- Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:35
Doghouse @ Arden Road Social Club - 8pm
£10 advance & members. £11 on the night
The NIGHTINGALES formed in 1979 in Birmingham, England by four members of Birmingham's original punk group The Prefects who had been part of The Clash's 'White Riot Tour', recorded a couple of Peel Sessions, released a 45 on Rough Trade and, years after splitting up, had a retrospective CD released by New York indie label Acute Records.
Described in John Robb's definitive book on 'post punk' Death To Trad Rock as "The misfits' misfits" and comprising an ever-fluctuating line up, based around lyricist/singer Robert Lloyd, the Nightingales enjoyed cult status in the early '80s as darlings of the credible music scene and were championed by John Peel, who said of them - "Their performances will serve to confirm their excellence when we are far enough distanced from the 1980s to look at the period rationally and other, infinitely better known, bands stand revealed as charlatans".
The original members were Robert Lloyd on vocals, Eamonn Duffy on bass and Paul Apperley on drums, all formerly of The Prefects. The band, before splitting up, played more sessions on John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show than any other band excluding The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit.In the late Eighties the Nightingales stopped working but, following the occasional gig between times, they re-grouped in 2004, with Lloyd being joined by original Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley.
The current line up features Robert Lloyd, Alan Apperley, Andreas Schmid on bass and ex-Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson.
Since restarting the group have been more productive than ever - releasing five 7" vinyl singles, a 10" EP and six studio albums (plus two live albums), touring England, mainland Europe and USA numerous times, recording many radio sessions along the way. They have been invited to play various festivals in Europe and the States, including Glastonbury and SXSW. Their "Let's Think About Living" 45 was 'Single Of The Week' on BBC 6 and they have continued to receive regular rave reviews for their records and live shows.
Consistently one of the best live experiences in the country - BRIGHTON NOISE One of the best live bands in the UK at the moment – LOUDER THAN WAR
The surplus of ideas on display is nothing short of dizzying – THE FLY Ace lyrics, riffs and ideas burst out from all angles – RECORD COLLECTOR
They genuinely sound more vital than ever - UNCUT Utterly astonishing slice of genius – ROCK & REEL
As original as it is uncompromising – STOOL PIGEON Droll, surly, ace, a proper rock & roll group – MAIL ON SUNDAY
An astonishing, invigorating album of raging righteous attack – MOJO Among the best song writers we’ve got – ARTROCKER
Worm their way into that itchy bit of the brain that so seldom gets scratched - GUARDIAN UNLIMITED Utterly compelling– SILENT RADIO
Fiercely energised, it presents art-punk-rock ‘n’ roll almost as literary form – Q A bristling torrent of ideas, anger, danceable rhythms and caustic melody – THE QUIETUS
Incendiary and uncompromising – FLIPSIDE With The Fall getting Lifetime Achievement awards and Gang Of Four canonised it is long past time the wayward genius of Robert Lloyd and his cohorts was recognised - RECORD COLLECTOR
The Nightingales subjugate a rapt and breathless audience with a performance of sinewy magnificence - DAILY TELEGRAPH
Still stunningly relevant - LONDON EVENING STANDARD A living, breathing beast of an album - ARTROCKER
Age has neither dimmed their rage or diminished their satire - PLAN B As difficult, original and wonderful as ever - BRUM BEAT
It’s the opposite of what reformed bands do, but it’s exactly what they should do – LOUD & QUIET
The future of erudite rock’n’roll depends on the likes of Nightingales – TALK PUNK An arch glam terrace stomp through UKIP heartland – SUNDAY TIMES
Blue Orchids have just released their latest album, The Once And Future Thing, which shows Martin Bramah's songwriting to be as strong and diverse as ever, from the powerful opener "Good Day to Live" to the delicate and sensitive "Rosy Hours" and the twisted English city blues of "Motorway." Backing Bramah live is a new band comprising Chris Connolly on drums (Glitter Band, Jah Wobble), John Paul Moran (Monochrome Set) on keyboards and Vince Hunt (A Witness) on bass. They'll be performing a set filled with classics from the group's entire catalog. These dates mark a long-overdue return to the stage for Bramah and his mesmerising, shamanic performances.
The Once And Future Thing confirm Bramah's status as one of the Britain's most inventive and original guitarists and a superbly measured, thoughtful lyricist. Perhaps that's why Blue Orchids were chosen by Nico (Velvet Underground) to back her for several years; why his songs were covered by Aztec Camera, Sonic Youth, Dustdevils, Camper Van Beethoven, Crystal Stilts, Slovenly and many more; why he's been acclaimed by successive generations of musicians and writers for "making music which is introspective yet exhilarating, sad but stirring."
The founding guitarist of The Fall and its primary songwriter on early releases, Bramah formed the Blue Orchids with two other disillusioned Fall members after the release of the Live At The Witch Trials album - with almost instant success. John Peel championed the 7" singles "Work" and "The Flood" and had them record two radio sessions. Soon after, a high-profile tour with Echo & the Bunnymen followed. Their debut album, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) topped the indie charts and delivered five classics still in the set today - "Sun Connection," "Dumb Magician," "A Year With No Head," "Low Profile" and "Bad Education."
Over the years, the members of Blue Orchids came to read like a Who's Who of independent music, including members of Dislocation Dance, James, The Smiths, Primal Scream, Buzzcocks and more.
Ten years after his initial departure from The Fall, Bramah rejoined for the band's Extricate album - to date, still the band's biggest-selling album . . . and then departed again, with Mark E. Smith telling him, "You're just too good for the band!" (likely the only time a Fall member left the band with actual praise from the irascible Smith!)
Having created one of early post-punk's most distinctive sounds with their strung-out keyboards weaving around inventive, discordant guitar patterns -- once described as "Phil Spector meets the Velvet Underground beneath the Blackpool illuminations" - the Blue Orchids now move on, determined to make the world a more colourful place. The Once And Future Thing will confirm Martin Bramah as an artist who has followed his muse and continues to write great and memorable songs.