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.
Local Hereford alternative rock and indie music promoter Kirsty Morris is off on an epic journey this year to the Great Wall of China for a fundraising event of a lifetime to support local charity St. Michael’s Hospice.
She has received support from local businesses in Hereford and tickets donations from well-loved summer music festivals around the country to auction off and sell towards raising donations at her next fundraising event taking place at the Booth Hall on East Street this weekend. Kirsty has also received donations from some pretty famous bands around the country. She has been hard at work!
Hereford City Centric wanted to know more about this great trek being taken on by such an admirable woman and how close she is to her fundraising goals.
Political aspects are not something I really think of when I travel, as long as the areas I travel to are deemed as safe, then I really tend not to worry about such things.
Hereford City Centric: Hello Kirsty, you are actively involved in music promoting in Hereford with your promotion group Hey Little Monster, can you tell us a bit about the music you put on and what drives this interest?
Kirsty Morris: Well, music is one of my passions in life, I love going to gigs and festivals. Last time I counted, I have been to well over 300 gigs and festivals. I first got involved in Continue reading “Help Hereford Music Promoter Kirsty Morris Get To The Great Wall of China In Support of St. Michael’s Hospice”
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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/