Ted Chippington

– THE NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER –

I am betting there are not many occasions when the P.A. system at the Night and Day Café has had church organ music piped through it. But tonight this is the case, as Reverend Ted Chippington graces the stage with his presence.

It is almost three decades ago that Ted first started doing stand-up under the guise of Eddie Chippington. He is highly regarded in the comedy world and has inspired many of today’s big names, Stewart Lee and Richard Herring being just two of a long list.

His dead-pan routine makes Jack Dee look like Lee Evans and his anti-comedy gags will have most unwitting onlookers bemused at what they are witnessing and hearing. Even so, there are people here tonight that have travelled to see him from as far afield as Hull and Derby.

In 1990 he packed it all in to take up the career of truck driving, as too many people were finding him funny. Thankfully, in 2006 he slipped on his teddy boy coat again to see if he could confuse another generation of gig goers.

With tonight’s short set, he certainly manages to rework some of his older gags to make them even more ridiculous. He also gives us a couple of his trade mark true stories, only this time delivered in German.

Towards the end he gives us a rendition of Alvin Stardust’s “I Feel Like Buddy Holly” which is barely recognisable apart from the opening line, as all lyrical content is stripped away and filled what can only described to those lucky enough to be familiar with his work, as Ted-isms.

Within minutes of the stage being vacated, our post punk Brummy hosts have taken up their positions and are ready.

The Nightingales (photo Claudio Hills)

Tonight sees only four of the six member line-up that recently toured Germany. For some unknown reason, the two American girls, Christine and Catherine were not allowed entry into the UK and were turned away by the chaps at Heathrow customs at the weekend.

The Nightingales have been critically acclaimed ever since forming in 1979. No other band apart from The Fall had recorded as many sessions for the late John Peel over the years. Mark Riley, for whom they were playing live on his BBC 6 Music radio show before tonight’s show, has always been a fan and describes them as “Legendary”, and I’m not going to argue with that.

As soon as the first sounds emanate from the speakers, you are hit by the intense darkness they have successfully created over the years. Singer Robert Lloyd has vocals that are deep enough to turn your hair grey with fright, but at the same time you are drawn in by his motionless stage presence.

The set provided for us tonight is full of random pickings from their back catalogue. Tracks from earlier albums “What’s Not To Love” and “In The Good Old Country Way” are given an airing. A selection from “Insult to Injury” including, “Crap Lech” and “Little Lambs” are reminders that even with their most recent recordings, they have not lost any of the original ingredients that have made them the un-crowned kings of true rock and roll.

Throughout the set, Lloyd is clearly struggling with back pain and often takes up a posture reminiscent of the nightmare landlord Rigsby from Rising Damp.  Another drawing presence on the stage is drummer Daren Garratt, who’s precision and speed is truly sublime. If you were to have your eyes closed, you would be forgiven for thinking that there are at least three of him playing simultaneously.

After fifteen songs have been completed, the black suited Nightingales are finished for tonight and leave us all in no doubt, that they still have the veracity and talent to continue for years to come.

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Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.