“So catchy. Pure Rock & Roll.” (1)
– Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1.
“Sometimes strangers give the best advice,” ‘George Best City.’
They say that if you want something done right you should do it yourself and that evergreen philosophical proverb is engrained in the very DNA of critically acclaimed rock trio Unquiet Nights. One of the last of the independents (to purloin a line from the Gaslight Anthem), the industrious band of seasoned tunesmiths have forged a formidable reputation over the last decade all on their own terms, while growing a loyal, continents-spanning fan-base thanks to an exhilarating back catalogue, an unwavering self belief and an eagerness to embrace some good old fashioned elbow grease.
Formed by Northern Irish songwriter Luke Mathers, the first seeds for Unquiet Nights were sewn after seeing the Rolling Stones’ seminal ‘Bridges To Babylon’ DVD, as he explains.
“When I was really young (about 4) I was obsessed with Roy Orbison’s ‘Black & White Night’ concert film. My grandmother had it taped and would put it on to get me to be quiet and behave, so in a way I always knew I wanted to do this. When I was 15 though, I bought The Rolling Stones’ ‘Bridges to Babylon’ DVD and when I saw Keith Richards come out on stage with a fur coat on his shoulders and play the ‘...Satisfaction’ riff, I began posting ads to form a band immediately.”
Starting out with a hardrive of music and a head full of ideas, Luke has seen the NI and Italy-based Unquiet Nights (who are completed by Francesco Piciucchi on keys/bass and Rodger Firmin on drums) continue to grow beyond his wildest dreams as the years progress. Armed with the surging statement of intent that was 2011’s debut album ‘21st Century Redemption Songs’ and 2015’s passionate, personal and, at times, political follow up ‘Postcards In Real Time,’ (plus a trio of stand alone singles-‘Promise Of You,’ ‘Young Believers’ and the recently released ‘Four Winds’) the group have amassed a wealth of bucket-list moments including notching up a quarter of a million streams for their track ‘George Best City’ on Spotify, supporting Bloc Party and performing on the roof of the world famous Europa Hotel in Northern Ireland’s capital for a video shoot.
“Being invited live on Sky Sports 1 in Milan to talk about ‘George Best City,’ was another special moment,” recalls Luke. “Sky had used the song in a documentary they broadcast 150 times. On the way home our car broke down in a place called Forli and we ended up staying in a hotel which was showing the repeat broadcast of our appearance, so that made us realise it was a pretty big thing that had happened. Then next week when Gianluca Vialli was the guest in my seat I realised it had been a pretty big privilege!
“Other big privileges are the times when we’ve turned up somewhere that they don’t speak English and done the gig thinking no one knows us and then after the set we’ve ended up meeting someone who traveled far. That has happened at most shows we’ve done and it’s always staggering. That’s my favourite part of it all.”
Drawing from the well of the masters (such as Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac) and peppering the pot with their own flavours and ideas to create a new chapter to rock ‘n’ roll’s continuing tale, Unquiet Nights’ songs tell stories of real lives, real people and real struggles and in this era of (un)reality TV that is something we need now more than ever.
- Words by Edwin McFee (Hot Press, NME)
“Chugs and roars along at a fair old pace, with aequal amounts of attitude and swagger.”
– Pete Donaldson, Absolute Radio.
“Music of the highest, cloud-reaching calibre. Actually quite beautiful.”
– Aaron Phillips, Amazing Radio.
“A great rock track. Moody, but not one that revels in it – there’s a sense of urgency in there. Bit of a journey, all told.”
– Pete Donaldson, Absolute Radio.
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