Review by Samuel Z Jones
An eccentric venue for an unusual band; this Friday 13th, Ferocious Dog played the Talking Heads in Southampton. Revolutionary lyrics, punk fury and screaming guitars, drawn into anarchic harmony by an electric violin.
It works. I’ve never actually seen crowd-surfing in a local venue before. An almost Pagan fervour gripped the mosh, culminating with a bare-chested tattooed man with greased spikes in his hair rising aloft on the shoulders of the crowd, upright, arms wide as if crucified on the music.
Ferocious Dog have been compared to The Levellers, Billy Bragg and The Pogues. They’re described variously as punk, modern folk, folk-rock, punk-folk and Celtic-folk-punk. The crowd they drew at the Talking Heads this Friday were no less difficult to categorize; an age-range from 20s to 50s, with enough band T-shirts on show to evidence a dedicated following.
There was a great atmosphere all night. Despite a suitably ferocious mosh, no trouble attended the gig. The Talking Heads is both a local pub and a music venue, two bars adjoining. Pub regulars were friendly and the main bar itself a charmingly eccentric lounge. Deeper in the building, the music venue is a short tangle of corridors leading to a dark cavern. A low stage puts the band directly in the faces of the crowd, the wavelike motion of the moshpit throwing some almost at the lead singer’s feet.
Ferocious Dog comprise Ken Bonsall (lead vocals/guitar), Dan Booth (fiddle), Ellis Waring (guitar, mandolin), Les “Fruitbat” Carter (guitar), John Alexander (bass), and Scott Walters (drums). Their music and lyrics are politically charged, angry at injustice and spotlighting a long history of the same. Their set at the Talking Heads on Friday kicked off with “Gallows Justice” and the lyric “I shall dance a jig of death in the morning…” They closed two hours later to a triple-encore, having called the last song some twenty minutes before the moshing finally abated.
There was a particular energy, live on stage, to “Gallows Justice”. It’s a grim tune and the first one of the band’s I heard on CD; live, they bring an aggressive charm and wry humour to a song about hanged outlaws.
Newsnibbles is delighted to welcome Samuel Z Jones as our latest contributor.
Samuel Z Jones is a prolific Fantasy author with over fifteen novels and numerous other works to his name. He espouses a complex theory of worldbuilding, and maintains that fiction is an exercise in psychological portraiture of people who do not exist.