Another new Review live ;-)

Yes I’m flying, 2 added this week, the latest one once again for Rockposer.com of the superb new Elles Bailey album Road I Call Home which you should most definitely have a listen to.

Link now added to the Reviews Page  –  click here or the album cover below

 

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Elles begins here UK/Irl Tour this coming weekend and is in Whelan’s in Dublin next Thursday night 7th Mar 2019, well worth going to see if you can make any of the dates.

 

Busy times ahead, going to try and shoot some local bands this weekend, Elles on Thursday, off to see Tyketto in Nottingham next Sat night and then HRH AOR VII, wow that has come around quickly, preview of that event will be up today or tomorrow I hope. Will once again be doing what I said I wouldn’t do again and shooting + reviewing HRH AOR/Blues/Sleaze this year…….and Amplified in July if I can.

March busy, April sees HRH Blues and then we kick in towards a hectic summer, a couple of early nights are needed to keep the head clear and the mind functioning 😉  It’s very easy to start working on too much and let the mind get overloaded, then you just can’t get anywhere or anything done – have already had far too many nights at home just sitting there and not able to do anything created or not, will definitely get more done this year, and have to keep an eye on the sleep too, reality is I think I’m getting 4-5 hours a night at the moment, and while that’s ok for a while, long term it will end with me hitting the floor/ground somewhere, and that would not be fun. Everything in moderation 😉

 

Gig Time ;-) lets get 2019 started..

Finally, after a few unscheduled changes, bloody flu, and a rather bad start to the year which has seen friends lose those near and dear it is time I got out and went to a gig. First on my calendar was a trip to London the weekend before last to catch a 5 band lineup at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, one of the few venues I’ve not attended there This time around there are some bands I was lucky enough to shoot last year at different Festivals, but this time around it’s just a fun trip. Just took a long a little point & click camera for some momentos.

It was an absolutely cracking night and I have to say Skid Row have improved so much with ZP in just 10 months since HRHAOR last March, they look lean and hungry and sound a lot better too, which is great. But the lineup overall tonight was very strong, sadly due to a stupid mistake on my part I was delayed getting in and only managed to catch the end of the Killit set, but there was certainly enough there to make me want to see these guys again, so until next time. Next up were the always excellent VEGA, and once again the guys played a really good set, one hard working band and as always a very energetic Nick Workman led the band through a set that got people moving.

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Nick Workman of VEGA

 

Having not seen HEAT for quite a while I was really looking forward to catching them again, and in reality them being on the bill was a major reason for the trip, and as always they just don’t disappoint, the energy of frontman Erik Grönwall is just so infectious you just can’t help wanting to move along with him. Cracking set, with tracks from the most recent release Into The Great Unknown, and the newer tracks sounded great, especially kicking off with “Bastard Of Society” which set a marker for rest of the set.

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Erik Grönwall just keeps going from the moment he explodes onto the stage

The set is made up of not only new songs but great tracks like “Breaking The Silence”, “Living On The Run” and what is now a definite in the set “Mannequin Show”, this band are still on the rise, and live they are just always spectacular. The amount of people on the floor now during this set has dramatically increased as we move towards the last two bands of the night.

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H.E.A.T. – Jimmy & Crash

 

The penultimate band on the show tonight are none other than Sweden’s very own Backyard Babies, these guys were really excellent headlining HRH Sleaze back in September last year, tonight they working through the difficulty of Nicke being down with flu, but the show must go on and these guys are still determined to give the crowd all they can, and nobody can ever ask for more. They are not all about tricks and gimmicks, sound very different from everyone else playing tonight and I really enjoyed this set. I guess they had to change up the Set a bit  and tracks like “A Song For The Outcast” are great to hear. It is certainly not easy for any singer to be on top form when under the weather, but he worked his way through the set very ably and managed to turn in a very good performance with a slightly different set containing perhaps some of the less upbeat BB songs, but no less entertaining and a really good lead into the Headliners, hopefully we will see these guys back again really soon, could certainly never be thrown in the same pigeon hole as so many other rock bands, their music contains so many different elements, mixing electric and acoustic brilliantly, with songs that tell stories, love them or hate them we need more bands like the Backyard Babies.

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And then it was time for the Headliners, a band I’d only seen 10 months previously at HRH AOR 6, and this performance all around was so much better, the guys are looking lean and mean and were just so up for it. The guys are on top form and just powered their way through, with big guns right from the start, opening up with a monster version of “Slave To The Grind” and just running like a freight train through a set littered with their classic hits, slowing things down here and there with “18 And Life” the beautiful “I Remember You” with a massive crowd sing along.

As mentioned I’d seen the band headlining at HRH AOR last March, and to me although it was a good set, here and there it dipped a bit and ZP’s vocals were certainly not as powerful in the 2nd half of that set, no such issues here start to finish this was full on and the crowd could see how much effort has been going into this. Tonight we get a haunting version of “In A Darkend Room” that somehow managed to fit perfectly with the rest of the set, and this show is a massive success, great response from a full house, a band absolutely loving themselves, brilliant to see, with a new album in the works there is plenty to come from these guys, and they can only finish the tonight on one song, “Youth Gone Wild” and they absolutely smash it, a great trip away in a cold and rainy January, this warms the heart and lifts me to push forward for the rest of the year, got for the mind, if not always the body.

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Skid Row – O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London

 

Last weekend it was back to the UK for a trip to Birmingham to catch the mighty King King being supported by the wonderful Sari Schorr, check out my review of the night here – King King – Town Hall, Birmingham – 01-02-2019 – and it really was a cracking night all around.

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King King – Town Hall, Birmingham – 01-02-2019

This weekend hopefully will be shooting Behemoth in Dublin, this will be a special show, Sold Out in Vicar Street has seen both the band and the Promoter (DME Promotions) come a long way since their first show here. Still more gigs being added every couple of days, and all the time having to try and keep my Brain functioning better and stave off being overtired (the storm outside will not help that this evening. But grabbing sleep where I can, trying to avoid putting anymore stress on top of what is already there. Hopefully this weekend blows some of the cobwebs away and we get back on track for the many shows ahead.

Planning for a new year, or as it’s more commonly known logistics madness ;-)

I’m pretty open about things in life, and I’m not always sure that it is such a good thing, but at the same time it’s better than being so closed off that nobody on the planet knows who you are, and from a Mental perspective it can definitely help when you aren’t completely isolated in your own head, so talking to people about some of the difficulties of trying to look after your mother and when your little boy needs a little more attention than others has helped me not go over the deep edge in the last month, but it’s definitely been touch and go at times. Stress levels through the roof, not sleeping, generally feeling crap, but I’ve decided to still call this week part of last year as it contained a day – next week we start afresh, got to start getting into work for 7am and out at 4 again, it won’t be easy to get back into that rhythm of early mornings again, but it’s getting too difficult to get from work, to mams and home again before my wife goes to work, change the times and reduce some of the stress……..  have to get a family holiday in the mix too, and this time around on the Wild Atlantic Way we are planning to finish off County Donegal and finally get a look at the famous cliffs at Slieve League, they look amazing, so camera will be brought along and we will see if we can catch some birds, wildlife, butterflies insects anything really around the cliffs too, a bit of nature certainly won’t hurt us, maybe even another trip later in the year if we can stretch to it.

 

So it being early January, Christmas done and dusted and the Gig/Festival list for 2019 damn full already for someone who’s time isn’t really his own, it’s Logistics time, when planning travel to a show or a Festival it’s not all about the Flight prices, a lot of the time it’s about making things work, Flying to a different Airport because it’s cheaper and you have to get a Train/Bus anyway, or flying into one place and out another because you have more flight options on the way back. So far I’m already bringing on the madness certainly for one show in March, where I’m staying in East Midlands Airport after a show in Nottingham and getting the 6:30am return flight to Dublin, but hey one more time on the red eye won’t kill me – will it ?

 

Flight out to a Fest in March sorted, but the flight back is causing me a lot of stress, flying back on St. Patricks Day to Dublin really shouldn’t be a big deal, especially as it’s a Sunday, but apparently it is and all Airlines have hiked up the prices very significantly, but looks like I’ll just have to bite the bullet and take the hit, but it’s very annoying…….the extra money for a single flight would pay for return flights for another show., but there has to be some reason for it as flights from other UK Airports on the same day are not really expensive, if you can figure out the weird combination of prices that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks you are a better person than me, seeing a hotel that you stayed in last April for more than double the price is mindboggling……….. And initially planning to go to just one day of Bloodstock next year, but bloody hell, with bands I really want to see Friday and Sunday it’s gotta be a weekend, Fri-Sunday anyway, ticket bought more planning to do. Might try and get an Arena Photo Pass this time around. Would love to have the Privilege of shooting a Festival I really love. Also hoping to get to Amplified for the first time this year, with the people that I know involved with the Festival and the good things I’ve heard it sounds right up my street, and I love the lineup too 😉

 

This coming year will certainly be the last that I will be able to make a decent number of Festivals, more time will be taken up with  family, and I think by the time those situations change I will certainly be retired from the perspective of hitting 6-7 Fests a year, even if my own health holds up, age will eventually take it’s toll on top of everything else, but until then full steam ahead. On top of that I’m hoping to get to shoot a lot more smaller local shows this year, get back to Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Heats which start on Jan 19th. If all goes to plan it should be a very interesting, busy and rewarding year so time to light the touchpaper.

 

 

2018 Top 10 Time…….there may be a few of these…..

Although it’s been a very slow year for me personally on the the review side of things, I’ve already submitted a couple of Top 10’s for 2018.  My state of mind as it has been I tend to have some different albums in different Top 10’s, just depends on perhaps there is something that slipped my mind between one and another, and depending on the Outlet too some might be all AOR, all Metal or a mix.

So first up is the Top 10 for Rockposer.com

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 – Stephen Brophy – Rockposer.com

 

It wasn’t until I started looking again that there was an obvious omission from my Favoutites, the excellent Audrey Horne – Blackout and then this morning another popped into my head, it’s honestly not as easy as you think putting together these end of year lists when you listen to so many albums during a year and there are so many quality ones out there, to be 100% honest I already have 2 for next years list from reviews I’m writing now and I just know these will be 2 of my favs next for 2019. With a lot of bands moving back towards releasing albums on a more frequent basis we see quite a few releasing one a year, of course they aren’t always going to make the best of lists but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all releasing quality albums.

Right I had to do a lot of reworking of the Website over the last couple of weeks, so if you see any odd menus or anything missing that was there a few weeks ago hopefully I’ll have everything back in it’s place . It wasn’t until I tried to make sure the site was up to date with TLS 1.2 that I ran into some issues, couldn’t install plugins, couldn’t do a number of things, so the site had to be moved, the providers moved the content (well most of it) and then I noticed stuff missing, and had to start exporting/importing stuff, and then the menus get messed up again….so a little frustrating, but it took my mind off some other thanks going on in life that have made the last few months a disaster.

Here’s to a happier, healthier, easier and more productive 2019.

It’s really becoming an interesting year….

Ok, there have definitely been a lot of downs and far too many things to get organised this year that have had a large impact in what I do for fun/hobbies and just to unwind – but that is life as we know it in the 21st Century. When you add in multiple family obligations, a busy working environment and just general travel around it often leaves very little time to do things. Certainly one thing that has suffered this year is writing, I just can’t get through blocks in my head, more so for album reviews than anything else, but will continue to try and push ahead with what I have left to work on.

On the plus side, I’ve tried to organise myself better to fit around everything else in life and have managed to shoot a decent amount of shows thus far in 2018, and with some more on the horizon it’s great. That’s a positive, HRH Sleaze last weekend in Sheffield and confirmation for Rockinghamm which takes place in Nottingham next month are the two larger things on the Calendar, but hopefully a few smaller shows too. August has been a busy month  for shows and Sept will be the same. Recently got to shoot both the Bash For Philo and the wonderful Mike Brookfield (who was playing in Whelans on the same night)

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Mike Brookfield – Whelans – 18-08-2018
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Graham Bonnet Band – Bash For Philo – 18-08-2018

Was brilliant to get out the weekend before last and shoot the Unleashed Festival in Dublin, two night of heavy music, featuring some of Ireland’s best Thrash and heavier over two nights. So still need to get photos posted for that while working on the HRH Sleaze shots, add in a Review of Sleaze and a couple of Album reviews and that’s the next month done 😉

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Claire Percival – Dead Label – Unleashed Festival 2018

More positives in the fact that I have shot more shows this year than the last couple, and some of the stuff from HRH Sleaze is looking pretty good I think. Lots of interesting bands on show on both stages and some terrific performances, definitely a Festival to have a look at for 2019.

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Tom Wouda – Toxic Rose – HRH Sleaze II
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Tracii Guns of the wonderful LA Guns at HRH Sleaze II

Right lots more editing to get done later – looking forward to publishing the end results and hope some of you like them. The last few weeks have been a massive struggle and stress levels have been through the roof, so happy to get some other stuff done on the photography. Onwards and upwards as they say.

I Get Knocked Down……. and not as easy to get up…

Lately I have been starting to wonder is your mind much like being a boxer, when you are younger you get knocked down and even if it’s something that floors you for a while, you step right back up again and even if your head has been scrambled you just don’t let it phase you much. But perhaps every time you take a mental blow it cuts down your strength and resolve a little, and just maybe as you get older and keep taking mental blows you windup like a boxer that has carried on their career that bit too long, and every time you get hit you are slower to get back up and much slower to bounce back.

 

Right now that’s exactly how I feel, and it’s affecting other parts of life, sleeping, concentration, mood, pretty much everything. It’s easy enough these days to attribute everything to stress, being busy in all aspects of life, and that leading to depression, and sadly it’s pretty much right every time, but depression tends to come in bouts when it passes you can usually fight your way back out of the hole you are stuck in, perhaps if one bout runs into another and you are not sleeping and overtired that ability disappears. But at the end of the day you still need to keep fighting it, keep trying to climb back out of that hole.

 

This time around it definitely feels like a truck ran right over me, stopped and then reversed over me again. Even with this Blog entry I started writing it a few weeks ago and then the words ground to a halt, so back to square one again. That has certainly had a massive impact on trying to get any review work completed, on top of many other things that have slowed down. But at least this week attempting to write has lifted me a little, and getting out to a couple of shows, which were both amazing by the way, had brought some normality back to life. The image at the top of the page is just a personal memory from the show, wasn’t shooting it for anyone, but if you get an opportunity get out and see Sons Of Apollo, having so many super talented musicians on stage at one time is very rare, but they all put in 100% effort and energy into their show, true professionals.

 

Attempting to ease some of the external pressures has proven a little more difficult than expected, but any piece of progress helps and besides these things always seem to take time to get sorted out now. So we push forwards as much as we can.

At least I managed to submit a Review this week, the excellent Myles Kennedy, you can read it now over on the Overdrive website. Great photos by my good friend Steve at Down The Barrel Photography.

Myles Kennedy Review – Dublin 05-07-2018

 

What’s next ?

keeep fighting, try and get the head back in some semblance of working order. On the music/photography side, I’m working on a couple of Album Reviews and have the new Roack/Blues/Metal Festival to come in a couple of weeks, Rally Of The Lough in Co. Meath Ireland, with acts like Pat McManus Band, Phil Campbell And The Bastards, DARE, Coroner, Samarkind and many more, really looking forward to shooting this one.

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Keeping busy, but not too busy, and organising shows and stuff for the rest of the year, changes in circumstances mean only a couple of nights a weeks are at all possible now, but that’s a lot better than nothing. Roll with the punches, and hopefully get back up a little quicker next time \m/ \m/

Off to the tropical Sheffield and Nottingham for sure, and maybe squeeze in one more, and some stuff next year already beginning to fill in.

When deep in the hole I managed to have a couple of chats with good friends, not deep conversations or anything, but sometimes a chat will be enough to help you crawl out, so if you are down, just don’t ever forget to talk to friends, they will be there for you, so say hello and chew the fat.

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It always comes down to time….

Doesn’t seem to matter what you are trying to do, work, home, hobbies it really does all come down to a matter of what time you have available to you and how you manage to split it up. As I type this I’m actually on a Family holiday, and for some bizarre reason I woke up on the dot of 5:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I’m watching a glorious sunny morning develop, working on some Photos from the HRH Blues 4 Festival a couple of weeks back (almost there) and posting a quick update here. Going to head out to the back garden of our base here in Donegal shortly and see if there are any Birdies up and about, have seen some Robbin’s and Coal Tits already through the windows so hopefully there will be.

 

Writing hasn’t been working at all the last week or so, but I think the fog may be clearing from my mind now, with some luck when the little guy has gone to bed this evening I’ll be able to get stuck into finish off the reviews tonight, and get somewhat back on track. Not going to touch any of the photos I take this week until we get home at the weekend, so I guess I’m already borrowing time from next week, it’s what a lot of us end up doing these days to try and fit things in. Too hard to catch up with things though and eventually something gives and in reality that will pretty much always be your hobbies, it’s easy enough for me to take a camera out in the garden and try to catch the birds flying around or feeding, but it’s another 30 minutes or an hour our of a day, then editing the photos is another hour, I think I just need to start organising time better.

 

Today, it’s all about getting out and enjoying the break, off to Glenveagh National Park, in Donegal, a beautiful spot no matter what the weather, but if it holds up as it is now it should be a terrific trip, wish us well, the little guy wasn’t crazy about the beach yesterday, a little too brights with the strong sun, but he had fun travelling around as he always does, we paid a visit to the beautiful Fanad Lighthouse yesterday,  Would love to head back there sometime, it’s a lovely spot. Once again we are taking in a piece of the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, do visit if you ever get a chance and plan a trip following part of the Irish Coastline.

 

Right, out into the sun (although it’s cold right now I’m sure) and we shall see what we manage to see out there………..enjoy your day where you are ………

Another year on my way home with the Blues from missing the Blues ;-)

This weekend it was the turn of the Blues, with me shooting and working on some Reviews of HRH Blues 4 at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, as it has been the last couple of years. The lineup this year was once again a mix of really well known and loved Blues/Blues Rock legends alongside some of the cream of the UK’s up and coming Artists, and as always with Festivals it was some of these that will now live long in the memory.

 

Headlining each night this year we had the legendary Bernie Marsden and the blinding King King, both were fantastic and among the top sets of the weekend, but where do we start when assessing a weekend like this, wonderful music, great friends and like minded music fans, what more can you ask for…….well a new pair of feet would come in handy right now, it was a hard working weekend at the end of it I’d photographed all of the Sets on both stages and have reviews to get written too, could do with a couple of days off, but that’s not very likely is it 😉

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Matt Long – Catfish – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

Of the acts I was seeing for the first time there is something a bit magical about the delivery of frontman Matt Long, you can see he puts everything into his playing, there was more than a few that mentioned being close to tears during the haunting “Make It Rain”. To watch any artist dig so deep into themselves to deliver their music is truly a pleasure to be present to see.

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Pontun Snibb;s Wreck Of Blues – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

There was a wide range of artists and styles, be it Blues/Americana, Rock, straight out Blues and some bands that probably don’t fit into the genre too well. Was great to see Pontus Snibb (Bonafide) with his alter ego and the Wreck Of Blues and although didn’t get he chance to see their full set they sounded great. It was a shame that with only a few acts on each day that the sets on the 2nd stage overlapped their mainstage counterpart so closely, made it very difficult for people to see both.  But it’s always difficult to co-ordinate these things.

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Danny Giles Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

On both days there were some bands that really did blow me away, absolutely loved Danny Giles Band, superb guitar player, Rocking band with a great groove, damn I enjoyed these guys, and how I’ve missed out on them up to now is beyond me.

Closing out the evening after Bernie Marsdens set was the amazing Pat McManus Band, not only did they play a blinding set but they also managed to keep a large, and tired crowd up dancing and awake for that little bit longer, great set and as usual Pat was on fire.

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Pat McManus Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

Pontus wasn’t the only one stepping over from their more familiar roles with Rock bands, we also had FM’s Jim Kirkpatrick with his Blues band Heavy Weather.

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Jim Kirkpatrick Heavy Weather – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

And we also had my friend Peter Scallan (Moritz) playing his first gigs with Brian Rawson Band, and they sounded great in both their Acoustic and Full Electric sets.

 

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Brian Rawson Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

There are tonnes of other highlights, photos and ramblings to come from me on the whole weekend. Will leave this post with a quick shot of another massive highlight for me, the excellent Stevie Nimmo playing guitar again and sounding amazing on the big stage Sunday.

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Stevie Nimmo – HRH Blues 4 -2018

Wonderful rewarding weekend, but also very tiring, very little sleep (and not from partying may I add) will have to catch up on some sleep for sure, but was never going to happen tonight. Back to work in the morning, and a quiet night tomorrow is the plan………….

 

A little bit more productive….Review wise

Well there is no doubt that my productivity as a Music Reviewer hit a low point in the second half of 2017, but in reality it was unavoidable, much less free time to work on stuff and much more responsibility looking after a loved one, such are the ways of life, but still managed to get a couple of reviews a month done, which is probably the average for a lot of people.

So how has 2018 begun, well so far have 2 published reviews, and two being submitted this evening, and a bunch more on the go, so that’s all positive, if I can keep to 4 a month I’ll be more than happy as the year progresses.

First couple of published reviews (Blood Red Saints and Ailafar) are in the AOR/Hard Rock spectrum, but as always there will be lots of variety in genres, styles as I always cover across the musical ranges, it works with my own tastes that are very wide ranging, everything from AOR to Black Metal, Blues, Hardcore, Rock anything to be honest.

Links to any of my reviews for 2018 can be fond on the following page –

Reviews Albums/Gigs 2018

We can already see just how much content is coming in during January and it’s at times a little overwhelming, it’s getting more and more difficult for Media Outlets to cover even close to what’s now being released. Plenty of new names on the scene too which is healthy, but there’s always a worry that at some point we get over saturation and and lots of quality releases could get lost in the mix. Lets hope that doesn’t happen and we will work hard to try and get somewhat informed views of albums out there before they are released, at least that’s the plan 😉

How much have you planned for 2018 ? Are you mad ????? ;-)

Ok, back so quickly, yes but it suddenly hit me just how much I already have in my thoughts or actually organised for 2018. Current count is a total of 32 Gigs, of them 4 Festivals that I think are already organised, 6 Trips to the UK, and we haven’t even gotten things started yet. So the question comes flying at me again in big capitals –

ARE YOU MAD ????????

The answer is clearly yes, but hey, I’ve a lot to make up for, and I really want to get as much done this year as possible, as I think it may be the last year I can do much at all for a while. So lets throw caution to the wind and see how it goes. Really looking forward to it, lets keep the energy as high as possible and see where it takes us.

Today another one got added, the wonderful Pat McManus Band playing in Dublin in Feb. Hell Yeah !!!

The Pat McManus Band - DRC - 26-09-2014
Pat McManus – DRC – 26-09-2014