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………….

 

So what do you so when you are running out of time and are laid up sick ?

Some days you just have to scream, there’s nothing left but it, today marks exactly two weeks since the start of the HRH AOR Festival in Hafan Y Mor, Pwllheli, Wales, and I was determined to get the photos and review all done and dusted  and to that end I did set about a lot of work, there were thousands of photos to go through, lots of  writing to be done, scheduling to work though, and of course all of this with some really busy work going on with my full time job, and family work and life 😉   so unfortunately something had to give and I came down with something that smashed my head for pretty much 5 days and I’m just coming out of the transformation to Zombie today……. so I get to scream this evening……… just not so loud as it might hurt my head…

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Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics – HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

 

But as with any other setbacks we have to roll up the sleeves and just get stuck into it again. So this evening I’m determined to get the Day 2 review fully completed and submitted, the Photos have already been sent in, so just a few bands left to complete the writing for and away we go, then it’s onto Day 3, followed by a couple of album reviews and a Preview of HRH Blues 4 which will be taking place in a few weeks. Ah the fun never stops, when does our brain convince us that we are bloody mad to take on so much. Not this month I guess, or next, but maybe at the end of the year when I sit back and look back on the whole year of madness.

 

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CRUZH – HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

 

So hopefully my head will get back into some semblance of normality and I can get it all sorted and out there before long, and avoid hitting the deck and ending up back in bed for another unwelcome break.

The first day review is here if anyone wants to have a look, working for my good friends at RockposerDotCom this time around.

HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

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Joe Lynn Turner – HRH AOR 6 -08-03-2018

Of course if the weather holds up it would be nice to get out and about a bit and capture a little of the beauty of our surroundings. Couple of gigs to squeeze in the next few days too, nearly forgot that – March can be such a busy month, and April is often no quieter, bloody hell TOTO is only a couple of weeks away. So much to look forward to, so time to take a bit of a stock of the abysmal diet, need more energy, less weight on me, and better organisation, and to be honest, need a bit more help with some things, at the end of the day all will work out ok we have the technology 😉   stay safe out there, it’s really easy for any of us to slip into depression spirals, doesn’t take too many situations one after the other and boom……and if you need a bit of help, never be afraid to talk to someone be it a friend, a stranger or a professional, just do it.

 

HRH AOR 6 has definitely destroyed me ;-)

Well I’m home safe but definitely not sound 😉

Arrived back at around 8pm last night and to be honest was a complete Zombie for the whole day from the moment I got up, and then couldn’t sleep, that’s what being overtired does to a body.

As for the Weekend, brilliant, from Joe Lynn Turner to Night Ranger to Skid Row, each day brought some terrific performances, from bands I’d expected to be great like Eclipse, The Radio Sun, Midnite City,  Blood Red Saints and more…  and then of course there were the wonderful surprised like finally getting to catch Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics and being blown away by the performance, or having a band like The King Lot open up the Friday Main Stage and kicking everyone’s ass into gear from the first song, great stuff and all part of what turned out to be another brilliant HRH AOR weekend.

Lots to write up, just need the head to clear, and let it flow, and a hell of a lot of photos to get sorted through, but will get there, need to get some sleep the rest of the week and go at it again fresh, so far very pleased with how some shots are coming out and a bit disappointed with others…..but that’s the nature of things – will keep plugging away. Have to make sure I don’t get exhausted and bring on an episode, and damn have to hit Sepultura on Thursday and get some other reviews in, busy times.

Very very tired and not sleeping now, but trying to work through the photos, hopefully you will like them when I have the full galleries up, here’s a small taster.

 

 

 

 

After the snow….

Don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world, but here in Ireland we’ve been hit by what is for us a very unusual weather event, we tend to get very small amounts of snowfall during the winter months, and even at that it grinds the country to a halt 😉   But from last Wednesday we got hit by a much bigger event, snow for a few days that was very heavy at times and blizzard like, the meeting of a storm and a blizzard decided to dump as much as it could on our little green island, and the havoc caused was crazy, from the near Black Friday frantic scenes as people scrambled to buy sliced pans of bread, literally stripping delivery cages bare before they even made it to the shelves, yes for bread and milk, it wasn’t like the conditions were due to last weeks, a day or two.

But with snow drifts up to 10 feet high it certainly was causing problems, no public transport of any kind, flights in and out of the country completely wiped out, and people told to stay in their homes and not venture out. Well this is Monday night and the reality is most of it is all gone, a thaw for a day and a half and that’s it panic over, the sliced pans are no longer on Ebay for €1,000 😉

The birds weren’t too bothered, they still came to the garden to get their treats from the feeders or try their luck with the frozen ground. It’s all back to normalish now, a couple of days stuck in the house and people were going stir crazy, the supermarkets are still bare shelved, their distribution centers trying frantically to restock. In fairness the snowfall was more than double the previous records, so for her, a place that doesn’t have a reason to invest heavily in infrastructure or equipment for such an event if it only happens every 30 or 50 years, it wouldn’t be that prudent, but maybe when they add up the total cost it might be worth doing more.

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Poor Blackbird scavenging around the garden in the snow.

 

But hey we are rolling into Spring now and it’s time to look forward to better weather, more trips, gigs and Festivals, it’s really lifting the spirits, which have honestly been a little low of late. We start this week with the HRH AOR Festival in Pwllheli, North Wales which I will be shooting at for the 4th year running, this year for my good friends at Rockposer.com and will look forward to photographing and seeing some terrific bands and of course catching up with some wonderful friends along the way. This years bill includes headliners Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen), Night Ranger and Skid Row. This is always a great weekend, and handy to be an indoor Festival at this time of year with lots of facilities on-site.

HRHAOR6-Poster

 

Busy month of gigs ahead, still have Sepultura, Steven Wilson, Cannibal Corpse, Gary Numan, Maverick and Danny Vaughn & Dan Reed to come this month, and HRH Blues in April.the year is pretty full with some great and very varied stuff, going to try and get to shoot more shows.

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Eclipse – HRH AOR 2015

Another plan this year is to try and get out and get some decent photographs of Butterflies, but natural homegrown ones and some more tropical ones at Butterfly Gardens around the country, will try my very best to get this done. And then onto our holiday in Donegal, more Wild Atlantic Way sights, a different part of Donegal, so we will get to see the beautiful Fanad Lighthouse  and area this time around.

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Black Swallowtal with blue wings.

So bring it all on, lets hope it’s a great few months for us all and brigher weather brings brighter moods, with a lot of friends struggling through various illnesses at the moment, thoughts and prayers are with them all for speedy and full recoveries, and we all need to live life to the fullest while we have it, have fun out there.

Still dizzy, but we march onwards.

So time for a little update, and have to be honest I’ve be struggling a little, the dizzy spells have not disappeared, thankfully they are definitely fewer, which I’m thankful for. And while typing this I should be on my way in to see one of my favourite bands, the always wonderful Pat McManus Band, but will have to wait until the HRH Blues Festival to catch him again, it just would not be a smart play to go in and risk getting worse. But the guys really are wonderful live, Pat is without any doubt one of the most talented guitarists around today, such a passionate player and loves what he does.

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PMB – Ramblin’ Man Fair – 2016

 

Having said that I’ve already been to 20% of the number of shows I managed to get to in the whole of 2017, and there a a couple of gigs on the cards for this week, so hopefully things will go to plan. WOW!!!! we are almost at the end of February then and rolling into the Festival Season, with HRH AOR VI first up, that’s going to be great. Particularly looking forward to seeing the brilliant Night Ranger again, absolutely blew me away last time at the same Festival back in 2015.

 

Lots of stuff going on the next few months, gigs, Festivals (shooting and reviewing a couple of those – yeah I know I said I wouldn’t do that much work anymore, but it’s not always easy to get Festival Reviewers, may be a bit lucky this year and have a friend taking some of the load). Then we have a family holiday, staying in the homeland, but can’t wait for that, and will finally get to pay a visit to the stunning Fanad Lighthouse in Co. Donegal. So I automatically think back to last year and getting to see another of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland at Loop Head, Co. Clare, will naturally bring the camera along again and see what we can get.

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Loop Head. Co. Clare

For the rest of the weekend, will continue to work on some shots of our feathered friends in the back garden if the weather stands up, have some Album Reviews to work on and grab some rest in between. But we have to keep going, march onwards (to a tune or two of course) and keep trying to learn a few things as we go along. After I think I’ve improved enough with static birds it’s time to get to work on Birds in flight again, and that will probably require a replacement tripod, the endless spend of money continues 😉

 

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 😉