Air Cav
Gig Seeker Pro

Air Cav

Band Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Live reviews from tour of The Netherlands, April 09"

Words: Richard James Foster / Damian Leslie


If the band weren’t prepared for the venue, then Incendiary certainly weren’t prepared for Air Cav. Both of their singles have been played regularly in the shed, and it was the strength of those two singles that made us want to bring them over to these shores, but nothing gave any indication of just how powerful this band are. Their sound surrounds you and it made the concrete bunker feel like a pressure tank. Air Cav’s sound is muscular and powerful. Chris Nield’s guitar carves out sharp, short bursts of energy as Mark Jones thumbs out infectious bass lines and drummer Allan Gaskin pounds his skins with hypnotic effect, but Sophie Parkes’ violin lets the light in, giving you something to cling on to as the whirlwind of noise swirls around you. The doom-laden atmosphere may have had something to do with the fact that they were playing in near darkness, but this was rectified slightly when one of the Sub 071 crew grabbed a broom handle and adjusted the one spotlight facing the back wall of the room (the kind you normally find hanging on the walls of a teenager’s bedroom) till it bathed a pale green light on Mark the bass player. It was one of the finest gig moments I’ve ever witnessed.


Air Cav; bloody hell. On this showing, they were something else. If they were good the night before, they were amazing in Vera. To say they stood up to the plate would be an understatement. They took to the stage as if it really fucking meant something. This was important to them and by Christ it felt important to us too. This was one of those gigs that you were simply glad to witness. No fuck ups here, no dodgy wiring, no misplaced footsteps, just a full on assault, every member playing at full power. They were so much more impassioned, so much more alive and so much more up for it than they had been the night before.

You could tell that Chris was getting into it. The sweat was pouring out of him and, on more than one occasion, he started beating the ceiling with his fist, just to release the adrenalin flowing through him. The crowd, which was a fucking ridiculous size by now, fucking loved them. Girls started pushing to the front, just to get a better look, blokes stared longingly at Sophie. There was even a bit of bizarre floor tom worshipping going on too, by a spirited local, which drew a classic Mancunian snarling retort from Mr. Nield: “If you’re gonna hit it, hit it! But don’t fanny about with it!”

And consider this; how many unknown bands get an encore on their first Vera show? At times Air Cav caught that classic Manchester beat and ran with it; the audience felt it and started nodding, then dancing, then whooping and skirling along with the music. This was epic stuff, the cocksure dreaminess of the early Bunnymen, the big, simple stuff the Waterboys could do before they got self-important, the weird, gnomic pop that New Order could summon at will. Their debut single Alliance lifted the roof and I could swear the track nearly morphed into Ceremony at one point, which would have been something else... Frankly I haven’t seen a new British guitar band be so exciting for a good 5 years, and if you haven’t seen Air Cav yet, I urge you to do so, because you are missing out, big style.

Read full feature from which these reviews were taken on Incendiary Magazine site, via - Incendiary Magazine

"Embers single review"

Next year should be the one that Air Cav step away from their role as one of the Manchester scene’s finest stalwarts and spread their wings further afield; this double A-side provides a rather fine gateway for the members of the Chorlton four piece to peer confidently through onto the surrounding world. ‘Embers’ and ‘Picking At The Bones’ are the results of a band content to do things their own way without rushing out wanting and ill-prepared for their fifteen minutes of fame; no, this is a band who are building from the foundations up and if this sometimes causes the more impatient of us to yearn for more widespread touring and more readily available releases then so be it; in the long haul it’s surely going to be worth it.

Like previous double a-side ‘Alliance/Branches’, the latest offering from Air Cav is another infectious, sparkling, atmospheric twin attack on the senses. ‘Embers’ is a resolute, relentless beast of a song; that aching that you can feel on your face is a smile by the way. The folk-shoegazers don’t deal in the murky depths of despair, instead relying on simple but constant guitars and straining, heartfelt vocals that far from getting lost amidst the tumult of noise surrounding them, join forces to provide a solid unit of noise that pushes your serotonin levels up and up.

‘Picking At The Bones’ burbles and grows out of a vast expanse before taking a slightly greater contrast than its brother with a sudden roaring chorus that bursts out of a contrastingly held back verse. The rest of the song flies gorgeously on, the sound of Air Cav using a big butterfly net to try and catch the swathes of noise that they’ve let out of their bag; which they do except for the violin that flutters and darts about in the air tantalisingly out of reach with the low-end booming percussion and frantic guitars.

All of which makes the band’s second release on Surbia Records one of the singles of the year; limited to 500 copies there’s a chance you won’t be able to get your hands on a version of this but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bust a gut trying; alternatively you could just hold tight for a few more months because Air Cav are a band who are about to take off into the stratosphere.

- Simon Catling - Audioscribbler

"Live Review, Manchester Roadhouse, "Alliance" single launch"

The alternative music scene in Manchester often gives the impression of being a bit of a proverbial sleeping giant. Whilst in recent years music from Sheffield and Leeds has been making headlines, Manchester has been allowed to drift into the background- always acknowledged as being there, but never really focused on. With one or two exceptions, Nine Black Alps spring to mind, many of their bands seem in a similar mindset. Polytechnic and The Nightjars play at the same venue as tonight’s gig on Thursday; both were big tips for a breakthrough as far back as 2005 and both seemingly have made little headway. Yet, as goes the question with all sleeping giants, are they really struggling to breakthrough or are they merely biding their time? This is a question that goes through my mind upon watching another Mancunian band, Air Cav, who are celebrating their first record deal tonight.

The four-piece have been making waves around this city for around two years now, without anyone outside the North West really taking much notice. However, tonight proves they clearly know what they’re doing; you can tell it from the fact that the Roadhouse is over three quarters full, and you can tell it from the fact that Air Cav’s set tonight is tight, concise and most importantly loaded with great songs. Anticipation in the crowd is high so that even fellow up and coming act Lead Balloons are offered only the most cursory of applause during their solid support slot. Air Cav stumble onto the stage, clearly having been celebrating hard throughout the support, and almost shyly launch into set opener A Call To Arms; and in those opening few guitar lines the band instantly change from reluctant, withdrawn individuals into a confident, collective, dominant force. A Call To Arms has been knocking about since they began but it is testament to its enduring nature that the band still use it to open their set; its cacophony of guitar and violin hints at a sense of melancholy underneath the soaring spirit of the song, which is driven with simple yet effective drumming. Branches, taken from their recent single, follows next with a definite nod towards the Arcade Fire in it’s wailing, full frontal introduction before settling into something fluent and hazy thanks to Sophie Parkes violin.

What makes Air Cav such a joy to watch is the enjoyment they have of being on stage; how it transforms them and radiates out to those watching them. When future single Embers malfunctions, the band merely laugh and happily advertise their current releases, before striking back up again. Meanwhile, telling glances throughout the set show that, yes they’re performing exactly how they want to and yes, they really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Where they really excel however is in providing what seems initially like a wall of sound, before allowing themselves to carefully pick out and remove bricks from within the wall; this gives them a range as poised and beautiful as it is powerful and full on.

Perhaps the best example of this comes in the form of current single Alliance, which jumps and bounces along with a frantic energy before being let out of its shackles and allowed to drift and meander around the venue, before being dragged back and fitted together again for a rousing finish. Furthermore, they do so in such a way as to fit all of their ideas and sprawling expanses into less than five minutes at a time, giving each of their songs a very anthemic feel. This is surely due to two years of hard toil around their native Manchester instead of swapping the practise room for lengthy tours in toilet-venues. The only sad thing is that a curfew puts a 45 minute restriction on a set which many would loved to have gone on much longer, and as final anthem So Others May Live there’s a genuine disappointment that the night has to come to an end.

So tonight is certainly evidence that Manchester is still alive and well and doing just fine thank you very much. The aforementioned Polytechnic and The Nightjars both released excellent albums last year, as did Nine Black Alps. This year the likes of Fear Of Music, The Ting Tings and Twisted Wheel are all expected to release debut offerings; and of course there are the dubious talents of The Courteneers. However, on tonight’s performance Air Cav may just be the best of the bunch, and one hopes that they can build on the strong fan base they now have in their hometown and start to reach out nationwide.

- JaRock

"Have Faith In Air Cav"

by David Sue

FOR a band whose name is an abbreviation of 'air cavalry' and who cite the Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now as one of their biggest influences, Manchester quartet Air Cav are a surprisingly peace-loving bunch. For all the associations of their name, they are definitely lovers, not fighters. "At our gigs, we make love to the audience - in a musical sense," smiles the band's singer-guitarist Chris Nield, with only the slightest hint of irony. "We want to connect directly with the audience, make them feel part of the experience. So many Manchester bands get on a stage and hide behind their swagger and attitude. There's not enough honesty or purity in Manchester bands. We're all about preaching love." Dress the four members of Air Cav in hats and robes and they would make great rock 'n' roll evangelists, preaching sentiments of peace, love and honesty.

Luckily for them, there seems to be no shortage of worshippers at the Air Cav musical church. In the two years since they first started gigging, Air Cav have grown from quiet, unassuming Manc music outsiders into something much grander. For a growing army of disciples - who the band describe as 'fans who are outsiders, rebels, people who want more honesty in their music' - Air Cav aren't a band as such; they're becoming more like a faith. The band's live shows would certainly testify to such claims. Purveyors of emotive, expansive space-rock which brings to mind a more shoegazery Arcade Fire, Air Cav gigs frequently reduce their congregations to hushed, awestruck reverence.

From their much lauded hometown gigs, to spectacular shows in Paris (where the band have a following approaching superstar status), the Air Cav rock 'n' roll gospel is winning new converts. "Playing in Paris was really inspiring," says Chris. "We had no idea what to expect, but we played to this amazing crowd of more than 300 people who were totally into it - they were all singing along and dancing and enjoying the music for music's sake. "There's nothing contrived about what we do. We're not like these Top Shop bands who stick on a pair of skinny jeans and practise their swaggers for three weeks. Our fans recognise that we're doing something real and human."

The first seeds of the band were sown when drummer Allan Jones went on a backpacking holiday around the world. It was while he was in Vietnam that best friend Chris, back in Manchester, phoned him to "primarily tell him the football results for Stockport County! But then, we got talking about music, and how I wanted to form a band with him, playing drums. It was decided just like that. With him in Vietnam and me in Manchester". Recruiting close friends Mark Jones (bass) and Sophie Parkes (violin), Air Cav's mission statement was simply to make `music which was uplifting and honest'. They're shy about obvious reference points, but do concede to enjoying bands like, "Neu!, Kraftwerk and Spiritualized - anything that's uplifting. We also love the film Apocalypse Now - that's where the band's name comes from. Air Cav is short for the air cavalry."

There's talk of a full-length debut album (recorded with The Earlies' Tom Knott), a record which has been two years in the making, but Air Cav insist it'll be worth the wait. Chris concludes: "It's been a natural process of writing songs for two years, and now we're fully ready to take on the world."
- Manchester Evening News

"Alliance single review"

by Dom Gourlay

Currently creating an unlikely stir up in Manchester are the delightfully eclectic Air Cav. What's most appealing about this four-piece, aside from the fact they've named themselves after a reference from Apocalypse Now rather than some typically bland pseudo-‘working class’ terminology, is that they sound like they could be from anywhere but the north west of England.

Not that there's that much wrong with that part of the world of course – rainy days, run-down estates and busy motorways aside that is – but it is most refreshing to hear a band who, while not exactly dismissing their roots, aren't trying to ram some cod-romanticised version of their heritage down people's throats either.

'Alliance' has been hovering around (Nottingham) DiS club nights for months now, its initial demo creating a buzz last summer culminating in it finally getting a release now. The main difference between the demo and the finished version is the enhanced production on the record, as Sophie Parkes' violin is turned up in the mix to create what can only be described as orchestral shoegazing.

Sister track 'Branches' is even more of a departure for Air Cav, Chris Nield's vocal proving spookily reminiscent of Win Butler initially before the song turns into an elongated riff of Tarantula-era Ride proportions.

Without doubt, this is as promising a debut as you'll hear all winter that if anything may raise the bar a little too high for Air Cav's subsequent releases.
- Drowned In Sound

"Embers single review"

by Jon Ashley

Now just because Air Cav have a violinist, means some people have gone crazy and immediately compared them to THAT Canadian band. There’s so much more to them than that and this enthusiastic slice of rock is coloured by the forceful melodic pop of bands like REM and the darker strident drive of the Bunnymen. “Embers” is as progressive and haunting as it is formidable and with a break down that allows the guitars to create the effect of falling tear drops, the thumps of the bass drum builds us back up to the climatic choral refrain you’ve by now, been waiting for. Anticipation gives way to a wild wig out to. It’s epic, but luckily there’s a nicely trimmed Radio Edit version too. “Picking At The Bones” is cut from the same cloth, albeit a darker shade, but here again shades of U2’s “I Will Follow” and a third album Bunnymen glow in the heart of this song before exploding on the best chorus the city’s skyline has probably heard all year.

(9/10) -


Two single releases on Surbia Records:

"Alliance"/"Branches" (February 08, 7in/CD)
"Embers"/Picking At The Bones" (July 08, 7in/10in/CD)

Both singles have received national radio airplay on Steve Lamacq's BBC radio shows. Air Cav also performed a live acoustic session on BBC Radio Manchester in July 2008, and a session on XFM Manchester. In summer 2008, the band were filmed live in concert ("30 Minutes Of air Cav") for Manchester-based TV station Channel M, and the set has been broadcast locally and nationally.



When iconic Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam called Air Cav asking the band to headline his night at Paris' coolest venue, La Fleche D'Or, it was the beginning of something big. Sharing a passion for all things aurally uplifting from traditional English ballads, sixties garage to Eastern sitar music they'd been making waves on the local scene since summer 2006 when Sophie brought her folk-flavoured violin to join Chris, Mark and Allan's sparkling, crashing anthems. Travelling over the water for the show in November 2007 with a small army of excitable Mancunian fans in tow, the band were amazed to find the hip Parisian kids shouting along to every word.

Back home, indie label Surbia Records were paying attention and with a deal inked in Manchester's favourite rock'n'roll pub The Castle, preparations began for the release of the debut single 'Alliance' in February 2008. "As promising a debut as you'll hear all winter" said DrownedInSound. "Air Cav's songs glide between rock and nuclear powered folk all too easily; this is the sound of a band who are pretty much unstoppable" said Steve Lamacq, a fan since he heard the demos a year earlier, enthusiastically played the single on his In New Music We Trust show on the day of release. And the packed launch party, held at Manchester's renowned Roadhouse venue, garnered five star reviews, with Audioscribbler noting that "where they really excel is in providing what seems initially like a wall of sound, before allowing themselves to carefully pick out and remove bricks from within the wall; this gives them a range as poised and beautiful as it is powerful and full on."

The band were invited to headline the Wickwar Tent at the Wychwood Festival in May 2008 and brought their euphoric ambient indie rock to Cheltenham, attracting a new following from the South in the process. A second single followed in July; double A side 'Embers' / 'Picking At The Bones', with a launch party at Manchester landmark Urbis. In winter 2008, Air Cav played well-received London shows at the 100 Club and at Alan McGee's Death Disco, before heading off to Holland in April 09 culminating in a spectacular headline show at the legendary Vera club in Groningen.