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!”
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!
Iraq Front line Photographer Peter Masters & Poppy Man/Celebrity Portrait Artist Paul Crow will be exhibiting to the public in the fantastic newSkinzophrenic Tattoo Studioon Sunday the 19th of March 2017.
The tattoo studiorecently relocated to Aubrey Street and took on a grand new image complete with murals on the ceiling that bring the Sistine Chapel to mind. The exhibition will be open to the public from 11am and the artists will be accepting offers and commission requests.
Hide Your Eyescelebrated the launch of their latest album 40 Miles Of Static with a hometown gig at The Booth Hall in front of a healthy and energetic crowd eager to help honour this occasion in style. Unfortunately, we just missed opening act (and Hide Your Eyes man) Lewis Armiger do his acoustic set but have it on good authority that he got the night off to a rousing start (and he definitely did his thing later with the headliners, more of which later), so it was down to South Wales singer/songwriter Jack Ellisto kick things off for us and he certainly did that.
Ellis took to the stage flanked by his band and proceeded to deliver a short but sweet set of acoustic songs with the sound bolstered by the band with the likes of The Storm and new track Felony grabbing the audiences attention throughout with a style that had shades of Jeff Buckley and Jose Gonzalez and a definite warm attitude to his delivery. As the set came to a stirring conclusion, it was evident that he had made some new fans tonight with his passionate singing and playing, and this set the night up nicely with the crowd declaring themselves thoroughly warmed up.
THE LOVED AND LOST
After a short break and a couple of minor technical difficulties involving a laptop and some samples, Worcester’s The Loved And Losthit the stage and it was immediately apparent that the delay in setting up was vital as the sampled orchestral symphony blasted from the speakers and enhanced the bands metal sound. With their powerful female vocals, the band have a Lacuna Coil and Nightwish vibe about them, especially when the samples were in full effect, although they did occasionally get drowned out by the bands heavy rhythms – but overall the band played an enthusiastic and vibrant set that had the crowd clapping along with them. The band’s bassist and guitarist ended the set playing in the crowd with their drummer lurched over his kit battering a primal rhythm to the final song’s conclusion and The Loved And Lost left the stage to glowing applause from the crowd.
HIDE YOUR EYES
After the laid back passion of Jack Ellis and the heavy nature of The Loved And Lost showcased a melding of different styles and sounds showing off the diversity of the bill, it was time for the headliners and their brand of similarly eclectic noise, and Hide Your Eyes didn’t disappoint anyone in attendance with a triumphant set.
The band work tirelessly as they rip through the 40 Miles Of Static album with highlights coming in thick and fast, especially in the form of album tracks Hopeless and My Last Regret which received rapturously applause from the crowd.
With this being a hometown gig, there was a buoyant atmosphere in the venue with the band unable to take the smiles off their faces. Singers Stephen (who ended up singing in the crowd more than once) and Lewis (who we did finally got to see perform!) were belting out the lyrics with enthusiasm while the rest of the band had just as much of an energetic stomp, and the energy given out by the band was matched in kind by the crowd from start to finish with an enthusiastic mosh pit (complete with someone dressed as a unicorn) breaking out and adding to the atmosphere.
As the band ended their set with a cover of Drown by Bring Me The Horizon done in Hide Your Eyes style, the night came to a close and showed just how talented the band are with everyone who was here left satisfied. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the band live again as this was a fantastic performance to end a great night of live music. Go out and buy their album and don’t miss them next time they play!
Skinzophrenic Tattoos on Aubrey Street in the Hereford city centre will be hosting an art exhibition featuring two artists, two worlds and two different art mediums.
The private viewing will take place on March 18th commencing at 8:00 pm and will be open to the public on March 19th from 11 am.
Alongside a provocative collection of photographs on exhibition by Peter Masters will be the art ofPaul Crow who will be featuring his Icon collection, Forest paintings and his renowned Poppy paintings which landed him the epithet “The Poppy Man” and a spot on BBC Midlands Today.
When Paul started painting about 12 years ago, he channelled his creativity and began expressing the connection to his military background by virtue of the poppy – a way to express solidarity for his fellow brothers at war who perhaps never made it home. He used a palette knife technique to create his vibrant, stark paintings and soon had a following. Paul felt it was time to back away from being pegged into a box as an artist and to move away from the “Poppy Man” brand which led him to new subjects.
Paul says “I wasn’t necessarily focusing on dead celebrities, it just happened that way. I am currently working on Paul Weller who I am a huge fan of for the exhibition”
After Paul’s career led him to work for the World Cup and then back home again, his mother passed away who too was an artist. Her passing moved Paul deeply and inspired him to do the ‘Forest’ collection in her honour. During this time, Paul made a move towards using painting brushes rather than the palette knife.
As his journey further continued into developing his art, he built a studio in his home where he could experiment with his craft which led to a complete turnaround when he created the ‘Icon’ collection. A year after David Bowie’s passing, Paul Crow’s music hero, he still felt moved which led him to create the powerful Starman painting – the first piece in the ‘Icon’ collection.
One thing led to another, such as commissions from admirers of the Starman and other Icon’s soon followed including Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobainand Freddy Mercury. Paul says “I wasn’t necessarily focusing on dead celebrities, it just happened that way. I am currently working on Paul Weller who I am a huge fan of for the exhibition”
The Icon Collection contradicts everything the Born into War collection is shouting at us, yet they will be in the same room as a reminder that we perhaps must look at the choices we heedlessly make in our lives, often unnecessary self-indulgent ones. In Mosul people fight to survive with minimal resources, while in the Western world we succumb to excess and end up hurting or even killing ourselves, often forgetting to appreciate our good fortune.
Perhaps, this exhibition will help us to prioritise what is important in day to day life and to cherish our freedom of expression, access to food when we desire, walking down the street without a care in the world and the opportunities our children are given to succeed in life – a life they don’t have to worry about losing before they have grown into adults. In Mosul a fresh meal on the table and a peaceful night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold.
Peter Masters is not your typical business man, he is a fearless adventurer on the side of the good guys who happens to own a Skinzophrenic tattoo studio in Hereford, a Skinzophrenic tattoo studio in Iraqand a laser removal and piercing studio in the works to be located in Hereford’s High Town. It makes you wonder if he is planning to take over the world.
The truth is taking over the world is the least of his concerns, he is a man with a camera, one with guts and a purpose for documenting the war in Iraq, and a man who would gladly leave Western life behind to fight for what he believes in. How he manages to get so close is a matter of speculation…we are just glad he can. It is brave souls like him who put themselves in harrowing situations to show the world the truth about what is really going on at the front line in Iraq that are heroes in this war along with the survivors who live it daily. A photograph cannot lie and can tell a thousand tales.
“What is most eerie is that a young boy is standing in front of the family like a shield, perhaps his father is gone now, you see that he is no longer a child but the lone male defender carrying the burden of responsibility to protect his family on his young shoulders”