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Gig Review: Ferocious Dog

Ferocious Dog, the ultimate folk-punk band came to Bootleg Social on Sunday night for their tour finale.

Nottinghamshire six-piece Ferocious Dog were supported by local cinematic folk-rock band Kind Hearted Thieves. Lead singer Jamie Ramsden’s voice has been described roaring ‘like the sea on a stormy, winter night’, which is probably the reason why their version of the Northern Soul classic, Tainted Love, sounded so extraordinary. The rest of their set, including Favour the Bold and Nevermoor, my personal favourites, are dark, brooding and melancholic with echoes of Mumford and Sons. The eclectic mix of fiddle, banjo and lap steel guitar made them the perfect support band for Ferocious Dog.

Next up were Cloverhearts, a novelty Celtic punk rock band fronted by the energetic Australian singer/songwriter Sam Cooper. With an Irish tin-whistle and the blaring bagpipes giving their music that Celtic vibe, the numbers which roused Sunday’s crowd were John Denver’s Country Roads and Whisky, Whisky, Beer.

It was after 9.30 before Ferocious Dog made their appearance, but for most of their loyal fans (known as The Hell Hounds) it was worth the wait. They played numbers from their new album Kleptocracy as well as many old favourites from previous albums Hope and From Without. My all-time favourites are Pentrich Rising, Broken Soldier, The Hope and Gallow’s Justice and though they have a relatively new line-up from when I saw them last, the sound is just the same. This is down to the consummate frontman, Ken Bonsall, on acoustic guitar and vocals, who certainly knows how to put together a set and work the crowd.

Most of the songs are either deeply personal or politically provoking, describing a broken Britain which doesn’t care.

Ken, together with violinist Dan Booth, writes most of the songs which are either deeply personal or politically provoking describing a broken Britain which doesn’t care. Despite the raw, mournful subject matter of many of the songs, they are not sentimental and with the Irish punk beat, they sound upbeat and punchy.

The evening finishes with something for the mosh pit and the band play Hell Hounds and The Pogues’ Paddy on the Railway. However, with an increasingly ageing audience (and I put myself in this category!) there were fewer bare-chested men pogoing and less good-natured moshing than usual. In fact, when I went to stand at the back of the venue for a breather, it was noticeable how many people had left before the end of the gig. Did they have trains to catch or is age catching up with us all and an early night beckoned? Anyway, despite my ageing bones, I enjoyed my evening and I look forward to seeing Ferocious Dog again at The Northern Kin Festival in August.

See what else is coming up at Bootleg here.

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