LIVE REVIEW: Ferocious Dog at The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

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By Ed Sills

Very few local bands can lay claim to selling out Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, so it’s testament to Ferocious Dog’s popularity that they have done it twice in one year.

Closing off a UK tour in their hometown, the six piece played a frenetic set that saw them lean heavily on songs taken from their long gestated self-titled album that was released last year. Like the album, tonight’s set opened with Ellis Waring’s deceptively calm banjo roll on ‘The Glass’ before swaggering lead singer Ken Bonsall’s gritty vocals kicked in and the dancing began. Ferocious Dog gigs are not for the fainthearted, with the band delivering a sucker punch of rousing, rebellious anthems from the get-go.

What’s admirable about Ferocious Dog is that they stay true to their roots, evidenced by the poignant start to the gig when they held an auction to raise money towards ex-service members suffering from PTSD; an issue that has directly affected frontman Ken Bonsall and is strongly tied into the ethos of the band.

Newcomers will notice quickly that the band’s repertoire is a strong, lived with collection of songs that touch on issues ranging from social inequality on songs like ‘Criminal Justice’ to heartbreak via dark, otherworldly paths. Highlights of the evening had to be ‘Too Late’ and ‘Hell Hounds’ which saw many a crowd member exiting the mosh pit hobbling and dripping with sweat; two tracks which also showed off the sheer stamina and driving precision of fiddle player and co-songwriter Dan Booth.

Through old-fashioned hard work Ferocious dog have gradually built their reputation from the ground up and they’ve done so without signing to a major record label. As such it’s unfair to compare Ferocious Dog to bands like The Levellers or New Model Army, if anything their sound is closer to the Celtic punk/ska of Dropkick Murphy’s. By crafting out their own image and clawing their way to success one explosive gig at a time they have, and rightfully so, produced their own musical scene. Dedicated followers the ‘Hell Hounds’ attend almost every live show and are fiercely loyal - for the record, they’re the ones in the mosh pit with the band’s logo tattooed on their backs.

With support provided by Brad Dear and Shamus O’Blivion the night once again proved that Ferocious Dog are a must see live act. The band is holding a mini-festival ‘Dogfest’ on December 6th

Tickets can found at