For the first set, Chris takes the lead, almost tentative on the piano. Tony will spend a good portion of this number not doing the typical bang wallop percussion thing, but rather create low tones by running instruments over the top of his drums. There’s a lovely solemn nature to the beginning, things picking up when Lloyd, standing in-between them on the stage, provides a kind of sonic connective tissue and it’s beautiful.
Soon they’re flying, a sound desperate but not unhinged. It’s a long set, music on a geologic time scale. Tony and Lloyd withdraw, leaving Chris as he began, although this time his playing is more earnest and resolute. It’s a lovely show of strength and craft, and. And. And then they stop.
After a break, they reassemble for the second set. This time, it’s Lloyd kicking things off with bass in a compelling mix of playing and searching. Tony joins with something not far from thunder, while Chris add in something pitched high. What’s brilliant about all three men are the looks of curiosity on their faces, like artists employing the scientific method.
The difference between this piece and the one before is stark – some, “Divine symmetry.” Lloyd withdraws in places before reasserting himself. It builds ever more belligerent – Tony, particularly, doing remarkable work rubbing a drum stick continuously over the surface of his kit with one hand while the other keeps a rapid pace over the cymbals. It drives ever more locomotive, then – just as before – they come to a quick-yet-organic end. Lovely stuff.
The Jazzlab, 27 Leslie Street, Brunswick
Performance: Wednesday 7 June 2017 – 9.00pm
Image: The Necks (supplied)
Review: David Collins