Nai Harvest

Nai Harvest


There’s a young crowd here bright and early for WEDDING, but their overly enthusiastic dancing seems chemical fuelled, almost sarcastic. It’s not a great start. The band are definitely fans of the Ronettes, but even if ‘Be My Baby’ is the best song ever written, it’s OK to write a different song. When the most interesting thing about your band is that you have two left handed guitarists, maybe it’s time to try something else. One of the kids down the front decides he’s going to head up to the Deaf Institute’s balcony between bands to yell down to his friends and threaten the DJ’s laptop with the beer bottle hanging loosely from his limp grip. Is it still half term?

Abattoir Blues may not owe an awful lot to the Nick Cave album of the same name judging by the gothy noise rock of their opener. This is dense, heavy stuff, their guitars thick and foggy, their frontman wild-eyed. They seem to take a couple of songs to relax into it but when they do they’re excellent. As the set goes on the songs get leaner, tighter and somehow catchier. That’s not to say these are pop songs but compared to the suffocating first half of the set but the DC hardcore-influenced second half is even more exhilarating, each song better than the last. Abattoir Blues are brilliant.

As we head to the bar downstairs in between bands, the kid who was kicking up a fuss earlier is trying to convince the bouncers to let him back in the venue. Turns out pissing on the balcony is frowned upon, who knew. It’s his loss, as Nai Harvest are on good form, their tight, breezy power pop sending the half-full Deaf Institute into a bit of a frenzy. An early outing for the stop-start ‘All The Time’ with its lurches from one time signature to the next sees a small mosh pit break out down the front, setting the security on edge. With the introduction of new single ‘Just Like You’, the security guard starts dragging people out as pints rain down. Two girls at the front are holding hands so they don’t fall over.

Things slow down for ‘Oceans Of Madness’ but that doesn’t stop someone from deciding he wants to join the band onstage, which pisses off guitarist Ben Thompson off no end, changing the lyrics to something about wanting “that fucking idiot” to be thrown out. He asks after if everyone is really drunk, because it seems like it. His answer comes in the form of cries of “bank holiday Tuesday!” and they launch into ‘Melanie’ with grins. It seems the security guard has let the power go to his head though and he starts wading into the middle of the room to have a word with anyone hugging their friend too enthusiastically. Thompson asks from the stage whether everyone’s having a good time, which seems at first to be generic, innocuous stage banter until he then asks the bouncer to let everyone have a good time. He goes on to say the room is far too big for them, that they’ve played in rooms a quarter of the size to twice as many people. Before things start threatening to get too much of an indie rock version of a Vietnam War veteran “you weren’t there, man” speech, they play the other half of their new double A-side single, ‘Jelly’. Although no-one knows it yet, the cardboard-box drums and singalong riffs make it a highlight of the set.

Having dispatched the over-enthusiastic bouncer to have a little sulk outside, they give us a breather with the relatively slow ‘Drinking Bleach’, all Cap’n Jazz easy-going swaying, before the night is brought to a close with a traditionally riotous ‘Hairball’. The closer of the album of the same name is elongated from the repetitious yelling of the lyric ‘”I’ve got a hairball in my throat/It won’t come loose I’m gonna choke” into extended atonal jam sessions and rolling around on the floor of the stage, legs in the air. Thompson’s climbing onto his bandmate Lew Currie’s bass drum now, thrusting his guitar rhythmically into his drummer’s face before throwing himself around on the floor again with abandon. It’s a suitably chaotic ending to the night.

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).