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.
inSTALL8 is a Hereford based art collective from the Hereford College of Arts made up of 8 members including Mairead McVeigh. They recently hosted a live music fundraiser at the Booth Hall, which is one of two events they have hosted to raise funds for a trip to London, and also have a crowdfunding page. I wanted to know a bit more about this collective and what this trip means to them; I was enlightened by Mairead.
Please help support these students by donating to their crowdfunding page here
Hereford City Centric: Thank you for the opportunity to interview inSTALL8 about the collective. Mairead you are part of the Install8 group of Fine Art students who host gigs to help raise funds for a trip to London and pushing arts in our local community, what is inSTALL8 all about?
inSTAll8: Hello Michelle and thank you for your interest in us and your very warm welcome! inSTALL8 are a collective of 8 artists from in and around Herefordshire, we are all current students attending the Hereford College of Arts Fine Art course. We are due to graduate this year in the summer. We are so varied in our practices that I would say it’s fair to label us multidisciplinary – some artists range from more traditional themes in painting and drawing whereas a few of us are exploring digital mediums, some are installation-based artists making large scenes for audience engagement and participation. Others expand to curatorial roles, so we’re a great mix and all of our individual skills have been pulled together to create inSTALL8.
The title of our collective is loosely based around the Windows platform, it’s a bit of a play on words as we would hope that our collective skillset pushes us more into the realm of contemporary art practice as opposed to traditional methods (although, in no way are we knocking our history – context is everything!)
HCC: It all sounds very exciting! What will the money raised be going towards?
inSTALL8: Our goal is to raise £5,700 to bring our graduate show to Free Range in London, a UK-wide exhibition showcasing new art from all over the country. If we attain our numbers, it will be the second time our course graduates will have had the opportunity to attend such an amazing event. The £5,700 will secure our place at the show and aid us with transport, accommodation and materials so that we can set up a heart-stopping show and hopefully lead us into some wonderful opportunities! We are joined in this adventure by our sister group at the college, HCA Collective, who are 17 Photography students who will be joining us on our journey to the end. Support for them would also be massively appreciated.
HCC: I truly hope this article will help promote your cause so that you can reach your target and get to London! Also, please feel free to share any of your artwork on our Facebook page. It all sounds amazing, and please get the word out to HCA collective because at HCC we loving giving local artists a platform, especially students who often bring something new to the table.
Last Wednesday, 22nd of March you held another live music event at The Booth Hall in Hereford, is this your last fundraiser or do we have more to look forward to? Will it always be the same group of students or will there be new ones added from the college? I attended your previous music fundraiser and enjoyed the light installations, live music and DJ sets. Who did you have on the bill this time?
inSTALL8: This is potentially our final music fundraiser, but there’s more to come! We’re hosting an art auction at the end of April at De Koffie Pot, we will be presenting some of our current work and then it will be placed under the hammer for a few lucky contenders! We also have a very exciting raffle that will be drawn at the Private View of our college Summer Show, details will be confirmed for that later. It’ll be the same 8 in our team as we are one team graduating from the one course.
On this spectacular evening we enjoyed the beautiful sounds of Shannon Walker, a singer-songwriter from Worcester, glorious and raw Punk punches from Molly Kelly, hard-hitting riffs from Hereford’s very own Black Boxes, fresh cut jams from the Noisy Daughtersand had everyone’s dancing feet on the go with a House set from DJ SMUT – a resident of Ibiza and Ministry of Sound DJ…AND to top it all off, a blasting drum and bass set from DJ CHOPPA. It was an unforgettable lineup! There was a little something for everyone. There were also visuals and performances happening throughout the night.
HCC: I am absolutely gutted I was unable to attend but friends who did attend loved it. I am pretty familiar with most of the live music performers such as Shannon, Molly and Black Boxes who happen to be one of my very favourite local bands. Love them all! And what an honour to have DJ SMUT come to support you from Ibiza! Amazing guys! Is art your main focus?
inSTALL8: It is my aspiration to become a working artist, but as Thomas Merton once said – “no man is an island” and all of the best artists only grow stronger with a community and this is what we are trying to create and achieve through inSTALL8. I think I can speak for all of us and really elaborate on the fact that no matter what happens, art will prevail. Artists view the world quite differently. Finding beauty and hope in the mundane is important, and also viewing the world with a critical and creative intent can open up plenty of opportunities for young people. I highly recommend attending a Fine Arts course – it opens your mind and enables you to engage with other like-minded individuals.
HCC: What a beautiful perspective Mairead. I can proudly say my daughter just switched her Psychology major to Fine Arts and I will share that thought with her. I agree that art is one of many wonderful ways to open your mind to a much more fulfilling perspective of the world.
What would you like to see happen in the arts community in 2017/2018 to give a platform to artists who choose to stay in Herefordshire rather than pursue their careers elsewhere?
inSTALL8: I think there is plenty going on for the art scene in Hereford – h.Art, Hereford Make, The Apple Store Gallery, De Koffee Pot, The Courtyard, The Canwood Gallery and Artsite3 among others are great spaces where artists can expand and exhibit their flourishing practices– The college itself is host to gifted students that will pave the future for the creative industry and firmly cement Hereford as a vibrant, artistic city.
HCC: I have been to many wonderful exhibitions in the city and hope that people get out more and enjoy them as well because art opens a window into an alternate reality. I wish all the members of inSTALL8 the best of luck in getting to Free Range London and may you all have an exciting creative future ahead of you.
I would like to thank Mairead McVeigh for making this interview possible and sharing the inSTALL8 story with us. Mairead is a wonderful musician, writer and artist. Look out for her performing live under the name Maddie Mew around the city of Hereford, and for her talented art, as well as, any upcoming inSTALL8 exhibitions and fundraisers.
LAST TREE SQUAD EP LAUNCH LIVE AT THE BOOTH HALL HEREFORD
17 March 2017
Review by Gavin Brown
Heading a lineup of fresh talent of varied musical styles, Last Tree Squad brought the good-time vibes toThe Booth Hallfor the launch of their new EP. The crowd inside were witness to an almighty example of energetic live performance throughout the night, culminating in an impressive display of musicianship, charisma and moving the crowd from the headliners.
Upon arriving at The Booth, we were treated to the sounds of the Reggae Pie DJs who were reliably dropping dub, reggae and jungle bombs in a fashion that really set the scene for the night ahead with the bass rattling, exactly as it should be.
With the bass still resonating through the walls of The Booth, local MC Coosie from Verbal Highz took to the stage and dropped a concise but effective set of beats, rhymes and life that showed off his lyrical prowess with knowing mentions of everything from Shrek to Madeline McCann and adding effects with a little toy horn, he demonstrated a wry sense of humour throughout the set. Coosie definitely got the live aspect of tonight’s show off to a flying start.
As the interim dub classics erupted and then subsided, it was time forEsk Forte to take the stage for the next portion of live entertainment. Armed with a guitar, saxophone and a sublime voice, she was reminiscent of Laura Marling in her early days but with a lot more attitude and vigour, and captivated the audience with that spellbinding voice. Alternating between playing the songs with the guitar and the saxophone showed how talented she is and the set was a joy to watch, the only thing wrong with it was that it wasn’t longer.
Following Esk Forte wasn’t an easy task butRucka Smallproved himself to be more than up to the task with the rappers double-time style of emceeing going down a storm, a style that reminded me of one of this country’s finest rappers, Skinnyman, partly because of the double-time style but also the delivery and lyrical content, which bordered on the humorous at times, especially when he declared he’s got “bite like Tyson” in a hip hop moment straight out of 97 that still sounded fresh!
Rucka Small was joined towards the end by Last Tree Squad man BDS to hype the crowd up a little more, which definitely worked as he rattled off his quick-fire rhymes to serious applause and ended a great set on a high.
CUT LA VIS
Before the night’s headliners took to the stage, the man that is Cut La Vis demonstrated his formidable DJing skills as the bass heavy cuts kept coming in fast and heavy; this proved to be the perfect opening to Last Tree Squad kicking out their jams.
LAST TREE SQUAD
Wasting absolutely no time at all, the six-piece (featuring Esk Forte among their ranks) raised the energy levels even further with an enthusiastic approach to their craft and those energy levels stayed risen for the remainder of the night.
Wasting absolutely no time at all, the six-piece (featuring Esk Forte among their ranks) raised the energy levels even further with an enthusiastic approach to their craft and those energy levels stayed risen for the remainder of the night.
Blasting out memorable tracks from the EP as well as other cuts, Last Tree Squad proved how good a live band they are with every member of the band firing on all cylinders, ably led by BDS whose passion on the mic was suitably impressive and constantly hyped up the crowd.
Between the music, the stage chatter was constant with usual suspects, Theresa Dis-May and Stig Trump (as BDS put it) were ridiculed with the frontman declaring it as being “like Thatcher and Reagan all over again” to mass applause and sending a message of good vibes over war and hate as well as a closing impassioned rant against the manufactured music industry and all the X Factor rubbish.
Last Tree Squad put on a hell of a show, and their sound, one that takes in reggae, dub, hip hop and jungle, delivered with an infectious lust for life that was so enjoyable to listen to and the enthusiasm of the crowd was testament to this.
Seek out the brilliant EP, and seek out Last Tree Squad live as it is an experience not to be missed out on, one that was rapturously received tonight at The Booth accompanied by a strong supporting bill. It is nights like this that are needed to keep live music alive.
Images: Booth Hall Photography, Nick Vidal-Hall
You can also pick up a printed version of this interview in April’sSlap Mag (Free)
The Underground Revolution Presents Doghouse, Reality Attack
and Wolf Cryer
Music Review by Gavin Brown
Following hot on the heels of the immense Steve Ignorant gig earlier in the month, it was with great pleasure to be able to witness the formidable music machine that is Doghouse, an outfit with the very same ideals and outlook as the great Mr Ignorant. Add to this a great supporting lineup courtesy of the down and dirty punk of Reality Attack and the grungy hard rock of Wolfcryer, and you’ve got a recipe for a great night. And a great night it was with a healthy turnout from an enthusiastic audience showing once again how vibrant the musical climate is in Hereford nowadays.
Kicking off the night wereWolf Cryerand the local lot got the night off to a brilliant start with their grunge-inspired rock, which was a definite highlight. The band’s extended heavy jams were completely mesmerising as was the powerful groove that they laid down and the vocals of singerClaire Perkins were undeniably impressive and topped the bands sound off perfectly. Wolf Cryer have that grunge influence with heavier bands like Babes In Toyland, or even Gruntruck with their more metal sound and even a hint of the Melvins in there too. These bands seem like an influence on their sound, but Wolf Cryer do their own thing with it and this is definitely a band that need checking out again. Having not heard the band before, I was blown away and won’t hesitate to catch them when they next play live, which will hopefully be soon!
Reality Attackwere up next and their raw punk didn’t disappoint at all, with their defiant and in your face noise a joy to watch. The speakers were tested to their limits as the band thrashed through their set as if it were the last one they’d ever play! Their crust/anarcho punk sound went over so well with the dancing audience, and they debuted some new material that will be forthcoming on their new EP. It is just as pissed off as their older material with the brilliant You’re A Cunt a highlight of the bands set.
Reality Attack rallied against the system throughout with a heartfelt tribute to the young Russian punk stabbed to death for standing up to fascists a few days earlier only adding to the band’s anger – and the band certainly told it like it is. They finished their set with their bassist up on vocals singing his heart out and ended things on a high. Reality Attack are definitely the real deal and proved this tonight beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Between each of the acts, BDS of Last Tree Squadwas spinning tunes and this added to the eclectic nature of the night as well with bass, heavy dub, reggae, dancehall, hip hop and grime cuts testing the Booth Halls speakers to the max! Heating songs like Murder She Wrote, Raggamuffin, Welcome to Jamrock and 99 Problems really loud definitely added to the atmosphere.
Formed out of the ashes of cult Cardiff techno punk band Sicknote, tonight’s headliner’s Doghouse play a much-anticipated set and are another band who don’t disappoint either with their defiant and cutting lyrics really hitting home over energetic and hard techno beats that got an enthusiastic response on the dancefloor throughout their whole set. Their spirited performance has much in common with Steve Ignorant as they spew bile about the current state of the nation and like the former Crass man, they do it with an element of humour and cleverness, never coming across as preachy with the techno elements adding to the warm and energetic atmosphere. Doghouse has a massive performance art and cabaret (that they have dubbed Cabarave, a description that fits perfectly) element to them that works so well, from costume changes to some inspired dancing, you couldn’t take your eyes off the duo all night.
Delivering songs, mainly culled from their debut album Idiot Savant, their passionate delivery on topics ranging from council tax to unemployment and thinking for yourself was very inspiring too. The band were as informative as they were entertaining all night. A great performance from two true musical mavericks that deserve to be heard by all.
Overall, this was a brilliant night that saw so much variation in musical terms, but this certainly united everyone in attendance as the atmosphere was amazing and that can only be a good thing.
Feature Image: Nick Vidal-Hall for Booth Hall Photography
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.
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!