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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Booth Hall Bank Holiday Gig Review: 2 Nights, 6 Bands, Bunny Ears, Manic Stage Presence & Rock legend Reincarnations

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!”

Raptor, HeyLittleMonster, The Booth Hall, Hereford, Gig Review, Psychedelic Blues

Hey Little Monster Hereford, Live music, gigs

AS MAMAS

As Mamas Play Hereford, HeyLittleMonster, Psychedelic Gig Review, The Booth Hall

Listen Here https://asmamas.bandcamp.com/releases

Continue reading “Booth Hall Bank Holiday Gig Review: 2 Nights, 6 Bands, Bunny Ears, Manic Stage Presence & Rock legend Reincarnations”

Hereford’s Top Funk, Punk, Jazz, Folk, DJ, Rock & Psychedelic Live Music Events This Easter Bank Holiday

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

Live Music Good Friday Hereford The Firefly

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/

Live Music Good Friday, Easter weekend Hereford, de koffie pot

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

live music, hereford, easter weekend, the booth hall

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/

gypsy folk, easter weekend, hereford de koffie pot

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/

Live Music Hereford, easter weekend, speakeasy

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/

Easter weekend Hereford, dj, the firefly hereford

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

Easter sunday, hereford, music DJ, de koffie pot

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.

 

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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

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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/

HCA Fine Art Students Need Your Support To Showcase In Their Dream Exhibition in London

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 Artist, Graphics by Maddie Mew
Graphics by Mairead McVeigh

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!)

inSTALL8 students
Image: inSTALL8 Facebook page – inSTALL8 students

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 Daughters and 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.

InSTALL8 @The Booth Hall March 22nd, 2017
Photography by Grace Biddlecombe – InSTALL8 @The Booth Hall March 22nd, 2017

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.

InSTALL8 @The Booth Hall March 22nd, 2017
Photography by Grace Biddlecombe – InSTALL8 @The Booth Hall March 22nd, 2017

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 2017 EP Launch at the Booth Hall Filled the House

 

LAST TREE SQUAD EP LAUNCH LIVE AT THE BOOTH HALL HEREFORD

17 March 2017

Review by Gavin Brown

last

Heading a lineup of fresh talent of varied musical styles, Last Tree Squad brought the good-time vibes to The Booth Hall for 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.

 

Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford
Last Tree Squad

REGGAE PIE

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.

COOSIE

djcoosie

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.

ESKE FORTE

Eske Forte, Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford

As the interim dub classics erupted and then subsided, it was time for Esk 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.

RUCKA SMALL

Rucka Small, Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford

Following Esk Forte wasn’t an easy task but Rucka Small proved 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.

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Last Tree Squad’s BDS 

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’s Slap Mag (Free)

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