Wednesday, March 07, 2007
What's Not To Love With The Nightingales?
Robert Lloyd watching his band perform - Sorry for bad sound, it's the camera, not the band!
It must have been the coldest night of the year, with a big job waiting the next morning, and it was getting dangerously close to midnite when The Nightingales finally took the stage at the Cake Shop on the Lower East Side. A five piece in suits and shirts, four older men and one young kid on the guitar, not wasting one second to let the audience of about fifty people know they were here to have some fun. Most of the people in the sophisticated crowd were aware of the unique opportunity they were given here: To witness a legendary act 20 years after their heydays and most like just before their beautiful second spring. The band is tight, animated, working hard, while Lloyd is a poet, a beast, a charming crooner, walking singing and reciting through the audience, draping his arms around fans, addressing girls at the bar, then singing to the closed door to the backstage area, then again just standing in the audience, watching his band perform, finally walking out acroos the room, outside, to smoke a cigarette, which he can't finish, since the applause is thundering downstairs and somebody has to go get him for the encores, which include a stellar "Silver Machine". If you have a chance, go see them at Union Hall on Thursday. If you like Josef K, A Witness or Thatcher on Acid, you will be there anyway. If you like Franz Ferdinand or the Kaiser Chiefs or even dare to quote The Fall as an influence, this is compulsory for you, here you learn where it all comes from.
As a heads up for all of you uninformed, or too young, or too American, the 'Gales are not just another band from the U.K. Back in the early eighties, they were the epitome of post punk intellectuals, yet still lads from Birmingham, stealing - in the name of the lord M.E. Smith - from all kinds of genres, playing with furious passion and odd rhythm signatures. Singer Robert Lloyd crooned, spat, spoke in his unique excentric way, rolled his eyes and had one legendary leg move, huho. They broke up somehow, Lloyd released a solo album on which he did his best Elvis, which obviously wasn't good enough for the record company, since Grunge washed him away, back into the alleys of Birmingham. Then, in 2004, Lloyd and guitar player Alan Apperley, with whom the singer collaborated already in the early days of punk as The Prefects, reformed the Nightingales in 2004 and recorded an album, Out of True, which has been hailed as "the best record The Fall never recorded in the Eighties." Now, they are back, and better than ever.
Oh, and by the way, if you visit the The Nightingales MySpace you find a certain Jowe among their friends, whose last name, of course is Head, and from there you can listen to a few tracks of his new band Angel Racing Food. But that's a different story. Then, I would have to explain about the Television Personalitites, the Swell Maps and ultimately Marc Riley, Ted Chippington, the Yeah Yeah No's, the Pastels and...