The second installment of The Nankeens own night, The Playlist, pitched up at the Ruby Lounge on a particular cold and wet Friday evening in Manchester. With January widely accepted as the dreariest month of the year what better excuse to blow it out of the water than a good old fashioned rock and roll show!
The Salford 5-piece are coming off the back of a successful 2013 which saw the release of the Autonomy EP, a whole host of well received gigs and the highlight being a sold-out show at Manchester Deaf Institute for the Scenester single launch. Looking to kick on in 2014 the band played their first gig of the new year to road-test a few new tunes, play some old favourites and continue the momentum.
Opening up with the first of three new tracks the band looked at easy straight away, testing out new tunes is a risky business but a vital tool to gauge how new material will be received by a live audience and judging by the crowd reaction Waiting certainly makes the grade. The familiar post-punk bass of Reaper followed, it’s garage-rock feel and rousing finale a firm live favourite. This was quickly followed by the second new song of the night, Rules, this has the makings of a great track, a song structure that takes you on a journey, rising and falling with drops in all the right places. It’s got an epic and dramatic feel to it that’s works really well, the future is sounding good!
Continuing the theme of old and new, Shunt was up next, a track that has been around a while and is noticeable by it heavier sound and on the night the drumming of Simon Darby particular stood out. Having seen The Nankeens on several occasion Whispers Down The Phone is a particular favourite of mine and it again proved a popular choice with most people in the room seeming knowing the words. The third of the new tracks was up next and is the best of the bunch, it currently has a working title of If I Don’t and has a seriously catchy hook, great melody and a wonderful change of pace in the rhythm – shifting between fast and slow brilliantly. I’d go as far as saying it’s the most accomplished work to date and I’m excited to hear how it evolves.
With the new tracks firmly test driven it was time to close the show out on familiar territory, Breaking Bad provided yet another sing-a-long moment with the song beefed up in the final third thanks to some effects heavy guitar from lead-guitar Adam Tattersall that added an extra dimension, the false ending and break back into the riff was a nice touch that led straight into Scenster. The heaviest of Nankeens track is punchy and to the point, taking aim at bandwagon jumpers and spitting them out in blast of power-cords, before breaking out into a desert-rock meltdown.
Lead singer and guitarist Adam is definitely a more confident front-man, the banter is now free-flowing and he’s comfortable chatting between songs. Final track of the night is traditional set-closer I’m Not Playing, the melodic and euphoric anthem is a perfect way bring the show to a close, the breakdown providing the opportunity to clap along and the rock-out ending an excuse to bounce along.
For me the night was all about the new tracks, in particular the work in progress of If I Don’t. It was great to hear the familiar songs and of course they went down well but the hint at the future is exciting and it will be interesting to see if this will take them up to the next level. The band are currently in the process of recording a new EP which should be released before the Summer along with more gigs, including a step up to the big league of headlining Gorilla in Manchester on the 17th May. This year certainly promises a lot for The Nankeens.
What the band said: “Friday night was a perfect way to start the year off, the new songs all sat in the set perfectly and everyone seemed to really like them. Hopefully we can start to get a few longer headline sets in so we don’t have to keep taking songs out to fit the 30 minute standard set length.” Adam Darby, vocals and guitar.
**All photos courtesy of Trust A Fox Photography @TrustFox
Whispers Down The Phone
If I Don’t (Working Title)
I’m Not Playing