We welcome back The Nightingales for the fourth time to Middlesbrough following on from last year's successful Bank Holiday gig with the Blue Orchids. This time London's The Bitter Springs, who often
support Vic Godard's Subway Sect, and a whole host of local bands feature including Pellethead, SHRUG, Swine Tax and Year of Birds. The mysterious Oldfield Youth Club will open proceedings.
The Nightingales was formed by former members of The Prefects following that band’s demise in 1979. 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 ’80’s 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 1980’s to look at the period rationally and other, infinitely better known, bands stand revealed as charlatans”.
The group recorded a bunch of critically acclaimed singles (Almost always ‘Single Of The Week’ in the music press) and three albums, plus many radio sessions for their great supporter Peel. They also regularly toured the UK and Northern Europe, as headliners and supporting acts as diverse as Bo Diddley and Nico.
In the late Eighties the Nightingales stopped working but, following the occasional gig between times, they re-grouped in 2004.
After fucking about with various part timers, starry eyed wastrels, precious sorts and mercenaries the group arrived at it’s current line up, which features Lloyd, Andreas Schmid from Faust on bass, ex Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson and on guitar James Smith, who Lloyd had spotted playing with Damo Suzuki.
Since restarting the group have been more productive than ever – releasing five 7″ vinyl singles, a 10″ EP and six studio 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 Music and they have continued to receive regular rave reviews for their records and live shows.
The group’s most recent trio of albums – “No Love Lost” (Cooking Vinyl 2012), “For Fuck’s Sake” (no label 2014) and “Mind Over Matter” (Louder Than War 2015) were all produced by bassist Schmid at Faust Studio in Germany, where he is the house engineer.
“No Love Lost” was described by Mojo as “Brilliant. One of the fiercest and most exhilarating rock records in ages” and the record features guests, Hans-Joachim Irmler, founder of krautrock legends Faust, on keyboards and, semi regular collaborator, U.S avant-garde composer, Katherine Young on bassoon. Their next album “For Fuck’s Sake” was a self released, limited edition vinyl only LP available on no label, with no barcode, with no distribution and only at the bands gigs. Described as “a minor masterpiece” by Uncut the record quickly sold out.
In 2015 following the release of “Mind Over Matter” – an album that many consider their best ever – the group played an extensive tour of UK and Ireland prior to a bunch of dates on the U.S West Coast and a tour of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary.
This year the Nightingales again toured the UK in Spring and Autumn and played a series of festivals over the Summer. They also recorded a new six song mini album for release in early 2017. This new 10″ EP will be followed by a 7″ single featuring a special guest collaborator and a new album will be recorded for their latest label Tiny Global Productions.
The Bitter Springs are one of the most enduring and unpredictable independent rock groups this country (England) has ever produced,
much preferring to go unnoticed rather than be diluted by compromise. Working in the stubborn single minded tradition of groups like Dexy’s Midnight runners, The Fall and The Smiths always prepared go where the Song takes them
They hail from the London suburbs of Hampton and Teddington
Which is often reflected in the songs? The band evolved from Last Party, who had formed in 1982 and eventually created their own Harvey records label and enjoyed cult success with 2 Albums and countless singles and ep’s, among them melody maker and NME singles of the week and two very influential John Peel sessions
They changed their name in 1996 to The Bitter Springs and on their debut LP From the Parish of Arthritis even managed to coax Vic Godard out of retirement for a country duet with Simon always changing musical styles from one song to the next, the only constant being the distinctive voice and lyrics of Simon Rivers,
who is often cited as one of England’s finest wordsmiths
‘’arguably the greatest British lyricist of the last 30 years’’ Tony Naylor (observer /guardian)
The band played the Tanned Tin festival in Spain on Jan the 27th 2011 with Faust and Thurston Moore -
proud of having never played the same live set twice
every gig is a Unique and memorable night
Other notable Spanish outings have been to Frontera Circulo in Madrid and
the Primavera Festival in Barcelona in 2011 with Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern
They have continued to release many more singles and albums to date (always receiving great acclaim and accolades).
As well as 2 NME singles of the week, they’ve had A Mojo album of the month and even appeared in a
‘great lost albums’ feature in of all places ...Vogue magazine
The Band released 5 very different singles in 2010/11:
AND EVEN NOW / MY LIFE AS ADOG IN A PIGSTY / TV TEARS / GARY GLITTER FAN CONVENTION / SNOWFLAKES IN JUNE
All appearing on their 7th album the Double CD
Everyone’s Cup of Tea (Harvey CD004)
Relased on 11 February 2013 (Cargo/Acuarela)
‘’Fucking glorious bittersweet iridescent shining glowing
Inspirational pop music’"
‘’Shane MacGowan trading lines with Ian Dury and Jarvis Cocker’"
‘’A compelling tragic-comic world that’s part Steptoe and son part Joe Orton"
‘’Electrifying and life affirming’’
‘’Such raw Emotion will make your heart explode’’
"as truculent as The Fall with song's as fine as Felt's"