Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mr Duff went out last night...

Ted Chippington and The Nightingales. Two names that anyone who began listening to John Peel at the same time as I did will remember with some affection –even if, like me, you can’t be sure that they were actually as good as you remember them being. Last night, I had the opportunity to test my memory and my teenage judgement and am pleased to report that I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.

I turned up at Sneaky Petes with high hopes. Comments from colleagues who’d attended the previous night in Glasgow concluded “if only Frankie Boyle and that Sonic Youth were a tenth as good”. That assessment pretty much nails it – in respect of The Nightingales for sure.

They began as they continued with a serious twin guitar row backed by a rock hard glam rock bass drum stomp. In fact, if I can think of anything to compare them with it’s those jaw-dropping ‘junk shop glam’ records that Robin Wills regularly posts on his PUREPOP blog. And when - by song three, Robert roared “I didn’t know I loved you til I saw you rock’n’roll”, I knew I was on the right track with such thoughts. It’s not all ramalama rabble rousing though, there’s a fair bit of Beefheart and something that I can’t name but that is pretty damned rowdy, mixed in. The last time I saw a band kick up and maintain this kind of mania was The Oh Sees. Now, Robert Lloyd’s vocal delivery is a good deal more droll and a bit less unhinged than John Dwyer but sonically speaking, the action is comparable. On last night’s evidence at least, The Nightingales are that rare beast in these days of everybody knowing everything, a band that has been truly overlooked. We should consider ourselves lucky that Robert Lloyd still feels the need to come out and make his noise.

Ted Chippington, sadly sans his showbiz drape suit, opened and gave us a rough 20 minutes of what we’ll have to call material, although it’s still unlike any other comedy material you ever heard. The closest he got to a recognisable joke was “I was walking down this road and this bloke came up to me and he said ‘hey I’m addicted’. I said, ‘You probably are mate.” The highlight (his version of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - recast as Chirpy Chirpy Cockney - aside) was a tape he played of an unidentified British punkrocker embarrassing himself with his inarticulacy on US radio. If anybody who knows who that was, I’d be delighted to know.

Oh and if you’re in Edinburgh or Glasgow scratching your head and wondering how you never heard about this then the reason is because - as far as I can see no one knew – I saw NO publicity around Edinburgh or on the net at all. The Nightingales told me that they got a call from the promoter at noon yesterday (the day of the show) to say they were pulling it so the band took the reins themselves. There was about 20 people in the room but those 20 people saw a great show. The Nightingales achieved victory in the face of incompetence and indifference, I think that may well be a decent summing up of their whole story. Go see them tonight if you're in Hull, they deserve better than they got in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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