Music note: Nightinghales and Black Audience rock for Nader

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Minneapolis’s 7th Street Entry hosted an Independence Party Get Out the Vote show on Thursday, October 16, plastering the club’s walls with Nader/Gonzales paraphernalia (which curiously included “Let Nader debate” signs, even though the presidential debates are all finished). While the Entry was nearly empty, and the evening’s politicizing a little heavy-handed, the fact is that there was some great music played.

Local band Nightinghales (sic) were perhaps the most engaging band of the evening. The group is made up of former members of Twin Cities stalwarts Faux Jean and Idle Hands, and they play stripped down guitar- and piano-driven rock. While some bands find Rock ‘N’ Roll after taking the most circuitous route possible, Nightinghales take a straight path from A to B Minor, pausing Thursday only to ward off a tottering drunkard who stood in front of the stage shouting “Jimi Hendrix!”

The band started off the evening with Ben Sommers-Bachman singing lead and sounding quite a bit like Spoon’s Britt Daniel (though he dresses like Ray Davies), but by the end of the night he and Steve Bakken had traded places at the keyboards and the evening had taken a decided turn towards classic rock. This was mostly due to Michael Paul Lopez’s skilled guitar jamming, with licks that would sound right at home on a Led Zeppelin record. The most interesting song of the evening was “Sunken Ship of Friends,” which featured some crafty piano tinkling as well as a great mid-song time signature shift.

Local up-and-coming band Black Audience also played, getting into it after a lengthy polemic on the current state of politics from guitarist Robin Kyle (one of the more entertaining parts of the evening since the aforementioned drunk kept interrupting to scream for “rock and roll!”). The band features one of the most talented voices in the Twin Cities in Jayanthi Kyle, their only vocalist. On Thursday she did a number of old blues and gospel covers—though the room was largely empty of audience members, it was filled with soul. There were some initial sound problems with John Davis’s bass, but the band quickly got in sync, with banjo, bodhran, and guitar coming together.

When they are on top of their game, Black Audience really show why last year they were featured as one of Radio K’s “best new bands.” Unfortunately they seem to have struggled to find a wide audience lately, and the scarcely-attended show was a testament to this. The show’s political theme may be at fault, though, as it is not exactly a popular one in our current climate. That said, it is a shame if people let their political affiliations keep them from enjoying this great music.

Jon Behm is a Minneapolis-based photographer and writer. While his specialty is music, Jon has a wide variety of interests that tend to take him all over the Twin Cities on a daily basis.