Gig review: The Nankeens @ Night & Day Café

A seismic performance by The Nankeens this weekend might ensure that noise complaints will keep on coming for the Night & Day Café.

The evening was aptly-named ‘Meet: The Nankeens’. For those who didn’t yet know The Nankeens, their introduction was to be a poignant example of their growing status within the Manchester music scene.

As a marker of their achievements, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Adam Darby, donned a shirt supplied by his own personal sponsor, Owkay Clothing.

The Nankeens cite The Stone Roses and Queens of the Stone Age as their rock influences but that doesn’t fully convey what makes them eclectically special. They have a certain polish to their performance and their gigs ebb and flow with inventive variation.

Three Epiphone guitars lead the band’s melodies, wailing, humming and grunting in harmony.

The rising indie rockers recently recorded their Blisters EP at The Motor Museum Studio in Liverpool. For fans of the band, Saturday evening at the Night & Day Café was a highly-anticipated chance to hear the talented Salfordians’ new material.

The songs on Saturday’s set list were divided into three categories: softer songs, heavier pieces and downright iconic tracks that tend to combine both elements.

Breaking Bad is an example of one of The Nankeens’ iconic tracks. The song, inspired by the hit TV show of the same name, lives up to the hype its title inevitably creates.  Darby’s finger-picked melody reverberated tentatively underneath a lead guitar harmony. The two patterns wove seamlessly into a musical tapestry before building to a crescendo where a solo is sewn raggedly into the piece. Experienced live, the song truly is a masterpiece.

Equally, Whispers Down The Phone is an event in itself from a spectator’s point of view.

With shades of The xx in the opening riff, Whispers begins promisingly and delivers by erupting into a chorus that strikes and rings in the ears of the listener but the bends on lead guitar are the true highlight of the track.

Their single Scenester, released on Scruff of the Neck Records last September, is slightly rougher around the edges. Though on the evening this proved a welcome change, The Nankeens have a knack of arranging a set that rides and crashes devastatingly well. Scenester sounds fashionably dark, distorted and edgy, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a Tarantino movie.

In this sense, songs such as Scenester and Shunt from the Blisters EP provide the dirt under the band’s fingernails, the gritty undertones you’d expect from an urban indie rock band.

The Nankeens ironically played the night out with slow burner I’m Not Playing.

A chilled-out Bombay Bicycle Club-esque riff rides the verses and becomes increasingly distorted and warped, giving an otherwise pleasant song a darker and more interesting vibe. The vocal hook in I’m Not Playing forms a staple catchy Nankeens chorus that fans bawled at the top of their lungs with delight.

At the end of the evening the crowd were united in a desire for more from The Nankeens.

Perhaps the only criticism of their performance is that they didn’t provide it.

Image courtesy of Ben Hyman, with thanks

Related Articles