The first NightPorter song I’ve ever heard was a Pixies cover.
I said to myself “oh, it’s an alternative band”.
The next song was “Riders On The Storm”, so this confused me a little…so I started searching on the internet in order to find what this band is all about…
It was on a dark cold Belfast in February 2009 that NightPorter first emerged as an idea, the original idea was a band that release tracks, videos and live streamed web performances and using all aspects of modern technology to get their message of post punk fundamentalism out to the world.
Back in their native Newcastle upon Tyne, they set about putting their plan into action. In keeping with their Post Punk DIY ethic, all material would be written, played and produced in house. From the very early stages, the band wanted total control over everything they wrote and performed. This extended to artwork, graphics and video; this meant very few compromises had to be made with their sound.
April 2009 saw NP’s first demo release,”Victoria“. The accompanying video, a haunting sepia stained homage to the era of German expressionism quickly gathered a cult following on YouTube and the band’s fan base began a rapid expansion across the world.
This led to the inclusion of a rough demo being hurriedly included on a NightBreed compilation and a bootleg video of the track appearing on YouTube. A few weeks later, an unreleased cover of the Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” would also find its way onto YouTube, the unique reworking proved a favourite with viewers and fans although the band themselves had never intended for it to heard.
With interest growing in NP live performances, the original idea of the band mutated and the monster lurched out of the studio and onto the stage. The initial live line up comprised Il Dottore on Bass, Raven on Vox and Dr Ordinaire on keyboards and new recruits, Zee on guitar. Early gigs were played with a rhythm track providing the drums but this proved too limited for the band and the search was on for a drummer.
Ade, a superb sticks man and long time partner in crime of Il Dottore stood up to the plate but due to touring and recording commitments had to step down after several blistering live shows throughout summer 2010. With an important show at the 2010 Batcave reunion looming, the band had to find a new drummer and fast The Preacher was quickly drafted in to fill Ade’s place and NightPorter were London bound for two gigs in a row.
The Friday night date at the Gaff in north London was played as a warm up for the following Evening’s Batcave reunion playing alongside seminal Goth Glam band The Specimen and Gene Loves Jezebel. The band played a blinding set and won themselves a new audience in the process. A psyched out cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” circulated on YouTube for a while, its heavy psychedelic redux impressed even hardened Floyd heads.
Returning to Newcastle saw further line up changes. Dr Ordinaire had already stepped into the background to concentrate on Video, art work and writing whilst The Preacher would also depart after several gigs with band. With a clutch of gigs under their belt, it was time for the band to go back and do what they originally set out to do and get the debut album, wrote, recorded and released.
This was an intense time for as well as working under the NightPorter banner, they also recorded under the production team name, The Laboratory Obscure producing several covers and original tracks. This side project became known as The Maldine Square Tapes which included “The Box” and “The Black Lodge” as well as covers of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” and the Open Mind’s “Magic Potion”
So its 2011 and NightPorter finally have a stable line up with the addition of Joe on drums, he has a natural flair and style that is totally in keeping with the band’s sound. They interrupt their recording with a handful of local gigs and a side project or two but then its back on track, The band release a reworked version of an earlier favourite, “The Sickness” 2011, it’s the first taste of what the new album will sound like, a brutal video accompanies the track and somehow its now more relevant after a series of riots and protests have swept the country.
By now, NP was getting a lot of international attention with interviews appearing in several magazines and Radio shows. As they prepare for the launch of their long awaited debut album, “Alarming But Charming” and on the 20th of August, they made their triumphant return to Slimelight in London for the launch party. The live set goes down a storm with the crowd and the album is officially launched in style.
The following Monday sees the album released to excellent reviews, written, produced and paid for by the band, it’s a throwback to the old days of Punk and the beginning of the Independent era. Comprising of 10 original compositions, the album is a riot of social commentary and observation over a collage of melodic power and intricate rhythms. Many reviews (click here to read the Tribe4mian review) make note of the originality of the sound and the diversity of songs on the album, this reflects the wide and varied influences that NP have soaked up.
To summarise, NightPorter are a high octane mix of melody and raw power. They combine the best elements of Alternative Rock, Psychedelia and heavy Post Punk to create a blistering wall of sound of their own. Think Killing Joke going toe to toe with The Doors while Joy Division sticks the boot in and you have the NightPorter sound. It’s the dark end of the street, part melody, part menace but very infectious.
You can buy “Alarming but Charming” here.