On a beautiful and sunny May evening, the setting of the beer garden outside theLeft Bank is definitely the place to be with its scenic views and serene atmosphere, and that, coupled with a nice cold pint in hand, was the setting in which to enjoy the pre-summer good weather and calm vibes before this evening’s entertainment.
The Easter weekend is traditionally a time for a lot of things. For some, it’s the chance to catch up with family, for some it’s time off work, for others it’s the actual meaning of this time of year, for many it’s chocolate and alcohol, but for the lucky people of Hereford this year, it was this double-header of live music (along with plenty of chocolate and alcohol too!) that made this an Easter to remember.
With a variety of bands and an eclectic mix of styles over the weekend brought to you by the wonderful people of HeyLittleMonster and The Underground Revolution, there was something for just about everyone to enjoy and every band played their hearts out.
RAPTOR, NEW REVIVAL AND AS MAMAS
“It’s a thankless task to be both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at the same time, but Fletcher did an awesome job of trying while the band’s talented rhythm section did their best to be the best Bonham and Jones they could!”
Starting Good Friday through to the following Monday after Easter Sunday, Hereford city centre will be buzzing with live music spread throughout Hereford’s different city quarters each night of the Easter Bank Holiday. Gather up your friends, partners or have a wander on your own and make new friends – they say there is no place like home.
Happy Easter from Hereford City Centric!
Good Friday, April 14
DJ Ally and Dr Nico Demus Puffalot will take you to warmer shores with their selection of Funky Latin Jazz and Calypso. The Fireflyhas a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a grand selection of craft ales, beers and ciders, as well as, refreshing cocktails. I say a spiced rum is in tall order.
Alternative, Indie and rock promoter Hey Little Monsterand Hereford’s 3-piece Psychedelic Blues band Raptor bring us a super-charged night of Psychedelic Blues and Rock in Hereford’s popular live music venue The Booth Hallon East Street. Three amazing bands for £4 only!
A solo show by accomplished singer-songwriter Chris Quinn who has been garnering highly favourable reviews for his debut solo album, across the divide and much radio airplay including from Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe.
His music is a fusion of Celtic, Folk, Bluegrass and Delta Blues. This event is hosted by The Wild Hare Clubat the extremely poetic De Koffie Pot. £10 entry.
This event can only be described as a music experience. The HCA inSTALL8 Fine Art students bring you a fusion of psychedelic jazz and folk bands for an avant-garde evening on the water. The money raised will go towards raising funds for their dream exhibition in London.
The Speakeasy is located in the Left Bank which is also set on the beautiful River Wye. £5 entry.
Mr Morris and The Low End will be spinning dapjam hip hop, funk and rare grooves. It’s all about the jams. Join them and bring friends to the Firefly on King Street. Free Entry.
Easter Sunday, April 16th
After you take the kids on their Easter egg hunts and have had your enormously indulgent meal, you will want to get some fresh air and be thankful it’s all over (please leave the dishes for another day).
DJ jus’jay & Rich will be playing family friendly music from their seasonal vinyl collection. Enjoy a pint and take in the river at De Koffie potfrom 2pm Easter Sunday.
For the more daring and adventurous souls who have now left Easter behind and care only for the free time off of work and university, The Underground Revolution host local punk band Teddy’s Leg’s hometown tour gig at The Booth Hall. They bring with them 2 similar lively bands.
Right about 8pm when doors open you will be thankful the dysfunctional family dinner is over. Just don’t blame them if you wake up hugging the chocolate Easter egg your nan gave you. £4 entry.
Local Psychedelic Blues bandRaptorjoined me on the sofa for a bit of banter in Hereford’s latest thriving music venue on East Street where they will also be performing April 15th.
…we are good mates and spend a lot of time together drinking cans, playing Space Invaders on our Playstation 2 and listening to records. Also making music and avoiding politics!
Hereford Indie/Alternative music promoterHey Little Monsterand Raptor are putting on a good and groovy show for you at The Booth Hall featuring two Psychedelic Blues bands: Hereford boys Raptor andAs Mamasfrom Worcester, and also Welsh rock band New Revivalwho formed in 2015 and have had plenty of national radio play. It’s like a magic carpet ride with a pint in hand. See the Facebook eventHERE.
The nights are getting warmer and yes, the living is getting easier (III knooow…I nicked that from the song), and this lineup is just right for a bit of letting your hair down with friends during the Easter Break. I figured I should catch Raptor before they shuttle off to Bristol where they reside now and sit them on the sofa. It has been a year since I interviewed them at the first Hereford Rocks and I wanted to know how things changed over the span of a year for the two brothers who make up the original members of Raptor. Read Hereford Rocks Raptor interview HERE
KURT FLETCHER – guitar and vocals
ADAM FLETCHER – drums
LOU HOPCUTT – Bass
Herford City Centric: So let’s dive right into the nitty-gritty guys, what has changed about Raptor over a year? Any new members?
Raptor: Yes! We have a new bassist Lou Hopcutt.
HCC: Well Lou definitely has the Raptor look, tall and long hair with lots of gorgeous curls. Has the style of music you are playing changed or gone in a different direction? Has living in Bristol influenced your music?
Raptor: We are working more on our psychedelic side and taking the time to expand on our ideas more intricately. Doing our music course has taught us how to be more efficient, well-rounded and doing gigs helps us put what we learn into practice. Also, being around the Bristol music scene where something new is happening every week keeps our minds fresh and inspires our work ethic.
Find Raptors first EP on ITunes HERE
HCC: Sounds like a win-win situation. How does the Bristol and Hereford music scene compare?
Adam: The Hereford music scene is thriving at the moment, but the difference is Bristol has a larger population and is more widespead than Hereford, so more venues and opportunities, but it’s the people and the venue that make the experience where ever you gig.
HCC: I see your point. Do all 3 of you live in Bristol?
Raptor: We do. It makes things a lot easier besides we are good mates and spend a lot of time together drinking cans, playing Space Invaders on our Playstation 2 and listening to records. Also making music and avoiding politics!
HCC: Oh boy, Space Invaders! Love that game! Do you long for Hereford though?
Kurt: We miss the people and wish we could just transport all our friends over to Bristol.
Lou: I miss the trees.
Adam: It is pretty noisy in Bristol. We grew up near Leominster so there wasn’t a lot of noise pollution which I appreciate now.
HCC: I seriously understand how you all feel, it is always nice to have Hereford to come back to. Are you guys self-sufficient in the kitchen now that you live on your own and what is your favourite kind of food?
Lou: I am a standard steak and chips kind of guy.
Kurt: I am a pretty decent cook and love a good Thai Green Curry. Adam isn’t handy in the kitchen but makes a mess like he has been in there cooking.
HCC: Ha! That is funny. I know who’s doorbell I will be ringing next time I am in Bristol. Back to music, is there a new album in the works? New songs?
Raptor: We are about to go into the studio and hope to be done recording 8 or 9 songs by the summer. We will be playing 3 of our new songs at the Hey Little Monster gig on April 15th, so come along and check us out.
HCC: Nice! Any festivals lined up this year?
Kurt: So far we are playing Down on the Farmin August which is exciting. I have been going to Down on the Farm since the beginning. It is a fantastic festival that is perfect for Hereford. We are playing on the Saturday night just before the headliner.
HCC: It is such an affordable festival that has a great mix of local and national bands. Rich Lovell will be happy to know you have been supporting DOTF since the beginning – he puts a lot of effort into making the music happen on the main stage. Everyone does a brilliant job including Kirsty Morris (Hey Little Monster) who puts together the acoustic acts.
Soo tell me…what is your favourite alcoholic beverage?
Adam: Single Malt Whiskey (oooh)
Lou: Stella or just any lager I can afford that day. (guess that is why they call it “cans”)
Kurt: Lou drinks his lager out of a gravy boat. Newcastle or Goblin for me.
HCC: Beer with a Bisto undernote…not so sure. Kurt you are an artist as well. Do you design the merchandise and branding for Raptor?
Kurt: I do and I designed the shirt Lou is wearing. I have used marble art in the past as well for a more psychedelic effect.
HCC: Handy! Look forward to seeing your new album cover as well as listening to it now. It has been really fun having you guys. The last question is, I also noticed you all have really fun shoes on but none are quite the same…what’s the story?
Kurt: I like anything pointy
Adam: I can’t really do pointy shoes when I am doing the drums. Anything 60’s style when it comes to shoes.
Lou: Trainers! Addidas Trainers!
HCC: Thanks so much to Raptor for joining me on the music sofa (such lovely and talented dudes), The Booth Hall for hosting the ‘Sounds From The Sofa’ interviews, the bar staff for carrying the heavy sofa on and off stage for me and Grace Biddlecombe for being my lovely sidekick photographer.
Reopened in late 2015 by pocket rocket team Arran and Willow Vidal-Hall, The Booth Hall on East Street has become the go-to place in Hereford revered for its friendly welcoming atmosphere, live music and alternative entertainment.
Over the last twelve months it has played host to punk-rock legends TV Smith, Subhumans and Steve Ignorant, supported up and coming artists of all genres from all over the world and has become the home for sell out charitable festivals and fundraisers.
Hereford Rocks with Turquoise Llama, Mexicola and Freeborn Rising @ The Booth Hall 4 November 2016
The Autumn chill is briskly creeping upon us and the inclination to hibernate is the backlash wanting to keep us behind closed doors in cosy slipper socks drinking tea and turning us into social lepers. Meanwhile, there is gig after gig filling the musical void that once plagued Hereford’s sluggish pubs and music venues.
Say no to hibernation!! Last Friday November 4th was an exceptionally chilly evening and the Tropic of Cancer blood that flows through my veins was rebelling against the elements. The brick and mortar was at the ready for me to put up that winter wall, not to mention that extra winter layer…after all we know that “Winter is Coming”.
It was a total pleasure to sit down for an interview with such a lovely bunch of musicians performing live for the first time at John Hales ‘Hereford Rocks’ gig as the four-piece unit known as Mexicola. They were clearly excited and slightly distracted…who could blame them though, the crowd were heavily anticipating the performance. The pressure was on.
Bass Guitar – Colette Nicholls
Electric Guitar – Simon Bedford
Electric Guitar/Vocals – Ria Parfitt
Drums – Jonah Webb
Hereford City Centric:Simon and Ria, you once were in a band known as Artstar who seemed to be doing pretty well playing around the counties, when and why did you bring Artstar to a halt?
Simon/Ria: We finished with Artstar 2 1/2 years ago due to being overwhelmed in our personal lives. We really needed to take some time for ourselves. We planned to reform as Artstar but then Mexicolahappened.
HCC: I have to admit that since I was never able to see Artstar perform I was hoping there would be a reunion. I came across some of your music and live performances; I was instantly a fan without ever being there. Are the songs you perform with Mexicola all originals or are you performing Artstar songs mostly?
Mexicola: We are doing originals, covers and two songs from Artstar called ‘Icarus Is My King’and ‘Make My Day’. We currently have 3 new tracks recorded but are trying to making time in our busy lives to write and record enough songs to make an album.
HCC: Well everyone should know that patience is a virtue. I haven’t seen you perform but I am seriously excited to see a band that features two female musicians. Hereford feels like it is stuck in a man’s world when it comes to rock, punk and Indie. Edgy female acts are seriously sparse. We have a multitude of acoustic female acts singing pretty songs but the tapestry is rather thin in regards to anything edgier and more powerful. We fortunately also have Claire Perkins on the case as well.