Front cover of March 2008, featuring Foals
|First issue||March 1991|
First published in March 1991, it was originally titled Curfew, and continued under that name until the end of 1994, when the main venues in Oxford - The Venue, the Jericho Tavern, and the Hollybush - closed down temporarily and there was little music scene to cover. Curfew had the earliest reviews and interviews with Radiohead and Supergrass. In July 1995, publication started anew as Nightshift, ahead of the opening of venues The Zodiac and The Point.
Each month has a feature on one local artist or group, with their picture appearing on the front cover, and an interview inside. There are occasional exceptions to this format, for example the November 2010 issue featured a round up of the Metal scene, and July 2010 covered Truck Festival.
In the Demos section, editor Munro reviews demos sent by local musicians, with no pretence of being unbiased. The reviews are entirely based upon his opinions and preferences, but — despite sometimes harsh words for music deemed lacking — there is genuine constructive criticism, and many bands later submit improved demos. The best and worst entries in a month are put in Demo of the month and The Demo dumper, respectively.
Parachutes are apparently a five-piece band, though they sound more like some sausage-fingered bedroom hermit collapsing on the random play buttons of every instrument in his room and deluding himself that it’s something akin to avant garde genius.— Ronan Munro, The Demo Dumper, Nightshift August 2009.
The instructions for submitting demos include the warning "If you can’t handle criticism, please don’t send us your demo".
From 1997 until 2016 Nightshift organised The Punt, an annual music event typically featuring around 20 unsigned Oxfordshire-based bands in five venues around Oxford. The Punt was originally conceived during the warm-up for Oxford Sound City in 1997. Among the acts that received early exposure after being picked to play at The Punt were Young Knives, Stornoway, Little Fish, Fixers and Elizabeth, the band featuring a teenage Yannis Phillipakis and Jack Bevan, later of Foals.
- "Radiohead, Foals and 25 years of discovering Oxford music". BBC News. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- "Preview: Nightshift night", "Oxford Mail", July 6, 2000, Retrieved January 19, 2011
- "New Year's Day Unsigned Music Guide", "BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Introducing", January 1, 2011, accessed January 19, 2011
- Tim Bearder, "The Punt", "BBC Oxford", March 2, 2009, Retrieved January 19, 2011
- Punters land a festival gem, "Oxford Times", May 11, 2001, Retrieved January 19, 2011