Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Nightingale Sang in…The Slade Rooms

If you're a new reader, you won't know that one of my friends, with whom I share an office, is an on-off rock star. By which I mean that he's a long-serving guitarist in post-punk grouches The Nightingales (formerly The Prefects, apparently 'Birmingham's first punk group'). John Peel loved them. So do Marc Riley, Phil Jupitus and Stewart Lee. Sadly, the record-buying public have remained largely immune to their ramshackle charms. Not that that's stopped them. They tour internationally a couple of times a year and release a new album at least annually. There's a new one out and the first track is called 'Bullet For Gove', which is a sentiment I think we can all share. You can also buy the t-shirt. Ideal for schools' non-uniform days.

I like them for various reasons. Firstly, for being so bloody-minded. Secondly, because they sound like Wilko Johnson on speed, thirdly for the acerbic, convoluted lyrics. They very rarely play their old songs (which made The Wedding Present look like a cabaret act when they appeared together recently) and they never stop between songs because fishing for applause is not punk. So they play for 90 minutes without a pause. It's a thrilling experience. The effect is like having eternal credit on the world's angriest jukebox.

They played a home-town gig (-ish: their drummer's from Norfolk and the bassist is German) last week and I took my camera and played with my new (used) 105mm f/2.8 and the 11-16 f/2.8 wide-angle lens I bought last year, plus the trusty 50mm f/1.4. The support acts were local youths Jump The Shark (better than their name) and notorious anti-comic Ted Chippington. He's not funny, but that's the point.

See the full set, or click these favourites to enlarge. There's only one of drummer Fliss Kitson because she wore black, with black hair over her face, in front of a black backdrop. Cool, but hard to photograph.

The blues and Joyce expert who calls himself Zoot Horn

Typical Gales fans

The merchandise stall is run by the world's leading Charles Manson academic

Ted Chippington

Guitar hero Alan Apperley

Andreas Schmid, ex-Faust

Fliss Kitson, the singing drummer who isn't Phil Collins

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