinking community. Who knew!

Happy drinking and dancing!

Visit the Firefly Facebook and Twitter Pages to find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

De Koffie Pot Gallery on the River Wye – Ria Parfitt Exhibition Open To Public Until March 17th

ARTIST RIA PARFITT EXHIBITION – FEBRUARY ’28 PAINTINGS IN 28 DAYS’  

De Koffie Pot, Bridge Street, Hereford, Herefordshire   HR4 9DG

http://herefordleftbank.com/

Photography by Grace Biddlecombe, Ria Parfitt Exhibition at De Koffie Pot Gallery Hereford

Friday Night was an absolute charmer of an evening. I Popped into the February – 28 Paintings in 28 Days’ Exhibition with my trusty sidekick and photographer in crime, Grace Biddlecombe, and was greeted by a buzzing atmosphere – a room of smiling art appreciators, or perhaps they were Ria Parfitt fans. After all, the girl is a diamond. Grace snapped plenty of photographs for us to share with you and hopefully, inspire you to come along and experience Ria Parfitt’s playful art. Interpret as you wish!

The good news is she sold 14 paintings that night and several prints. On the second day she sold more. Wow. The prints are rather stunning as well, so you can pick one up if your favourite painting has sold. I am sure they are limited edition so you probably don’t want to linger too long. The possibility of a sell out is in the cards.

Photography by Grace Biddlecombe, Ria Parfitt Exhibition at De Koffie Pot Gallery Hereford

The exhibition is open to the public until St. Patrick’s Day in the De Koffie Pot Gallery located on the first floor. If you have not been to this Dutch-inspired converted coach house cafe you must add it to your places to lounge after a long day of shopping in the Hereford city centre. It is located along the River Wye and is part of a family venture that also manage the famous Left Bank venue. It’s beautiful and the coffee and cake are a hook – they also serve scrumptious food.

De Koffie Pot has become a social hub for culture on the River Wye in Hereford. The city’s creative demographic are being welcomed by venues around Hereford to host events and perform. The city is undergoing an evolution which is taking a positive direction.

I must mention that on the way out there was a room right across the gallery on the first floor that Grace and I gravitated towards illuminated with beautifully lit candles on the tables. They were preparing for their free Friday night live music events. Magical!

Follow Ria Parfitt on Facebook Here

Photography by Grace Biddlecombe

Catch Ria Parfitt performing with her band Mexicola at The Booth Hall Hereford March 25th. Doors 8pm £6 entry £4 with NUS card.

mexicola supports louise distras at the booth hall hereford

‘This is England’ 2017 Night Relived at The Venue Hereford

‘THIS IS ENGLAND’ NIGHT AT THE VENUE, JANUARY 6TH 2017

“Terminal Rage played a blistering set in the middle of this to an energetic response of dancing and pogoing and the bands in your face punk showed another side of the sounds that shaped This Is England”

Though they do still exist, definable subcultures aren’t really as big as they used to be and certainly not as big as they were in the 1980s and 90s. Punks, skinheads, rudeboys and rudegirls, goths and ravers all at one point ruled the country and all had their looks set out just right, as well, as the music that they listened to and all feature highly when you think of the different tribes of those eras. It is that era that Shane Meadows classic film and its subsequent follow up TV series This Is England is set, and this special night at The Venue paid tribute to it and the music that defined it with classic songs from those days along with a set by local punk heroes Terminal Rage.

the venue hereford 2017

Arriving at The Venue to two big screens and a smaller one in the middle of the stage above a DJ setup and the Terminal Rage equipment set the stage as the screens played montages of news, adverts and TV shows from throughout the times when This Is England was set and this nonstop barrage of retro memories really set the scene (who remembers Kellogs Start cereal, Teddy Ruxpin and Trio biscuits?!).

“Hopefully there will be something similar happening again, paying tribute to another classic film and the music that shaped it, with its sequel due out shortly, one for Trainspotting would be excellent!”

These visuals played a big part with the footage that also played from both This is England and the three television series that followed it showing the changing fashions that Shaun, Woody, Lol and the rest of the gang sported from skinheads to up for it ravers inspired by the Madchester scene and the music being blasted out by DJ  MoonOnAStick reflected that.

Throughout the night the crowd skanked along to the likes of Madness and The Specials and some other choice reggae and ska hits, grooved to both the original version and Soft Cell’s remake of Tainted Love, danced to Joy Division and swaggered to the legendary She Bangs The Drum by the Stone Roses before the night ended with a selection of classic acid house anthems. Terminal Rage played a blistering set in the middle of this to an energetic response of dancing and pogoing and the bands in your face punk showed another side of the sounds that shaped This Is England.

Terminal Rage, This is England 2017, The Venue Hereford
Left – Terminal Rage Bassist/Vocals Terminal Rage, Raphael La Roche Right – Guitar/Vocals Rich Lovell

Opening with a scathing selection of dialogue from the film that took firm aim at that parasite Nigel Farage, Terminal Rage wasted no time in blasting out the defiant punk anthems with a mixture of their own material like the far right attitudes bashing Casual Racist and some choice punk classics with songs by the Pistols, The Clash, Anti Nowhere League and the Stooges going down a storm and showing how important punk was to that time and still is today to an energetic audience.

As the night went on, the vibes kept coming and all in all, this was an excellent and vibrant night that paid tribute to a glorious time in this nations culture and the only disappointment were that the drinks were not priced as they were in the 80s! Hopefully there will be something similar happening again, paying tribute to another classic film and the music that shaped it, with its sequel due out shortly, one for Trainspotting would be excellent!

Article by Freelance Writer Gavin Brown

Photography by Dominique Brinkley

Hereford Rocks – Twas A Matter of Rock On The River All Day Long

Hereford Rocks The Left Bank 5th March 2016

Review by Rich Lovell, Music Director Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution, Frontman to Terminal Rage and OG Punk.  

Linerunners

Some day’s music this was, with it starting early afternoon and running right through to just short of midnight. As is everyday life, I had “stuff” to do during the day, but arrived just as the Linerunners kicked off their set.

Toby Armitage from Linerunners
Toby Armitage from Linerunners

Continue reading “Hereford Rocks – Twas A Matter of Rock On The River All Day Long”

Club Dead 2; Gives Hereford Deadly Live Bands, Horror, & Cryptic Dance Tunes. A Good Night Then!

claire perkins, a hundreds suns, perk Review by Claire Perkins, Front Woman for a A Hundred Suns, Solo Artist Perk and Music, Travel, Food Reviewer/Blogger – Hereford City Centric, Cyberperkblog

 

So, the eagerly awaited Club Dead 2 graced our diaries last Saturday, and it way surpassed expectations. After arriving to industrial music booming into the souls and stereos, and with the bleakly lit, red lights in place, it appeared that all were heading for a tip top evening.

We were lucky enough to have ‘live specimens’ according to the poster, and with names such as ‘Skin horse’, it wouldn’t surprise me if there had been jars of glycerine on display with horse skin and flesh on show, with an eyeball or two thrown in for good measure. But no, they were the band first up on the bill.

They’re a local duo, with Ben smashing out fuzzing, riding riffs on his bass, whilst Andy plays the drums with vigour and intensity that could only really be comparable to having the arms of an octopus. You need to go and watch this band. They’ll take you on a trip to wherever you want to go. They are stupefying.

Listen to Nothing Clean

Next up to entertain the commendable turnout was a hardcore band from the realms of Leicester called ‘Nothing Clean’. They seemed right at home in The Booth Hall playing a set that stormed through the crowds guts, with wee minute songs. Together the band undercovered a ray of emotion that hopefully a psychologist would never get hold of, as they’ll be renedered incapable way past their retirement date.

Club dead 2, The Booth Hall, Hereford
Chill out upstairs to a bit of horror in the haunting candle lit space that once was a court room where many were sent to their doom!

Headlining were the heavy, penetrating Fetus Christ, which are local lads who sound like they want you to listen. And if you don’t listen, they might kill you. They’ve got a grindcore thing going on, and they breezed through their set. The crowd was buzzed, as a mosh pit began and the crazy energy filled the room

So, crazy energy downstairs (dancing later, nuff said)…and with the black and white films rolling, a chilled vibes upstairs. You can take the energy or chill if you will.

Club Dead 2 was rad. Here’s to the next one

Also Read The Booth Hall’s ‘Club Dead’ Launch Night; The Anti-Club Bringing Hereford’s Alterntives Out of Hiding…Finally

Photography by Nick Vidal-Hall

The Booth Hall’s ‘Club Dead’ Launch Night; The Anti-Club Bringing Hereford’s Alterntives Out of Hiding…Finally

claire perkins, a hundreds suns, perk

Review by Claire Perkins, Front Woman for a A Hundred Suns, Solo Artist Perk and Music, Travel, Food Reviewer/Blogger – Hereford City Centric, Cyberperkblog

On a dismal Saturday night, I hauled my behind to The Booth to check out a new club night, Club Dead. It’s aim is to play sludgy, grinding music, that you’d probably never hear in any club ever, which defies the typical music scene instantly.

It’s the brain child of the lovely Joolz Muckhart-Lilley, who’s got so bored of the lack of Hereford club scene, (with hiding alternatives everywhere afraid to crack open their shells), that he thought he’d conjure up a wee bit of noise himself.  As a frequenter of Leeds industrial scene, he needed something more, which the like minded, shell crackers are so relieved to hear.

I was lucky enough to interview him, as I leaped on him as he ventured outside for a cigarette, poor fellow. But I was greeted with a humble, grateful soul, and it goes a little something like this:

What inspired the night, ‘Club Dead’?

What me and my mates like doing is lying around listening to really far out music, and we often get the problem of unsympathetic neighbours, as we like to do it loud!  I remember when you used to be able to go to clubs, and really transgressive music was playing, like you wouldn’t bat an eyelid hearing bands such as Godflesh or Swans in a club, and I realised I hadn’t been to anything like this in years. Music had a peak in the 80’s of being completely savage, whereas you go to metal nights these days and they’re less grindy. I like the perversity of making this anti-club where people aren’t expected to dance. I’m after chilling and listening.

Is this going to be a regular night? And if so, what will change?

It’ll change as we’ll have live specimens. We’re going to have some live bands that will integrate with the whole thing. We’re going to set up the stage downstairs so that you can watch from above and throw veg and underwear if the need takes.

Who is this DJ Dead and where does he hail from?

The truth about DJ Dead, is that he allows any of my little bunch. We all come out of the Hereford Hardcore scene, so Fetus Christ and Maniac SS, and I was in one band ‘Sun’ who were briefly very loud a few years ago.

So, the point of DJ Dead, is there’s practically nothing for you to do when you’re playing 15 minute long songs. I mean, what are you going to do, just stand there? All DJ’s do is play records, and anything that isn’t sophisticated dance music, DJ’s just play in order.

You dont need to pay a guy to do that! There’s nothing for a human to do up there, so we had this idea of getting a Skelington to do it instead, which means that anybody can be DJ dead. (Ladies and Gents, I’ve been lucky enough to meet the anatomical hunk that is DJ Dead, and regardless of the one eyeball, he is HOT! And I asked if I could borrow his hoody but there was no response). 

So what’s the oldest record you’re playing and the newest tonight?

The newest would be what we opened with, which was ‘New Dark Ages’ by Godflesh that was released in 2015. The oldest would be from the 70’s – it was Bauhaus. We did ‘Stigma Matyr’ which was very late 70’s, or perhaps peaking into the 80’s. We were going to go back a bit further with Hawkwind (Please do next time – they kick ass!) as they’d have a great place in Club Dead. But we’re going in at the deep end with the heavy records as a challenge and to see how it goes. We can go cosmic later.

I tried to fit in with the whole Club Dead thing by having boots with feathers on – is there anything else that you’ve seen tonight that fits in with the dead right now?

*Laughs* Not really. But I’m one of these people that still looks like an industrial person from 1991 with big boots and a leather jacket. I’ve always been into Death culture – I loved horror films as a child and found out about metal a few years later. Like there was an actual music that correlated with death!  I’ve also written a thesis about death. I’ve always had morbid streak.

The Booth was built at the end of the 14th Century and is pretty old. Do you think that there was an actual Club Dead at the end of this period and someone actually died? And how do you think they died?

There was a myth knocking about that it was used as a courthouse at first and a coaching house. Apparently there were a few hangings here – probably for sheep stealing and the like, similar to The Skirrid Inn on the Abergavenny road.

12736372_10156483148790363_250665181_n

I came to a club here once in 1988! It’s great though as Willow and Arran (the owners) are trying to re-frame what this place is. They should make up a ghost story to go with it – it’d be totally believable! *Conversation leads to the ominous looking shed next to The Booth. Joolz reckons there’d be meat hooks hanging from the ceiling to carve into the flesh of innocents, whereas I imagine if you slept in there and get stirred by a freaky noise, you’d soon realise you’d been awoken to a hungry donkey roar. Interview ends with our donkey impressions*.

I spend the rest of the evening taking in the tunes upstairs, with the red lights decorating the dark room and watching black and white films on the big screen, I realise there’s something old worldly about this. As I fiddle with candle wax, guess wrong tunes and drink far too many Westons, I realise there’s something comfortable here. Even if bands play at these events, I hope the chill factor continues afterwards. This is escapism at it’s best.

The Booth Hall, 3 East Street, Hereford HR1 2LW   Facebook / Twitter

Look Out For Those Smokin’ Hot ‘Hereford Blues Club’ Nights

Hereford Blues Club at The Booth Hall, Hereford, England

Last Saturday, on a most anticipated Saturday evening, The Hereford Blues Club launched at Hereford’s new venue for live music and performance The Booth Hall.  Press gathered, musicians warmed up and promoters chit chatted excitedly, and then the purple velvet curtain swung open as the buzzing public arrived for the amazing night that lay ahead of them.

“These young, local musicians captured the essence of blues that night for me, as well as adding their own musical stamp to the blues style”

John Steven Hales, who established and runs Pork Belly Promotions, with the assistance of his faithful sidekick Clare Foster, who always has a sunny demeanor and runs her own successful promotions entity, Clear Cut Productions, has done Hereford a great service by launching this smokin’ hot Blues Night, a regular occurrence in the city, putting Hereford on the map as a Saturday night destination for live music and blues lovers from afar.

Sweet talk play the Hereford Blues Club at The Booth Hall
Local blues musicians Sweet Talk

Who doesn’t love a bit of blues?   Rock ‘n’ Roll wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the blues – many blues chord progressions are still used in rock today.  John, brought two excellent bands to the venue, baby-faced Sweet Talk, who never cease to blow me away, and already signed Troy Redfern.  He has many more esteemed acts booked for the Hereford Blues Club bill that are worthy of anticipating.  All very exciting for this city indeed.

 

As I stood there among the crowd, who were in a hypnotic trance taking in the musical vibes the slide guitar style was eminating throughout the venue,  I was taken back to a time when I took a road trip through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, a place where Blues has made a very special home, and a trip in which I was fortunate to pass the Louisiana bayou at dawn, witnessing the craw fishing boats, with their lanterns illuminating the darkeness – then once again reality transported me back to the realization that I was standing in a medieval pub in good ol’ Hereford, England.

These young, local musicians captured the essence of blues that night for me, as well as adding their own musical stamp to the blues style.  I suddenly had a warm fuzzy feeling, and a very proud smile on my face knowing these were local Hereford boys.

On 27 March, The Hereford Blues Club brings The Luke Doherty Band, prestigiously nominated for Best Young Blues Artist, to the Booth Hall once again for another crackin’ night.  I have seen this band play previously, you don’t want to miss them.  They will be supported by The Tetrachords.  Can you hear the blues a comin’?

Hereford Blues Club   Facebook / Twitter

The Booth Hall, 3 East Street, Hereford HR1 2LW   Facebook / Twitter

Photography by Jonathon Paul     Facebook / Twitter