Gig review: The Nightingales

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STATEMENTS of disdain for the music business don’t come much stronger than making your new limited-edition vinyl album available only at gigs and drolly titling it For F***’s Sake.

The Nightingales - Nice’n’sleazy, Glasgow

***

But then, The Nightingales – late-70s veteran Birmingham post-punks with a fluctuating line-up based around vocalist Robert Lloyd, and one of the late John Peel’s all-time favourite session bands, have never quite been industry darlings.

A prominent punk commentator once described them as “the misfits’ misfits”, and you could tell what he meant at this hard-hitting if distinctly take-it-or-leave-it gig.

Looking like they’d arrived direct from a business lunch – all sharp suits, no ties – they packed something like 20 songs into an hour, with no patter and barely a pause for breath.

Powered by Alan Apperley’s angular riffs, and a fierce rhythm section of Faust bassist Andreas Schmid and ex-Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson, their playing was tough and ragged if deceptively complex.

Lloyd for his part was the wry lyricist with ideas and imagery to burn, by turns playful and gruff, be it the line “you won’t find me in a Batman suit dangling from St Paul’s” in Real Gone Daddy, or at one point declaring “you won’t find me whining for England” in a throaty baritone.

If jazz is about spotting the notes musicians don’t play, then The Nightingales’ brand of acerbic punk is about recognising the conventional elements of short-form rock songwriting eschewed – choruses for one thing. By that measure, 35 years on, they still throw a lot of needier, weedier bands into sharp relief.

Seen on 23.04.14