'Loving The Skin You're In' Spring Tour 2014
+ Stuart Forester
£6 adv £8 door (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mixing folk, rock, punk and pop to dazzling effect, you'll feel as though you've heard Merry Hell before.
Perhaps not physically, on their joyous debut album Blink... And You Miss It, or at one of their bouncing live shows, but you've heard them somewhere in your soul, the core of your being, where the most visceral, secret feelings lay.
You've heard them in that moment when simple pleasures become the most valuable; in the emotions stirred by family; when love is joyously requited; when someone you care about finds happiness.
And within their critically-acclaimed second album, Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain, the band surpassed the wildest expectations. Smoke has been bottled, magic dust sprinkled, the electrical cables of the studio fizzing and sparking as they convey this glorious sound. Unencumbered by pretence, Merry Hell chronicle the everyday, the minutiae of life which goes unnoticed by most. But far from being humdrum, these microscopic moments of humanity and social observation are coaxed into glorious bloom by the songwriting pen.
Geographically, Merry Hell hail from England's working class north-west. Raised on the belief that an honest day's work deserves an honest day's pay, that you stand strong in unity with those around you, that those who fall are picked up, these souls flowered in communities where big society was a way of life ever before it became a political slogan.
But Merry Hell can't be placed on any map, because their music comes from among all of us, the places we live whether they be green or grey, the ways we pass the day, the endless human interactions which shape our being. The sound of Merry Hell is in the crystal streams sparkling down the hillsides where, years ago, men traded their personal freedom to make the land open to us all. It is in the toil and sacrifice of the factory floor, the thrum of the traffic queue, the hush of the festival field at morning twilight... in all of the places where we allow dreams to take flight.
5/5 - R2 (Rock’n’Reel)
‘Magnifico’ – Mike Harding
‘Undoubtedly the album of 2013’ – Simon Jones, fRoots
‘Strutting with confidence and belief’ – Louder Than War
‘Absolutely electric … folk-rock at its finest’ – Festivals For All
‘Ridiculously good’ – eFestivals
‘Deserves to dominate radio’ – FATEA
Stuart Forester has quite some stories to tell. And that burning desire to chronicle the passage of life is fully realised on his album A Yard Of Ale.
Born during a Cumbrian blizzard, raised in trailer homes and tents in Alaska and Canada from the age of six months, and now London-based after all these years, he was instilled from the start with a wanderer's spirit and a nomad's nature. Like those trailers and tents, time has imbued Stuart's folk songs and voice with a trusted, lived-in warmth; a place to shelter as the listener becomes engaged in these tales of love and loss, travel and travail.
'Formidably persuasive.' fROOTS.
'You feel as though you've been listening to these songs and this voice for all your life.'
4/5 - R2 (Rock’n’Reel)
'This guy is clearly a talent. Pure class.'
The Living Tradition.
'An exceptional release, one of quite formidable character'
'This collection of songs is really quite special.'
'A great singer, songwriter. He writes really finely crafted songs that feel to me to be deeply rooted in the tradition'
Mike Harding. Get Tickets