Hereford Live New Year showcase: gig review

Hereford Live have one mission: ‘to put Hereford on the live music map’. And since their launch night back in September they’ve been doing a good job of it. Their latest gig was the New Year showcase of local talent at the Jailhouse. The format was great with bands playing alternately between the main stage and the bar giving a constant flow of music from a wide variety of genres.

Unfortunately we turned up too late to see The Stoned Cherries, Cass Wortmann or Troy Redfern but for arguments sake I’m sure some people loved them and some people begged to differ!

The first act we saw was Natalie Holman. She was playing on the second stage next to the bar which was good for us as they had Wobbly Welder on tap. Playing solo and singing her own songs, Natalie had to contend with the music clearly audible from the main room and, bizarrely, an animated horror film that was showing on the screen behind her. I’m not a huge fan of acoustic love songs but when they are clearly heart-felt you can’t help but get drawn in. Her entourage of family and friends certainly enjoyed it.

On the main stage after the love song/horror film combo was Hindbrain. What a fucking treat! Their genre has yet to be named but drum and bass/experimental rock/noise/mayhem may go some way to explain this experience. This instrumentalist duo from Ledbury comprise a drummer who can hold some seriously addictive beats and a bassist who uses effects peddles to commit a sort of musical GBH. I can’t wait to see them again. Brilliant.

Back in the bar the credits had rolled on the film so the Castle Street Quartet were left to play their brand of wedding music jazz. Not really something I’d stand and listen to, although that are clearly talented and enjoy what they are playing.

The Monte Dons were next up in the main room. A bunch of talented multi-instrumentalist musicians, but I’m just not into Americana country type stuff. Some of their songs did conjure up visions of driving along wide expansive highways, but that might just have been the Wobbly Welder mixing with the mushrooms I necked before we went in! Profound statement of the night went to their vocalist who told us “hug and kiss everyone you meet as they will someday die”. I’m going to steal that one.

The next band in the bar, Slippery Slope, are a proper festival band. They would happily grace any little marquee tucked away in a field somewhere with a lovely mixture of fiddle, guitar and accordion topped off with a steel drum. Check them out.

Apologies to Jake of Diamonds and Point Zero but due to parental responsibilities Artstar were the last band I saw. And what a band to finish on. Amazing vocals, six-string fretless bass (clever bastard), awesome guitar riffs and pounding drums. Great rock music played well, always a winner. Another band I will be looking forward to seeing again soon.


A special mention must be given to the compère for the night, Hereford Live’s Ivor Porkbelly, whose enthusiasm for local music is matched only by his enthusiasm for Wobbly Welder. Nice one, Ivor.

To catch up with what live music is going on in Hereford click here

Luther Blissett

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