Rob Jones

On their debut at The Moon Club, Cardiff a pre-gig meet with Robert and Fliss of The Nightingales found the duo to be in good spirits and looking forward to the set ahead. ‘Gales guru Robert Lloyd formed this combo in 1979 and in the subsequent years he has seen a lot of personnel come and go. The vocalist recalled a tale of how a performance is either a case of ‘show off’ or ‘shove off’-and, he most certainly falls in to the former category! Meanwhile, Fliss Kitson is welcoming and friendly-but, she is getting focussed as an hour of mental and physical momentum is about to follow.

The Nightingales always give a minimum of 110% and that dosage can be doubled because the collective foot of this four-piece does not come off the pedal. A melting-pot of non-stop, no-nonsense gusto is unleashed. The Nightingales do not pander to the archives and even though there is a nod to their nascent years there is no indication that wallowing in nostalgia is the answer.
Every time this band plays there are variables within the presentation-but, the one consistent is that there is not one break in the proceedings-and when the first song conclusion arrives an eventful evening ends. Every tune is linked and the whole affair is seamless. It is an amazing accomplishment as the tempos change-and, the band cracks on with stamina and standards that leave the competition roaming around the pop paddock without a clue what to do!

Fliss Kitson attacks her drum kit with passion and precision while also chipping in with her visceral vocals (after the gig she took a comparison to Animal from The Muppets as a compliment! Nice one!). To the right, the mighty Andreas Schmid offers buoyant bass and to the left, newest addition James Smith fires out gargantuan guitar grooves that chop and change as the proceedings go through the rhythm rinser.

Centre stage, the towering presence of Lloyd stumbles around the stage as if he was competing at the clumsy Olympics. However, Lloyd knows what he is doing even though his large glass of Jack Daniels gradually disappears. The vocalist throws a number of unusual shapes and even breaks in to an ungainly bout of shadow boxing-but, his presence never flinches from anything other than the entertaining. His lexicon of lyrics make for a speedy and spirited delivery that is simply unparalleled.

There is certainly no room for error on a tight stage-and, every part of the jigsaw fits in to place occupying its own territory with precision!

A new EP is in the pipeline and fresh tunes such as: B Side at Best; Missionary; Too posh to Push; Fliss; Booze, Broads and Beauty; plus, In point the way to a healthy recording future. Oh! How this fare warrants a wider audience but there you go it is the Britain’s got Talons and Y-Bother Factor crowd that reap the remunerative rewards!

There are no gaps between the numbers as the ammunition barrel fires out a mix of tunes from the last trio of long players that are: Mind over Matter, For F***’s Sake and No Love Lost. That means a mix of tasty tunes including: Dumb And Drummer; Thick And Thin; Taffy Come Home; Bullet For Gove; Diary Of A Bag Of Nerves; Real Gone Daddy, Bit Of Rough; Toasted On Both; For Goodness Sake; I Itch; But; The man that time Forgot; and, Dick the Do-Gooder. To add to which: Watch your Posture takes us back several albums and the demonic drive of Paraffin Brain is the only journey back in to the distant past.

This rocking rollercoaster does not relinquish its reverberations and then after an aural assault like no other the fans mop their brows and take stock of another memorable night in the court of The Nightingales. Since 2009 a variety of Lloyd led incarnations have played several dates in the principality. It has been said before and once again it is crystal clear that….The ‘Gales in Wales never fails!