Nightingales – London – live review

London, Nambucca
1 June 2012

We liked Nightingales so much we reviewed them twice! Here’s a live review of their Nambucca gig at the start of the month. 

It’s not often that you shove open the double doors of a bar these days to be greeted by the sound of the Jasmine Minks blaring out. And when it’s followed by The Loft, Felt and The June Brides, you appreciate that a still unsung period of British music history from the 80’s will always hold a special place in the heart of people of a certain age, as well as the trickle down inspirational effect it’s had on songwriters and bands of a certain persuasion for decades.

Nightingales hail from this same era and a healthy part of the contingent here to see them consists of men who bob their heads appreciatively to the sounds in the air. At the same time, it is significant that the Nightingales’ own current line up is weighted more on the younger side, with members from Faust’s Studio and the late lamented Violet Violet, demonstrating the respect Robert Lloyd and remaining original Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley have garnered.

The band stroll on to the stage and take their places, all dressed uniformly in black and white attire, sartorially looking fine and refined, each member adding a flourish of their own individuality ”“ white polka dots to flailing fringe sleeves and paisley velvet jackets. At once they set the room ablaze storming into ”ËœAce’ and ”ËœBorn Yesterday’, taking adventurous risks with the vibrating guitar and smashing cymbals. Each member’s playing belies their years, no matter what number it is, as they build a platform for Lloyd to relay his pleasures and mostly displeasures of life.

The front man’s in the eye of the storm, the central figure in the middle of the whirlwind of disfigured and rapturous music that’s being played furiously around him. He just stares out blankly though and does not seem to see the people out there staring back. He looks up and down, and then contemplates with closed eyes. He’s not affected, at all – regaling the audience with his clever tales and woes in his smoke tainted serene voice, while simultaneously giving off the air that he’s writing another set of lyrics then and there, about the current situation he’s in.

During ”ËœDunce’ Lloyd crouches down to get a swig of libation. He takes slow languorous sips of whiskey, a perfect accompaniment to the dark places he seems to inhabit. Drawing out missives that seem to linger deep inside, his vocals are either spat out with angst or creep up and roll off his tongue in an alluring yet ominous low tone, as if he’s giving a warning or advice. But this delivery sends a mixed message which is confounding. You can take it seriously, with a pinch of venom, or with a pinch of salt, or don’t take it at all. Lloyd has an answer for them all.

The final song ”ËœDick’ leaves the audience to remember a confusing, passionate show with the magnificent sound pervading the air of one guitar sawing chords up and down, while the other is all high pitched slashing and burns, the bass wobbling rigorously, and lashings of punishment from the drums. Lloyd’s demeanour hasn’t wavered – even though he’s been through the wringer, he’s the master and the stage is his domain once he’s strolled on to it. He then heads for the exit. No encore required.

All words by Libby Mone.

You can read a review of Nightingales in Southampton here.

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  1. Totally agree with the review a terrific live band – miss them at your peril. Caught them on their recent sojourn down south and they were on brilliant form – what a drummer too


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