Friday, 15 May 2015

On tour with the Nightingales

Yesterday I went to the Grapes in Stafford to see my friends The Nightingales do a warm-up for their tour, supported by The Courtesy Group and deliberately unfunny comic legend Ted Chippington. I took some photos (the rest are here), though the lighting was dire (I hate using flash) and I reached the limit of what this camera will do (if anybody wants to offload a used full-frame Nikon at a mutually acceptable price, let's talk).

The gig was fun. It was a small venue, packed with men of a certain age. The commemorative prophylactics sold by The Nightingales (£2) were optimistic at best, redundant at worst. I suspect the band slippers sold rather better. The 'Gales have a new guitarist for whom this was his first gig - if there were nerves during their trademark 60-minute no-stopping set, they didn't show. The sound, too, was great: every note and syllable audible. Not always a good thing, but the new album is a joy. Typical of the 'Gales, their manager texted to ask me to bring a stapler, and when I got there he borrowed a couple of quid from me. I guess that makes me a patron of the arts. I want the stapler back though. Limited edition, that.

I'd never seen The Courtesy Group either. The shirts worried me slightly – props make me wonder why bands want to distract from the music – but they were fascinating: a mix of pop hooks with Black Country punk poetry (quite similar to this classic) and Beefheart raw sound. They persuaded me to buy their 2009 CD, Tradesman's Entrance.

Click on these to enlarge.

Al Hutchins, The Courtesy Group

Andreas Schmid (bass), Robert Lloyd, The Nightingales

Andreas Schmid, The Nightingales

Audience member

Hidehiko Nagai, The Courtesy Group

Robert Lloyd, Jim Smith, The Nightingales

Jim Smith, The Nightingales

Robert Lloyd, The Nightingales

Ted Chippington: this is funny because a lot of his jokes start with 'I was walking down the road'

Fliss Kitson, The Nightingales