The Necks

Pic of trio


It’s been said a thousand times before, but there is no other band like the Necks, and tonight they proved once again that they are a national treasure.

A simple piano (Chris Abrahams), drums, (Tony Buck) and bass (Lloyd Swanton) trio that has been taking a wholly idiosyncratic approach to music making since their formation in 1987. And that approach was in full flight at this performance, the last of their current tour.

As is the custom, one member decides to commence proceedings with a minimalist motif, repeating with subtle variations whilst the other members join in independently. In set one Swanton kicked off the proceedings with a sliding bass figure, then joined by Abrahams and finally Buck. It is important to note that while Buck sits in front a conventional drum kit, his playing is anything but conventional. In the first set he utilised various hand held percussion instruments and created a persistent beat by hitting the snare with what looked like a block of wood. He does not play a rhythm, it would not be possible to do so, but the colour he provides fills out the sound perfectly.

This first set slowed evolved into a powerful work peaking with Abraham’s incessant shimmering piano before quickly winding down. Nearly an hour of wonderful ever evolving improvisation.

For the second set, again one piece of similar length, Abrahams commenced with Buck then Swanton, who plucked out almost guitar sounds from his double bass, while Buck played the drums by holding some bells. In this set Swanton was simply outstanding with some great bass lines and never ending inventiveness. Rather than wind down, in this set the trio maintained to intensity through to the end, a brilliant way to conclude yet another stunning performance by this almost legendary band.

Michael Prescott

Woodville Town Hall

19th February

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