Multi-core, Folklore, Hardcore…….
Craig S#arp-Weir’s review of ‘Nightfish’, held at ‘Southbank Nottingham’, featuring ‘Dirt Royal’, ‘Joe Innes & the Cavalcades’ and ‘Super73’.
Walking into the Southbank on Thursday for another free ‘Nightfish’ event was like a breath of fresh air for an old-school punk veteran like myself, as I witnessed Dirt Royal, a young three-piece combo, full of fire ‘n’ skill, passionately entertaining an early doors crowd. The lead vocals were shared by founder member Charlie Russell (bass) and Leon Fenton (guitar) but most of the chorus lines were strengthened and memorable by excellent use of ‘gang vocals’ which gave their ‘Mod’ influenced catchy pop songs a very punky edge, that reminded me more of ‘SLF’ or the ‘Newtown Neurotics‘ than 60’s icons like ‘The Kinks’. So, it was not surprising to discover, that their main influences were ‘The Clash’, ‘Buzzcocks’, and obviously ‘The Jam’, made more apparent by the Rick Buckler style of drumming by music teacher and Dirt Royal ‘skin thumper’ Loz Hood, sporting a black ‘Fred Perry’ polo shirt…… naturally. Although Charlie plays bass, he could quite easily be mistaken for a rhythm guitarist the way he thrashed the neck on a four string like he was fronting ‘Green Day’ and even looked a bit like Billie Joe Armstrong at a glance.
My personal favourite was Factory Fodder, introduced by Leon, which had a very ‘Billy Bragg’ feel to it, telling the stories of modern day struggles to find work, with references to an old mining village that he was familiar with. After seeing this Brighton trio for the first time, I researched their discography spanning one year and one week (oh, plus 1095 days) to hear more tuneful delights, and although the material was pleasing, I can honestly say that I prefer them live. So far, none of the recordings seem to have captured the energy and power of this hard-working and tight gigging band, who appear more like a ‘Libertines’ offering on recordings, but more satisfying and reminiscent of ‘The Who’ when put on a stage. All in all, the band are very appealing, with a sound covering multiple genres including mod, pop, punk, new wave, and Indie. With a bit of luck, commercial success will be just around the corner. For me, at the moment, they fall into the category of bands like ‘The Crack‘ of the late 80’s, who charted with their single ‘Don’t You Ever Let Me Down’, but I can see them developing into something more like ‘one hit wonders’ The Vapors, who wrote the classic ‘Turning Japanese’. I’m confident mind, that with the right guidance, they have more than one hit up their sleeve for us.
Following a dirty royal power-pop explosion, was a much more mellow act, ‘Joe Innes & the Cavalcade‘. This band, it seems, takes various forms, depending on who is available at any given time/tour. Tonight’s line up gave a performance of folk-pop with violin and acoustic guitar very much at the forefront, yet the album I was given to sample, was completely different. However, there is no doubt that Joe Innes is a very strong writer who bounces off the contribution and talent of his band members in order to benefit the overall sound. The album ‘Foreign Domestic Policy’ is definitely worth a listen with fantastic production by Joe himself and Dave Gerard. Shared vocals once again, but this time the male vocal was toasted by keyboard player Lynn Roberts, producing a more ‘Beautiful South’ meets Ralph McTell feel to a couple of tracks, rather than Dirt Royal’s ‘Housemartin’s’ meets ‘The Wombats style’. Ironically, this ensemble are all from London, except for the drummer who is a Nottingham boy.
The headline act, ‘Super73’ from Leicester, brought a wall of guitars back into the room, delivered by Mark Whinkless and Rob Ellis with some alternative rock, but strangely no bass guitar. I was later told by house engineer Dan (delighted with finally getting his multi-core installed, so that he can effectively mix from the correct position at the back of the room) that Rob plays through a bass rig to fatten things up. The whole sound was big, yet cleverly textured from light to dark, very much driven by Andrew Winfield on Drums/Vocals and bedded out on keyboards by Adam Rousseau. Their songs were very well arranged, which I credit to the drum style, and at times reminded me of the heavier side of ‘Biffy Clyro’. For some reason I was scarred by visions of ‘Ricky Wilson waistcoats’ (or was it the Jack Daniels clouding my judgement?) because certain songs sounded like ‘Against Me’ were covering ‘Kaiser Chiefs and ‘The Killers’. This was hardcore Indie and it kinda worked!
By Craig S#arp-Weir