The Nightingales/ Ted Chippington/ The Lovely Eggs @ Preston – live review

The Nightingales/ Ted Chippington/ The Lovely Eggs
The Continental, Preston 14th October 2012

Words: Nathan Richardson

Nestled in streets of Victorian terraces, somewhere between Preston Railway Station and the River Ribble, sits the New Continental. Presumably once a standard working-man’s tavern, it is now annexed, and, from the forthcoming listings, home for the night to touring groups from days gone by.

This evening sees local(ish) group The Lovely Eggs support Ted Chippington, and The Nightingales. A sea of bald heads greets the former with enthusiasm. Their songs are short, taut and generally quite odd. There are numbers about digital accordions, sausage roll thumbs, olives, people being twats, and journalists. Delivered with a Poly Styrene angst, but splattered with a giddy indie-poppishness that makes their whole act perfectly adorable. They’re political, but never portentous, and while humour certainly features heavily, the audience is never left questioning whether they’re a “serious” act. Of course they’re a serious act, they just don’t take themselves too seriously, but the music is seriously good, and there is nothing not to like about them.

Chippington stalks onto the stage, a beer can in hand, and over a long, rambling almost avant-garde backing track, reads a long, rambling monologue about a man that moves from London to Torquay. Strange, but then so is he.

An occasional laugh, a few perplexed faces prepare the thin audience for the spectacle that is The Nightingales. It’s hard not to compare them to The Fall, but no other group seem so profoundly determined to break away from the rationale. Their sound, however, is resonant more of Captain Beefheart. With a compulsive and fantastically tight rhythm section, a crashing wave of angular guitar, and Robert Lloyd: The Nightingales are the most loveably chaotic group about.
There are no melodious plots here, no sense of a guitar riff – the music serves only as a consistent backdrop to Lloyd’s (often incomprehensible) musings. He stands with his back to the crowd for the first few numbers, and then joins the audience for the rest. Mumbling and stumbling about the room, an unhinged inebriate, pissed and potless, charioted by Bacchus. ‘Crafty Fag’ receives quiet applause, Right Said Fred’s ‘Deeply Dippy,’ quiet bemusement. They’re loud, lascivious. Lloyd asks one attendee whom he is texting, tells another to, ‘Shut The Fuck Up!’ Happily, they’re not here to play the “hits.”
Unlike The Fall, who’ve become (ironically) institutionalised as “The Fall,” The Nightingales are keeping to their roots. Sunday night in Preston. Uncaring, belligerent toward all expectation, they’re difficult to enjoy, but that is the point. They’re difficult to ignore also, and that perhaps also it the point.

And so this John Peel memorial gig (one of many at The New Continental this October) draws to a close. The recent unsavoury rumours about the DJ fail (rightly) to hinder the veneration bestowed upon him, and his aesthetics incorrigibly live on: a democratic, uncompromising and essentially intelligent attitude to music. It passes most by with leaden eyed despair, but The Nightingales, immortal birds, will remain, Ted Chippington also, even if only a footnote, a very important footnote.

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