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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Nightmarchers/Dan Sartain - Captains Rest (Glasgow)

Not a new review, but just something I found on my hard drive and I don't want to lose it.

A couple of nights ago KelC and myself went to see the Nightmarchers supported by Dan Sartain in a small club/pub in Glasgow.
The NightMarchers for those who are unaware are John ‘Speedo’ Reis’ latest offering.
His previous bands have been in no particular order Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Drive like Jehu, and The Sultans.
Looking back it seems that all of these bands, and others that he has fronted, have been geared towards expressing different facets of his talents with the common thread simply being his vocals.
Because of this his fan base can be as wide and varied as his oeuvre itself.
It’s common for someone to like one band he has helmed, but dislike another. Although it’s more common that others, like myself, will happily give anything he does a spin on the old turntable and are rarely disappointed with any of the projects he turns his hand to.
However there is a slight difference with this band in comparison to the ones of the past. This time out, instead striking for pastures new, The Nightmarchers come across as a culmination of all that has went before. It’s the best bits of the previous bands used as a template for an all new project and it’s potent stuff.
There is nothing fancy about them.
What they bring to a gig is high octane bar room rock and roll that will blister the paint from the walls and shake the foundations of any club they play.
Before they did though we were treated to the wonderful Mr Dan Sartain.
Standing with his guitar clutched to his chest and singing into a 50’s styled microphone he looks every bit the rock and roller, but he’s quick to smile and is comfortable enough to take some requests from the audience. Some he plays, one he does a snatch of as he forgets the latter verses, others he says he needs a band for.
It’s all intimately enjoyable.
His voice is crystal clear and he plays a melting pot of styles. It’s the blues, it’s country, it’s rock roll, it has its finger in every flavour of pie you could imagine and the whole time it is still punk rock in attitude.
Midway through his set he is joined by Jason Kourkounis the drummer of the Nightmarchers and then for the next song John Reis fills in on bass. It becomes apparent that the Nightmarchers aren’t going to have a gap between Dans set and their own when bassist Tommy Kitsos joins them onstage and John Reis picks up his guitar.
Sure enough it’s a seamless change when Gar Wood then joins them and what we are now seeing is The Nightmarchers with Dan Sartain accompanying them rather than the other way around.
Everything gets louder, faster, dirtier and sweatier.
It’s a very mixed crowd and there is a bit of swaying about, but this sort of music is designed to elicit more than is given that night. It’s too primal for swaying. I’m uncomfortable and want to let loose, but instead I hold myself like a coiled spring hoping that someone in the crowd will let go first and then I can throw caution to the wind and join them.
Unfortunately the touch paper is never lit and I’m too self conscious to do it myself.
The band appear oblivious though and continue to push themselves ever harder.
Reis himself is a born performer. He grimaces like popeye, slashes his guitar through the air and leads the band upwards and onwards every step of the way.
In an era that rewards lip synching mediocrity spawned from reality talent shows this is the polar opposite. The rawness is tangible. This is what live music is about. I don’t want to go and see a band that I can damn with faint praise. I want a band to excite me, to send shivers down my spine and to make me feel like I’m sixteen again. I want to come away from a show struggling to express my admiration, and this is what The Nightmarchers provided me with that night.
Check them out here and Dan Sartain here

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