Merry Hell – news from The Ghost In Our House tour

The first leg of the “Ghost In Our House Tour” is behind us and we are now busy rehearsing for the forthcoming acoustic leg.  For those who haven’t seen the acoustic incarnation of the band we can’t recommend it highly enough. Some of the venues on this leg will be seated giving you the opportunity to enjoy the more subtle side of the band but as ever there will be the opportunity to belt out an anthem or two! There may even be other new songs added to the set…

The band have been worked hard on the tour and actually played two sets in both Derby and Lancaster.  Derby saw the first performance of material from the new album when “The Baker’s Daughter” was aired for the first time by the six piece acoustic band.  It was played again by the full band at night along with ‘The Ghost In Our House’ and another driving rocker, ‘Rage Like Thunder’, though Stocksbridge were denied the latter which, due to a special request, was replaced in the set by ‘Emerald Green’. We made our third visit to Telfords in Chester, a venue where the audience are as close to the band as its possible to be which always makes for a lively night!

Our return to The Miller in London was an eventful night and a late one.  The pizzas and chips were as good as we remembered and so was the atmosphere.  Nothing could dampen our spirits even though the van key snapped in the lock of the tour bus. We had to leave the gear at the venue, get taxis back to the hotel then pay the congestion charge again the following day to get the van out of central London! Thanks to everyone who travelled to get there, especially our local contingent (Julian, Rachel, Janie, Denise, Anita, Col & Chrissie). We also held a raffle for 2 tickets for our London gig next April supporting The Men They Couldn’t Hang and the lucky winner was Yann Kerbiriou from Kent.

From there we headed back to the Midlands for a gig in the old Tansads’ stronghold of Chasetown, local haunt of Iron Man CD cover star, Oz, where John treated the locals to a special encore of ‘Horses’.  The band and crew were also treated to top quality pre-gig catering and hospitality from Oz.  Massive thanks again to Andrea and Ed in Stocksbridge who laid on a mighty feast that would have fed a football team and provided the most luxurious merchandise space to date with three entire tables to display our wares and to sign people up for the free Ghost EP.  We then switched South Yorkshire for North with our first visit to Keighley and an intimate seated venue, The Exchange, though it didn’t take too long for people to abandon their seats for the dance floor!

MERRY HELLOWEEN III

Closing the first half of the tour our third Merry Helloween event again proved to be one of the highlights of the year. With the Citadel packed to the rafters, the crowd suitably fired up and the band raring to go, a good time was guaranteed.  Turning the set list on its head as usual, ‘Hope You Don’t Mind’ was the surprise opener, followed by ‘Finest Hour’. The band were backed by screen projections showing an array of ghost related images.  All the usual favourites were there, just not necessarily in the usual order with the likes of ‘Drunken Serenade’ and ‘This Time’ appearing later in the set.  There was a welcome return for Lee’s ‘The Gentle Man’, which hasn’t been played in a long time with Lee’s Grandad, subject of and inspiration behind the song, appearing on screen at the end.

The band were visibly moved by the audience singalong sections with ‘Lean On Me’, ‘War…’,  ‘One More Day’ and John’s now traditional ‘Horses’ encore, all being loudly and proudly sang back at the stage. Making his Citadel debut, Nick also commented afterwards on how impressed he had been with the audience singing.  All too soon the fluorescent balloons were bouncing around in the crowd and on stage as the evening closed with a full tilt ‘Let The Music Speak’…or so we thought. The band returned for a surprise 2nd encre and how had no one noticed that ‘Rosanna’s Song’ hadn’t been played yet?  So many favourites, so little time – so who is up for doing it all again next year?

Artists’ website: http://www.merryhell.co.uk/

‘Ghost In Our House’ – the official video:

 

MERRY HELL – Blink…And You Miss It

Once upon a time a band emerged from Wigan. They were raucous post-punk folk-rockers who named themselves after a make of pram – Tansads. They made some excellent albums, notably Shandyland and Up The Shirkers, but never achieved the success that was their due. Last year someone thought it would be a good idea for the band to reunite for a trio of concerts to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. If you missed them it’s too late to be sorry. Get the DVD although it doesn’t do the event justice.

After the reunions some of them thought it would be a great idea to continue and so Merry Hell was unleashed. At the heart of the band are former Tansads Andrew, Bob and John Kettle, Phill Knight, Tim Howard and Lee Goulding. John’s wife Virginia steps into Janet Anderton’s shoes and new bassist Andrew Dawson completes the line-up.

To demonstrate the continuity of spirit that drove Tansads the album opens with ‘Drunken Serenade’ which closed the final Tansads’ album and to emphasise this further the final track is one of their oldest songs, ‘Pendle Hill’. Six of the dozen new songs are by Virginia, including the title track, and the style of the set ranges from the gentle quirkiness of ‘The Butcher & The Vegan’ via the beautiful ‘Rosanna’s Song’ to ‘Over The Border’, the superb ‘The War Between Ourselves’ and the anger of ‘The Crooked Man’.

An eight-piece band can make a big noise but the production by John Kettle is perfectly judged: every thing is clear but the rough edges haven’t been entirely smoothed away. You can just imagine how they will sound live. Andrew’s buzz-saw vocals are sweetened by Virginia and Tim but Virginia is equally capable of belting out a lyric and sweetly singing an acoustic song. It’s a shame that the lyrics aren’t included but Blink…And You Miss It is one of my five star albums of the year. Dai Jeffries

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Artist Web Link: www.merryhell.co.uk