This week’s event was the monthly showcase for upcoming talent: ‘Nightfish’. It was a mix of genres spanning from Americana to Punk-edged Rock n’ Roll.
First up were indie rockers ‘Viyellas’, who are relatively new to the Nottingham gig circuit having only formed 6 months ago after finding each other through ‘joinmyband’. The set is based around the song-writing talents of frontman Josh Hart and swirling guitar leads of Will Lomas, both of which are perfectly complemented by the rhythm section of bassist Kian Irwin and drummer Joe Newton. The band’s sound is reminiscent of the guitar-band revival that occurred in the early 2000’s, which is when the members would’ve been growing up, seeing as they’re all only 17 years old. Think of a mix between ‘The Libertines’ and ‘Catfish & the Bottlemen’, whilst the vocals have an Alex Turner-quality to them and you’ve got the ‘Viyellas’ sound.
Their set kicks off with ‘Lines’, an exercise in punchy power chords and a chance for bassist Kian to show off his slap-bass technique – watch out Flea. Next up is ‘Papers’ (mistakenly heard as Papal/PayPal – a future ode to the online banking of his holiness maybe?) which features an introductory riff that would be perfect for a future ‘FIFA’ game’s soundtrack. The steady drumbeat and circular riff is reminiscent of early ‘Arctic Monkeys’, before they got into Dr. Dre and the girl-group harmonies heard on ‘AM’. The centre-point of their set is ‘Song 22’, which is fitting as they’re hoping to release as a début single later this year. The song features a ‘Nirvana-esque’ rhythm in the power chords as well as the bass-centric verse, allowing the lead guitar to weave in and out of the vocals and for the rhythm guitar to have extra punch when it returns for the chorus. The backing vocals and mass-sing along heard make ‘Song 22’ a perfect début single for the band. The Southbank seemed to be the perfect venue for their brand of lad-based indie rock and the crowd seemed to agree, with some even turning away from the football to focus on the music instead.
Josh’s Song Picks:
The Libertines – Music When the Lights Go Out
Catfish & the Bottlemen – Sidewinder
Wombats – Greek Tragedy
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Can’t Stop
Catfish & the Bottlemen – Soundcheck
Guilty Pleasure: The 1975 – Chocolate
Second on the bill was ‘Christopher Moody & the Underground Kings’ who describe themselves as ‘Alt. Country’ and ‘Americana’. Fronted by, you guessed it Christopher Moody, the band play a set of originals which are all penned by said frontman. The songs have a distinct Bruce Springsteen vibe to them, which is no surprise seeing as Christopher named ‘The Boss’ as one of his biggest influences. Set-opener ‘Big Star’ begins with a slide guitar, courtesy of Pete Larkin, before settling on a laid-back country rock beat that allowed Moody’s soulful voice to shine. There’s a Cat Stevens quality to his voice; rich in timbre and equally as emotive, which is perfect for these tales of heartbreak and unrequited love. There was a good variety of tempos and paces in their set as ‘405’ featured a freight-train, blues-based shuffle, which was complemented by Western-tinged basslines and complex drum rolls to welcome in the choruses.
Although Moody is the focal point and is the main songwriter, the Underground Kings aren’t merely a backup band as they make their worth heard in the songs. A prominent feature in the sound is the use of organ which provides an added sense of melancholy to these already forlorn offerings. No more is this true than in set-closer ‘Lamp Lights’ which features the aforementioned instrument which controls the mood of the song whilst the lead guitar takes a back seat, providing jangly arpeggios rather than a roaring solo. Moody’s set was good and it was clear that he thrives in the live setting, but unlike ‘Viyellas’, The Southbank didn’t seem to suit their Americana sound all too well and the crowd response seemed a little tepid in comparison. I put this down to the difference in style between the bands and was by-no-means down to the quality of their music, which I for one enjoyed.
Chrsitopher’s Song Picks:
Counting Crows – Round Here
Tori Amos – China
Amilia Curran – I Am the Night
Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone
Ben Folds Five – Philosophy
Guilty Pleasure: Dr. Dre – The Next Episode
Last up at ‘Nightfish’ were the appropriately named ‘Knives’, given their raucous set of punk-edged rock ‘n’ roll. Front-man Craig Weir looked the part with his shaven, pink hair conjuring up an image of young Johnny Rotten, as did bassist Lee whose mohawk reached some serious heights. They name ‘Therapy’ and ‘The Jam’ as some of their many influences, and the latter can be heard in ‘What You See Is What You Get’ which features a punchy rhythm guitar part and a focus on the bass in the verses. ‘Knives’ had a variety of tricks up their sleeves in the form of harmonised guitar parts and the use of cowbell being used sparingly. One could hear shouts for ‘More Cowbell!’ and a request for ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ from the crowd…or maybe I just imagined that. Bassist Lee said their creative process works by one member bringing in a simple idea before being developed into a full band jam, which is apparent given how well in-sync they are with one another. ‘Going Nowhere’ featured clean vocal harmonies between Craig and Lee, which worked well for the apathetic lyrics on the ‘Green Day’ punk vibes of the song.
A cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘Pump It Up’ worked well and was given a breath of fresh air, with the band cranking up their amplifiers to 11 (almost literally). Their songs were loud (and I mean loud) but, in my humble opinion, would say that this detracted from their sound as it became one big cacophonous blur. The crowd for the most part seemed to enjoy it though, with the band bringing down a loyal and established fan base. They were the best received act of the night and garnered the biggest crowd interaction. A fitting end to ‘Nightfish’ indeed.
Lee’s Song Picks:
Therapy – Screamager
3 Colours Red – 60 Mile Smile
The Jam – Down in the Tube-station at Midnight
Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do is Dream
The Wild Hearts – Vanilla Radio
Guilty Pleasure: ABBA – Money, Money, Money
‘Nightfish’ is a monthly event held by ‘I’m Not From London’. If this article has piqued your interest, then head over to our Facebook page to find out about future events that we’re holding.
By Oliver Cobbin