Thursday night saw The Night Café bring their headline tour to Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, one of our city’s finest intimate venues. With their intelligent lyrics and catchy riffs, barely three months after their EP ‘Bunkbed’ was released, this was a gig I’d been looking forward to for a long time.
Supporting were Hartlepool group Plaza and Brighton band Chappaqua Wrestling – both were excellent choices, with Plaza’s moody dark beats and Chappaqua Wrestling’s old-school Kooks vibes with a hint of Noel Gallagher from the lead singer complementing each other well. A standout for me was Chappaqua Wrestling’s latest single ‘Plant Trees’.
By the time The Night Café arrived onstage the buzz of anticipation from the mainly student-based audience was through the roof. They launched into their set with a new tune from the ‘Bunkbed’ EP ‘Forget It All’, a short mellow guitar-lead track that I wasn’t expecting to hear first, but was very glad they performed. The audience clearly weren’t casual listeners and had done their homework – every new song The Night Café played was sang along to with almost as much enthusiasm as their older, more well-known repertoire.
Next up was the classic ‘The Way of Mary’. One of my personal favourites, from the moment the opening notes rang out the whole crowd went wild, creating circle pit after circle pit until even the bystanders on the sides were sucked in. This was followed up by another well-loved song ‘Strange Clothes’, which was met with raucous cheers and applause.
Their newer music wasn’t forgotten, however – fan favourite ‘Felicity’ was excellent, and particular emphasis was placed on ‘Get Ready’, which will be on The Night Café’s debut album, due to be released next year.
Slowing it down to perfection, ‘Addicted’ was a sensation, with thecrowd loving every second of shout-singing along to the lovelorn lyrics; it was a truly special moment when the backing ceased completely, and it was just the crowd and the band singing the lyrics to each other.
Everything was building up to one moment, though – ‘Mixed Signals’. The band tried to throw the crowd off-guard by launching into the intro of the AC/DC classic ‘Back in Black’ instead of ‘Mixed Signals’, which gathered bursts of laughter amid total confusion from the crowd. “If anyone falls over, make sure you pick ‘em back up” requested frontman Sean Martin – and the cheering crowd were happy to oblige as the opening chords were played.
Chants of “one more song” brought the band back onstage, where we were treated to two more songs, rounding off their set on a high with the fan favourite ‘You Change With The Seasons’. The audience were left with our arms round each other, cheering and clapping, the melancholy refrain still on our lips: “I won’t change with the seasons, I’m just moving, moving on”.
One thing is certain: this is not the last Nottingham will see of this tight-knit indie group. I had high expectations and The Night Café exceeded them – now to see if they’ll do the same with their debut album.
Photo Credits: Chappaqua Wrestling- Nathan Cutler, The Night Cafe- source unknown
Video: From The Night Cafe’s official YouTube Channel