Call me Russ L

Eine Kleine Courtesy Nightingales Music

Posted in Music by Russ L on 3 February, 2007

Right then, I went to my first ‘proper’ gig for ages last night. There are a few more upcoming, and it’s a good job too – now that The Shiny Shoed Concert Slattern has officially been named my local-blogging arch-nemesis, I simply cannot afford to be seen letting the side down. Y’know, the side consisting of… well, just me, really.

I was off down to The Hare And Hounds in Kings Heath (South Birmingham), anyway. I’ve said this before many times on this blog (and I’ll probably end up saying it many times again), but it bears repeating – they sell tins of Carlsberg Export from the upstairs bar for a pound each. A pound a can. In a pub. Whether this proves the existence of a beneficent God or removes the need for one is a question I ponder every time I go there. I never come to an answer, of course. I’m usually pished on Export before I get that far.

Three bands, anyway, the first two of whom being acts I already approved of and the third a group I didn’t know but about whom I’d heard many-a good word. Two things were writ large before any of them started: The turnout was fantastic (hurrah for everyone. Not pleasant to stand amongst, though) and that we were already looking at late runnings. Time was cracking on, as it has that nasty habit of doing.

After plenty of faffing about trying to tape a bedsheet to the wall behind the stage for a film to be projected onto (“that’ll never stop up,” I thought. I was correct), Einstellung eventually began. They (an instrumental band) play in that Neu-esque advance-advance-advance style, but pacier. Neu being chased by angry dogs, perhaps. Added to this, though, they had a lot more heavy guitar sections than I recall them employing last time, which (oddly enough) takes them one large step towards the sound of the massive piles of post-rock-influenced metal bands we’ve seen in recent years. Einstellung win, though, by dint of having a very different sense of dynamics and managing to do well whatever they’re doing at any given moment.

After seeing them only twice, I’ve decided that Courtesy Group are one of my absolute favourite local bands. The obvious reference point that I managed to somehow miss last time is The Fall, but more in a ‘general air of chaos’ sort of way than a ‘sounds like them’ sort of way. I really am at a loss to try and describe The Courtesy Group. They’re the sort of band you’d have to make up adjectives for, but I’m not going to start with that. The songs aren’t really all that complex but still manage to sound like there’s loads of things going on, and the singer a manic nutcase who charges around all over the place and reads poems between songs. The Outer Circle bus route seems to be a consistent theme throughout, which I like. I think the highest compliment I can pay them is that they’re off-the-wall without being all wacky student, and that’s definitely something to be applauded.

It was late by now and as such I didn’t get to see too much of The Nightingales. I hate that happening. Buses wait for no popular music. I enjoyed the little bit I was there for, though – Beefheart-come-post-punk, with that scratchy twangy guitar style that (for some reason) makes me think of those model houses made of matchsticks.

Or that could have just been another result of the Export.

~ Russ L, who enjoyed this one a lot.

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3 Responses

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  1. Betty said, on 5 February, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    I wasn’t aware that The Nightingales were gigging again. Strangely enough the comedian Ted Chippington, who once put out a record with them backing him, has also returned from the wilderness. There was an appreciation of him by Stewart Lee on the Culture Show the other night. Is it 1986?

    (don’t you just hate old gits remembering stuff?)

  2. Russ L said, on 5 February, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Your man Chippington is performing at the same venue on the 24th.

    (And Betty, please feel free to provide the historical perspective whenever you like. It’s appreciated and not the least bit gittish).

  3. andrewstellung said, on 16 February, 2007 at 9:29 am

    One day we will get that damn bed sheet to stay up! Glad you enjoyed it….see you soon!


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