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story + photos / LOGAN BRENDT

Instantly puncturing the atmosphere with the anthemic crescendos of their single “Simple”, England-born rockers Nightmare and the Cat kicked off a night of great music at the El Rey in Los Angeles this past Wednesday. Just starting their national tour with Bastille, frontmen and brothers, Sam and Django Stewart proved not only that they’ve got the chops to stay the course, but that their charisma is boundless. There’s even extra eye candy in Claire Acey who pounded the drums and jammed on the guitar.
Singing to a packed crowd, Django Stewart hypnotized the audience as he belted out clear, seductive vocals, like on the crowd pleasing “Be Your Own God”, while adorned in a frilly shirt a la Suede’s Brett Anderson. Though tonally he might appear to sound a bit like Matt Bellamy or Jeff Buckley at times, he has clearly been schooled in a healthy amount of T. Rex as some of his vocal nuances recall Marc Bolan. This works effectively through NATC’s diverse repertoire in such standouts as the jangly, country tinged “Alvarado”. The guitar melodies were perfectly situated alongside a tasteful shuffling rhythm in a lyrical vignette that refers to one of the seedier thoroughfares of Los Angeles. Halfway into their set, they also played a favorite, “Goodbye So Many Times”, which deploys a laid-back R&B undercurrent.

While the band just released their Simple EP this week, their forthcoming debut album will be released by Capitol early next year, and you can hear producer Eric Valentine’s glossy production subtleties woven throughout. Sure they had plenty of fans in the crowd on Wednesday night, but it’s pretty easy to envision Nightmare and the Cat as chart toppers, playing to thousands in amphitheaters around the world. We also couldn’t help but to make “Simple” our song of the week. Watch and listen below and see why we were singing it the whole way home.


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