Sometimes the Necks can be like that. Amidst the gentle shimmerings of sound of the bass, drum and piano trio there emerges sometimes a guitar chord, electronics, a fanfare of winds, sometimes even voices. These inexplicable noises arise perhaps from certain resonances that Abraham arcanely summons from the keys of his trade. They flit in and out over the set seemingly at random rarely lingering, always leaving the audience in dumb astonishment.
But I am getting ahead of myself. As I was saying I was lucky enough to have positioned myself in the audience behind Age reviewer Jessica Nicholas. But again I have erred and flung myself too far in time. I should have started with, I was at the annual, The Necks performance at the Corner hotel. As I was saying in the introduction I found myself observing Mrs. Nicholas as she was taking notes for her own review. It was quite remarkable to watch, horrifying even. There she was filling page after page of her small exercise book with line after terrible line of what was probably even a short cuneiform, shorthand! Every two minutes she would pause look up at Tony Buck while awaiting some divine inspiration and then down she would be again with line again of admirable verse. She must have ended up with at lest ten double sided sheets in the second set alone. And now I dig up the scant words that I once tried to solicit at a show. One of the more coherent entries I can find, I have it in front of me, “this band fucking sucks!” Must I cleanse the fount of Helicon, swampy with mud and rushes and restore the sleeping Muses, soiled by rusticity, to their pristine beauty. Well enough rhetoric. Far worse was when I opened the paper the next day, or the one after that and found the review occupying but 300 or so scant words. What extravagant waste! Should writing really be such work? Well competent writing perhaps. On the Neck’s practice of purely improvising each gig, “Even the most seasoned mariner would find it daunting to set sail with intuition as his only compass.” Nordic objections aside it’s a million times more imaginative than anything I could have writ, though her trick does seem to be just that, writing a million different things and selecting the best. The nautical themes continue to resurface through her review like the most deferent beluga whale (you see I could easily just rewrite that), “All three players seemed part of the same tidal pull, the music ebbing and flowing with a majestic, rolling momentum.” Coleridge rarely said more.
Anyway I couldn’t agree more with her sentiments, the Necks are an uncommonly moving band. They’re playing a show soon at the Melbourne Town Hall to make use of its immense grand organ. The largest in the southern hemisphere. And I can tell you from last year that it will be two hours of a gradual exhilarated, bliss. Do come.