Hereford is slowly evolving into a Punk and Reggae music hub with nights happening in various locations all around the city. Some UK cities are known for their Indie, psych, blues, dance music, and a multitude of other music movements: however, Herefordshire holds a reputation for great border folk bands, a long-standing metal scene, alternative rock, reggae and the current regeneration of punk with the appearance of bands like the Subhumans, and the recent annual punk festival A Crisis of Conscience held at the Booth Hall in aid of homeless charities. We sent Gavin Brown to review the night.
Sunday 21st May 2017
On a beautiful and sunny May evening, the setting of the beer garden outside the Left 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 music on offer tonight matched those calm and chilled out vibes, as this was the bluegrass, folk, country and beyond stylings of guitarist and vocalist James Hickman and fiddle player Dan Cassidy who wowed the audience at this gig put on by the good people of the Wild Hare Club.
Hereford City Centric sent our local music wordsmith, Gavin Brown, to check out the Black Sabbath tribute act, taking place at The Booth Hall and supported by Herefordshire Punks on the up, The Youth Within. I am going to assume he really enjoyed it by the enthusiasm in his review.
The Booth Hall have launched a series of tribute-themed nights that have included Chili Peppers and Blink 182 tribute acts in the past. Finding myself in a crowd of super pumped Blink 182 fans a couple weekends ago on the night Blink tribute act One Eighty Two played was a pleasant change for me. The truth is, I have always found bands that do covers the most boring of the lot; especially those “pub” bands. Stale beer fragrance comes to mind. There is a difference between cover bands and tribute acts, although I love it when local bands do the occasional cover.
Tribute acts have something to live up to. They study the musicians/performers they are emulating and really have to put in the effort. There is always something distracting about them though, they never ARE the actual band, and I would hate to be a tribute performer knowing everyone is staring at every detail about me in search of the resemblance to the original person they are mimicking; guess that makes them pretty gutsy and confident too.
Another weekend full of festivities is upon us. The Hereford River Carnival has arrived and we are elated to share this roundup of music events for your convenience. There is a real festival vibe for all the family to enjoy, as well as, pubs hosting live music gigs adding to the energy the city emanates through channels of live music. Some of the county’s best local musicians volunteer to perform and there is no shortage of talent.
You won’t be able to avoid the buskers, music stages, venues hosting music events and all the other colourful festivities on offer. This is a carnival I look forward to every year with great anticipation, unless the weather disappoints, but even then the weather stops us not.
RIVER CARNIVAL WEEKEND, SATURDAY APRIL 29TH
RIVER CARNIVAL INFOGRAPH
This infographic is one of the most useful bits of kit you will need to get you around the different events and music stages the Hereford River Carnival has on offer.
CASTLE GREEN will be hosting NOZSTOCK’S first ever River Carnival Live Music Stage
Line up times for the Underground Revolution Acoustic Stage at De Koffie Pot Courtyard featuring some of Hereford’s most exciting local acoustic talent. This is a Free Event from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Bridge Street, HR4 9DG Hereford, Herefordshire
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!”
Listen Here https://asmamas.bandcamp.com/releases
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 Firefly has 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.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1793498100977786/
De Koffie Pot Free Live Music Friday’s always host beautiful nights in the Dutch-inspired coach house set next to the River Wye. The perfect location to take in the river’s abounding spirit.
Climb the staircase to the first floor and follow the glow of the candles for an illuminated evening of gypsy swing, bluegrass, ragtime folk roots and more.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/395904327440938/
Saturday, April 15th
Alternative, Indie and rock promoter Hey Little Monster and 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 Hall on East Street. Three amazing bands for £4 only!
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1841631616089688/
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 Club at the extremely poetic De Koffie Pot. £10 entry.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/204934786661083/
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.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/433196273694190/
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 pot from 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.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1959344717630084/
Monday, April 17
With the real world awaiting many on the other side of Monday, it is time to gather the last bit of strength and enjoy a final wonderful evening brought to you by De Koffie Pot.
The Medlars will be performing their politically-charged fusion folk. Likely to be a stimulating experience. They also bring support. £5 entry.
See Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/377910629269070/
Local Psychedelic Blues band Raptor joined 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 promoter Hey Little Monster and Raptor are putting on a good and groovy show for you at The Booth Hall featuring two Psychedelic Blues bands: Hereford boys Raptor and As Mamas from Worcester, and also Welsh rock band New Revival who 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 event HERE.
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 Farm in 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.
Photography by Grace Biddlecombe