A Nightingale sings in Kentish Town

PUBLISHED: 15:50 22 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 September 2010

Their post-punk sound is back in fashion and – as Marc Mullen finds out – Robert Lloyd s 80s marvels are back in business IT is an incredible 30 years since Robert Lloyd appeared on the music scene with Birmingham s first punk band, The Prefects. At the

Their post-punk sound is back in fashion and - as Marc Mullen finds out - Robert Lloyd's 80s marvels are back in business

IT is an incredible 30 years since Robert Lloyd appeared on the music scene with Birmingham's first punk band, The Prefects.

At the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, with The Nightingales - the 80s post-punk band (possibly Birmingham's first) - the old dog showed he still knew

all the tricks and had learned a few more.

The band was as tight as ever. Alan Apperley, who formed The Prefects with Lloyd, is still on guitar. But Lloyd's latest discovery - the androgynous Matt Wood on guitar - is a coup.

His jagged, piercing guitar is the drive behind the new tracks. The rockabilly Let's Think About Love, Taking Away The Stigma Of Free School Dinners and UK Randy Mom Epidemic, from last year's Out Of Cool, were the stand-out moments. He also gave fresh impetus to the old classics like Coincidence.

It is the ability of Lloyd to have an array of musical styles around his unique vocal.

The Nightingales were second to The Fall in the number of sessions recorded for both bands' great champion - the late, legendary John Peel.

The similarities between the two bands run even deeper. Lloyd pulls the strings, just like Mark E Smith, and, in terms of line-up changes, they possibly came second to The Fall, too.

The Nightingales reformed infrequently until 2004, when the post-punk sound they'd been playing for 20 years finally hit the mainstream, when the likes of The Rapture and Franz Ferdinand spurred Lloyd on to reform properly.

The gig had another cause for celebration. Fellow Brummie Ted Chippington, the godfather or possibly the grandfather of British alternative comedy, was back to his old job of MCing before The Nightingales came on.

Now the Reverend Ted Chippington, his 10-year sabbatical as a lonely truck driver was unlikely to lift him out of his dead-pan delivery and it hasn't.

Sample joke: "I was walking down the road the other day, this chap walked up to me and said: "Do you want to buy some LSD, mate?" I said: "No thanks, mate, We've gone decimal now. You know, pounds, shillings and pence - no use to me any more."

He describes himself as an "anti-comedian" and claims he only started doing his act "to annoy people". He even took the break because "he was becoming too popular".

Ted won't be happy that the audience was swelled by Ted's appearance the previous night on the Culture Show - who would have guessed it?

He joined The Nightingales for the final encore - Ted's almost chart hit - Rocking With Rita.

The warm-up act - The Violet Violets, an all-girl punk band were not bad too. The Violets are Lloyd's latest discovery and bear more than a passing resemblance to his most popular discovery - Fuzzbox. All in all a great night's entertainment.


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