The Nightmares (formerly The Beautiful Nightmares and not to be confused with the South Wales goth rockers with the same name) have spent the last year or so formulating and confirming their line up and sound and now, with the release of their debut single Rudeboy, they seem to have taken a great step further forward and marked the occasion with a show at The Doghouse also featuring The Rock ‘N’ Roll Disasters, Eloise Fabbri and Its Own Animal.
Having seen photos of Its Own Animal, aka Gary Minto, I admit to have expected something fairly run of the mill however, seeing him take to the stage tonight with not just a guitar but drum pad and synth I was intrigued and, as he dived headlong into a set of electronic based, semi-live, self-described house and drum ‘n’ bass inspired tracks, I was more than pleasantly surprised.
With a wholly unpretentious demeanour his music was engrossing for those who wanted to listen, though maybe this wasn’t the best setting for it and, while he seemed concerned the performance was a little rough, I really couldn’t tell and found it captivating with a deep rooted positivity that left me wanting to hear more as he ended the set on a highlight with Pick Up The Pieces dedicated to his sons and the whole next generation of mankind.
Normally fixed in place behind a piano, Eloise Fabbri took a different approach tonight being joined instead by Nick Coleman on acoustic guitar.
Playing the same songs but in this different way gave them a new and fresh energy and brought a different kind of jazzy funk that was no less effective and showed off a different side of Fabbri’s performance focussed on her vocals which switched effortlessly from soulful singing to direct and attitude filled almost rapping.
While she also struggled to connect with those gathered in the main part of the bar (a relatively common issue in this venue) for those who wanted to listen she went down very well.
Made up of (amongst others) members of The Risk and Thee Jenerators (Mark Le Gallez and Garrick Jones), The Sacred Hearts and The Space Pirates Of Rocquaine (Mark Guppy) and The Crowband (Mark ‘Wiggy’ Gillson) this may have been the debut show for The Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster but there was a lot of experience on stage.
With a style that married much of their other musical endeavours into a kind of power-pop-garage-punk-rock ‘n’ roll melting pot they might not have been the tightest band the world has ever seen but they more than made up for it by being terrific fun that, clearly having a good time on stage, was hugely infectious and, as one would expect from a band featuring Le Gallez and Guppy, featured some great new tunes.
There were a few moments where it seemed to teeter on the brink of collapse but never quite overstepped the mark with a highlight came with a song written by Wiggy that Le Gallez described as ‘the best song the Buzzcocks never wrote’ and I couldn’t have agreed more.
As said the last few times I’ve seen The Nightmares they’ve felt like a band still finding their way but a highlight of their performances has always been the track they have made their debut single that they are celebrating tonight, Rudeboy.
Launching into their set with a real fire they combined a mix of punk, indie and grunge subcultures, with hints of mod thrown in for good measure, to make for a set packed with attitude and energy.
Frontman Callum Aitken breaking two strings on his guitar during the first song didn’t seem to slow them down at all and set the scene nicely with Rudeboy then hitting an energetic peak that was maintained for the following hour.
While a few covers went down well and added their own twist to classics like The Jam’s That’s Entertainment and modern favourites like Fontaines DC’s Boys From The Betterlands, it was their own songs that provided the highlights.
Along with the new single was Bombay Bad Boy (emphatically about a Lambretta rather than a pot noodle) but the real highlight of the whole set was the energy and attitude that felt like the somewhat motley but excellently complementary band are (not so quietly) building their own irresistible revolution.
With a cover of The Risk’s Good Times, for which they were joined on stage by Mark Le Gallez and Garrick Jones from the band (along with others) and another run at Rudeboy, this time with both guitars working, the set ended on a high before an encore of Loverman, featuring Eloise Fabbri sharing lead vocals with Callum, showed a real indie crossover sound that I could see going down a storm as the band’s reputation builds.