Erin Hussey ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, four-piece ensemble Nap Eyes brought their crooked indie rock to Great Scott in Allston for a mellow Monday night performance. Here, the guys kicked off their month-long tour in support of their recently released album Thought Rock Fish Scale with zeal.
A somewhat informal venue, the Great Scott is known for its indie-underground live music scene. The green awning and wooden doors of Great Scott make it look like a classic city bar from the outside, and as people gathered for the show to start, a few wandered in expecting a simple beer before quickly realizing they were in the wrong place. With an hour and a half before the set, a crowd of mostly flannel-laden mid-twenty to thirty somethings mingled to the sounds of Sonic Youth and Pixies and chatted about “avant-garde folk metal.” Around 10:30pm, the three members of Nap Eyes poked out of the crowd and unassumingly gathered on the Great Scott’s intimate stage as folks migrated toward them. This caught a few off guard — the drummer Seamus had just been sitting at the bar. This casual approach really spoke to the laid back nature of both the band and the venue.
Nap Eyes began their set with a cold open into the pensive, subtly existentialist tune “Mixer.” Front man Nigel Chapman’s gravelly voice drawled, “a mixer on a Friday night, some pretty girls and guys are here, but when I look at myself on my right, I’m wonderin’ if I’m really here,” as Josh Salter kept the beat steady with his groovy bassline. Before the rolling into the next song, aptly titled “Roll It,” Chapman quietly introduced the band — “We’re Nap Eyes from Canada, thanks for coming.” The crowd didn’t sing along too much — not because they didn’t know the lyrics, but almost out of respect, not wishing to distract from the creative process that was occurring on stage. Earnest and wistful, to see a Nap Eyes performance is as if you’re peering in on a late-night basement jam session. Combined with Chapman’s introspective and wistful lyricism, and how the guys vibed off each other, it was obvious they played for themselves, not for praise or to put on a “performance”.
The crowd livened up as they shelled out favorites of from their first album Whine of The Mystic such as “Stargazer” and “Tribal Thoughts,” and new jams like “Click Clack.” Nap Eyes maintained a raw vibe through extended plays and impromptu guitar solos from Brad Loughead, easily the standout member of the evening as he plucked away. After keeping it low-key stage left, Loughead emerged from his corner with “No Fear of Hellfire”. He took the last three minutes of the song to wail on the guitar, all eyes on him. This eight-minute vamping classic descended the set as Chapman chorused, “no fear of hellfire makes me feel good.” Unexpected twists and turns are characteristic of the group, who recorded their most recent album with no overdubs, often presenting songs that feel like three rolled into one.
After they finished, Chapman and drummer Seamus Dalton were friendly and ready to chat. When asked about their touring history, they mentioned this was their second time in Boston, as well as the states. It took them a moment to recollect their history, as they’ve been a band since 2011 but were performing together in separate bands before that. Overall, Nap Eyes is just a really nice group of Canadian guys who make guitar laden indie pop with tangy tendencies, just barely verging on folk rock as they combine lazy yet punchy melodies. Catch Nap Eyes on Facebook here.