Nightlands bring magic harmonies to Kung Fu Necktie (review, setlist, photos)

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Standing front and center for Nightlands’ performance Saturday night at Kung Fu Necktie felt like standing in the entranceway of a grand cathedral, a choir’s golden melodies wafting through the air. It was a transportive, although not unexpected experience—when I spoke to front man/creator Dave Hartley about Nightlands’ live show a few weeks back, he told me he would focus mostly on the vocals. “I want to get some people who sing really well, and we’ll just sing together,” he said.

Said “people who sing well” were of Eliza Jones (of Buried Beds) and Jesse Moore (of Auctioneer/Ladies Auxiliary), who together with Hartley added heart and corporeality to songs which on record, twinkle with space-age mystery—while drummer Michael Johnson’s (Ape School) beats added velocity and momentum. The band’s 45-minute set drew from both new record Oak Island and earlier releases, and included covers of Fleetwood Mac’s “That’s All for Everyone” (Jones singing perfect counterpart) and Albert Hammond’s “99 Miles from LA. ”

Opener “Time and Place,” which also opens Oak Island, was a welcoming swarm of warm harmonies and Hartley’s taped-up guitar picking, easing in to a rolling road beat—while closer “300 Clouds,” off 2010’s Forget the Mantra, was equally alluring, with harmonies that grew and contracted like a bloom. But it was new single “So Far So Long” that proved a personal fave, the wiggly beat and drawn- out vocals luring the crowd into a hazy slow groove. If this is Nightlands, let us never leave.

Setlist
Time and Place
So It Goes
Slowtrain
Other People’s Pockets
That’s All for Everyone (Fleetwood Mac cover)
All the Way
So Far So Long
Born to Love
99 Miles from LA (Albert Hammond cover)
300 Clouds

 

The early part of the night saw offerings from Ape School’s Scott Churchman (joined by other members of Ape School) and Sun Airway’s Jon Barthmus. Both sets proved visceral and moody, as Churchman wove haunted melodies (incorporating the rare musical saw)—and Barthmus contributed live guitar and vocals to Sun Airway faves, the solo setting allowing for spontaneous, off-the-cuff delivery. A welcome treat indeed!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ronozer Ron Ozer

    Thanks for reviewing this, a group of us from Delaware headed up for this and were not disappointed. We have booked Nightlands to open for School of Seven Bells in Arden at the amazing Gild Hall this coming Saturday.