Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Halcyon Dreams

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head pub, Mold

Now here’s a fantastic idea: take along any vinyl records of your choice, and you get a fifteen minute slot to play whatever you like.  There’s a regular such evening at the end of every month at the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  It’s a great night’s entertainment combining music and, of course, beer.

I spent a little time raiding my vinyl collection and putting a playlist together.  Then my buddies and me travelled up to Mold.  The Queen’s Head is a pub like any other, but on these Bring Your Own Vinyl nights there’s a set up in the corner with two turntables, mixers etc, and people take turns to spin their wax.  No CDs, cassettes or any other funny business – just beautiful vinyl.

The variety of music to be heard is reassuringly eclectic, with examples from across various genres and ages.  It’s great fun, whether you take a turn on the decks or not – and you’re guaranteed to hear some old favourites or (even better) some new aural treats to research.

I’ve never used DJ equipment before, but no need to worry – the guys were very helpful in using the tech.  It’s quite fun, selecting your track and fading between decks, though I could do with more practice…

Here are the tunes I selected for my turn on the decks:

Ramones – I Just Want to Have Something to do

The lead track of the Ramones’ fourth album, Road to Ruin, this song features a great riff and lyrics of teenage boredom.  Though not considered their best record, I have a real soft spot for Road to Ruin and this song was a no-brainer.

Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire

An obvious Cash song to choose, but there was no way I wasn’t going to play something by this guy and Ring of Fire is always a popular choice.  The song that made me a fan of Johnny Cash.  This is off a random Best Of album that I picked up from a charity shop, and has a wild cover.

The Damned – Stranger on the Town

More punk rock, not that you’d know it – this song from their Strawberries album is some kind of 60’s psychedelic homage complete with brass section.  Possibly my favourite Damned song, the version I played was from The Light at the End of the Tunnel compilation (because it’s the first song on side 2, and easy to find…).

Beastie Boys – Sabrosa

I wanted some more variety for the last track, so went for this jazz funk masterpiece from the Hip Hop masters.  This funky instrumental is off Ill Communication, which I am very glad I have on vinyl!

Despite a few shaky moments with my DJ skills, the set seemed to go well and I really enjoyed it!

Dig out those vinyl albums kids – vinyl is back big time.  The Bring Your Own Vinyl night is an excellent concept – where can you go wrong with classic tunes and some beer?

The next night is on Friday 27th February 2015.

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Volbeat – Gig Review

Volbeat + Support

Friday 18th October 2013

Manchester Academy

OK, so I should’ve posted this gig review a while ago – Hallowe’en Horror Fest got in the way.  I apologise.  Better late than never.

My buddies and I went to the magical land of Manchester, to see Volbeat.  The weather was terrible – non stop rain – as befits Mancunia.  It always rains there.  Every time I’ve been, ever.

I missed the first support band, but arrived just as Iced Earth were beginning their set.  I’d heard of the band, but never listened to them – so wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought they were death metal, I was wrong.  I thought they were European, they’re American.  They were better than I expected, more trad metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest) with some 80’s thrash (Testament, Megadeth) along for the ride.  Another comparison I can make is Black Label Society.  Overall, I was impressed with their crunching attack and will look out to purchase some recorded material.

Before Volbeat take the stage at the Academy, they treat us to some Motorhead.  An apt intro tape, as much like Lemmy’s crew, we are dealing with a heavy band who make no secret of their love for good old rock’n’roll.  “Born to Raise Hell” thunders from the PA until Volbeat erupt into live action – and we’re off.

Volbeat are an interesting concept.  Undeniably they are a heavy rock/metal band, yet they embrace the past unlike many others.  Thus we are given a cheeky rendition of “Ring of Fire” and a rocked up “I Only Want to be With You”, to garnish the rockabilly twangs of their original  material.  To be honest, it’s nothing that Glenn Danzig hasn’t already done, but there’s something great about hearing current metal’s DNA being exposed that makes this band thoroughly enjoyable.

In the audience, you can spot the odd dude with a quiff alongside the usual metal uniforms, not to mention a couple of girls in Bettie Page styled attire.  Very cool.  And definite visual evidence that here, rock has come full circle.

My only problem with this gig is that I don’t know the music well enough.  I have three albums by Volbeat, and they’re great – but to really get the benefit of this gig I should have done more homework.  Not that the songs don’t work if you’re not familiar with them – I just wish I’d taken more time to get under their skin.  Then this would’ve been a legendary gig, not just a great one.