She Brings Sun

Posted on 24th March 2011

The Bleeding Hearts
19th March 2011
Katie Fitzgeralds, Stourbridge.

This was the first gig of the year for The Bleeding Hearts, and comes in the middle of recording their new album. As such it was a suitable occasion to air some of their new songs. The night was a good mix of new and old, and even though some live favourites were abscent, it wasn't noticable until after the gig. The new songs worked well with the old, and the band sound tight again, despite not playing live since November last year.

The venue was a small cellar bar, and although it looked cramped on stage, Steve, Gel and Lizzie managed to find space enough to bounce around as per usual, with Gaz and Ewan holding the fort behind them. The recent addition of mandolin to band's overall sound is a good choice. With Gel and Gaz laying a solid foundation to the band's sound, and Steve cutting to the point, it allows both Lizzie and Ewan the freedom to add flavours to the sound the emphaise all the other parts. Steve did comment that Ewan's role in the band was to "keep it nice", Steve own role was to "keep it nasty". It does make for a great punk folk sound.

The set began with a firm live favourite, Democracy, and the fun never let up once. The first part of the set was a run through a selection from the past few albums, before introducing some of the new songs to the set. The first new song, Brian, was in honour of the Family Guy character, before continuing on with the likes of Screaming, The Damage You Do, Fear Of The Dark and She Brings Sun. As per usual, for Hardly Anything Gel traded in his bass for drumstick and tamborine, and frequently emulated and embelished the poses of Lizzie's fiddle playing on the opposite side of the stage. Not quite Duelling Banjos, but they're getting there ;)

Then came a run of three new songs, first Land Of Folk And Glory, followed by the very reggae influenced In The Name Of The People, which kept the groove of the night bouncing along nicely. Finally the last of the new songs, which poked fun at the social networking way of life. For the moment, until I can find a title, it shall be known as The Facebook Song. Finishing off with a couple of older songs, rather than head off to the back room only to come out a moment later to do an encore, the band remained on stage. Final song of the night, Caravan Song, bookended the set with another classic from Fly In The Face Of Fashion.

A great night, and if tonights airings are anything to go by, the new album is going to be cracker. A band not to be missed.

UPDATE: Gel tells me the real name of the new song is Fake Book. A much better title :)

File Under: bleedinghearts / gigs / music

So Glad 2B Alive

Posted on 12th May 2008

Back in February we went to see Bleeding Hearts as The Adam & Eve in Digbeth, Birmingham. It was also Gel's 40th birthday, and a great gig to celebrate it. It was also great to see Paul Rogers at the gig too, who I hadn't seen since my days with Ark, in fact since 1994. There were quite a few old faces in the audience, as well as plenty of new ones too. The was a complete mixture of old and new songs, with more emphasis on the newer songs. I did mean to make a note of the setlist, but got complete caught up in taking photos.

The Adam & Eve is quite a small pub, though long, so although you can't necessarily see well at the back, you could definitely hear the band. In fact most of Digbeth could probably hear them, and undoubtly would have said they deserved all the encores asked of them. After the live album I was quite eager to see the band again, but unfortunately it ended up being a little longer than intended. Since The Adam & Eve gig, they've done a couple of German tours now, and are set up to do a few UK gigs around the Midlands, so hopefully we'll be catching up with them soon. Expect more photos then, and hopefully a setlist next time around.

File Under: birmingham / bleedinghearts / gigs / music / photography

Kings of Evermore

Posted on 17th October 2007

Bleeding Hearts @ The Boarshead Taphouse, Kidderminster

Bleeding Hearts @ The Boarshead Taphouse, Kidderminster

A couple of weekends ago, I went along to The Boarshead Taphouse in Kidderminster to witness the live recording of the new Bleeding Hearts live album. After playing for around 2 hours, and considering it was free entry, I would call that value for money. I told Nicole's brother that I'd got him in on the guest list, which he thought was great until he saw the poster advertising free entry :) The boys played a great selection of old, new and unreleased songs and ripped up a storm. The live album is only likely to feature around 10 songs from the 20+ set, so hopefully they'll be able to include a few classics in there.

As previously, I took my camera along. The first 30 minutes of the set I tried to record on video. Unfortunately several people kept wandering in front of the camera, so although none of the tracks are suitable for professional airing, Nick was thinking of adding one or two to Bleeding Hearts's own website. I now have a new 5"+ tripod, so hopefully I can get a better viewpoint for recording video in the future. I ended up taking over 1,000 photos, which worked out at roughly 16 shots a minute, and whittled it down to 175 for my selection. I've given the boys over 300 to choose from for their own purposes and have already asked whether they can use them on the inner sleeve of the album, which will be nice.

However, the venue wasn't the best for lighting, so I had some problems with some of the shots. I haven't got a top of the range camera, so lighting is important. Despite trying several settings to get the best out of the camera, the shutter speed still isn't fast enough for my liking. There were some great shots I would have liked to have got of Gel and Nick, but the light from the PAR cans was just too weak to capture them mid-movement. The Roadhouse photos came out much better simply because of the professional lighting rig the venue has, so I hope this set doesn't prove too disappointing for them.

A while ago I considered buying a small lighting rig, so that when I take photos of Nicole or her band, Slim Pickins, I can focus the lights and use the colour gels, just as I want them. Then I can bring them along to gigs for friends like Bleeding Hearts, and give them a much better stage lighting, and thus take much better photos. Unfortunately these sort of small rigs don't usually turn up on eBay, so I'll have to put the feelers out to my music industry contacts to see if anyone is selling off some old equipment. They'd be great for house parties for the kids in the summer too. DanDan and Ethne can pretend they're doing a real gig :)

For my selection of photos from the Bleeding Hearts gigs, see the links below:

File Under: bleedinghearts / gigs / music / photography / roadie

Rock 'n' Roll Manifesto

Posted on 24th April 2007

Bleeding Hearts at The Roadhouse

Bleeding Hearts at The Roadhouse

On Saturday night (21st April 2007) Nicole's brother, Jon, and I went along to The Roadhouse in Cotteridge, South Birmingham to see Bleeding Hearts play a local gig. I'd never been to the venue before and was delighted to discover it. Almost next door, The Breedon Bar used to be an old haunt, and I played many a gig with Ark there. Gel, who was the bass player with Ark, is now the bass player for Bleeding Hearts, and incidentally the reason why Nicole and I got together. The venue reminded me of some of the better gigs Ark played in their time, so hopefully I'll have good reason to go along in the future.

Opening band were the German band Lack Of Limits, who have played with Bleeding Hearts several times, to the point where Bleeding Hearts help them to tour the UK and Lack Of Limits help Bleeding Hearts to tour Germany. The bands are well suited to each other, as although they play a similar style, Lack Of Limits lean more towards the folk side and Bleeding Hearts lean more towards punk. LOL have improved immensely since I last saw them, was very tempted to get a more recent album. Towards the end of the gig they got Gel on stage to help with percussion (tamborine) and tomfoolery (a Gel speciality).

After a short break, Bleeding Hearts took to the stage and played an absolute blinder from start to finish. A mix of old and new songs galore featured in the set, from Democracy, My Country, Sirens Song all the way to newer songs that don't even seem to have a title. I spoke to Nick after the gig and mentioned I liked the 'Ego' song, and he told me that he'd had people refused to buy their latest album because that song wasn't on it! They are much more than one great song, as they have plenty liberally scattered over all their albums. In fact at times, it gets hard to take their albums out of the CD player :)

After nearly an hour and a half, they left the stage, only to be called back for more. The calls for 'Caravan Song' and 'Glad 2B Alive' seemed to poll equal votes, so they ended up playing both. Two great songs to end a great set and a great night out.

The band are recording a live album next month, at Boarshead Tap, Worcester Street in Kidderminster on 12th May. During the last live album, Anarcoustica, Nicole can be heard to shout "We love you Gel!". We even had a placard with it on that DanDan carried around at the first Levellers' Beautiful Days festival. The band have now asked that Nicole repeat her performance, so she's thinking of other things she might be able to say. Whether it gets recorded or not remains to be seen. If you can catch Bleeding Hearts on the current or a future tour, do so, they are a delight to watch and listen to.

For those who might be interested, I culled a selection of the 1600+ photos I took on the night and you can see Lack of Limits and Bleeding Hearts in the appropriate photo pages.

File Under: ark / bleedinghearts / music

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