Due to a serious family accident, bassist Tony Lloyd was unable to make the trip down to Adelaide so The Necks unfortunately couldn’t play as a full band.
With tickets already sold and fans expecting a show, pianist Chris Abrahams and drummer Tony Buck decided to go on with the show, albeit not as The Necks per se. They decided to change things up dramatically by doing two solo sets as opposed to playing as The Necks, given the concept of the band is a democratic confluence of the three unique artists. After tossing a coin it was decided that Abrahams would perform first.
Abraham’s set, as one could imagine was long and varied. Trying to milk as much sound out of a piano, without reverting to standard genre-centric pieces and maintaining the ethos of the spontaneous nature of the full band, the set features several changes in intensity and texture. Abraham used the lower end of the instrument for rolling layers of frantic intensity, whilst spent ages building up tension with repetition on the higher notes. He also layered the sound as much as possible to create an aural illusion of a grander wider sonic spectrum.
After the intermission Tony Buck surprised everyone by starting on guitar, utilising samples to begin with. Using flexible metal rods suspended between guitar strings, he was able to create unusual vibrato type effects in addition to playing jazz chords with off notes to generate tension. His use of the kit and varying percussive tools was an absolute master class on how to use percussion to generate atmosphere without notes. The effect was arguably, much more dynamic than Abraham’s solo and when he eventually broke into drum solos the effect was mesmerising.
It was unavoidable and unfortunate that the audience couldn’t experience an authentic Necks show – but circumstance led to a sonic education the likes of which the audience probably never had before. The rapturous response after each set spoke for itself and will make the next show by the full band all the more enjoyable with greater instrumental context for devout fans.
Reviewed by Gavin De Almeida