THE NECKS, Corner Hotel, February 17 ★★★★
They look so unassuming, wandering onstage without fanfare and taking their places in silence. But as they wait, heads bowed, a hush immediately falls over the audience. Without playing a note, The Necks have begun to cast their spell.
For 33 years now Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck have demonstrated that they are magicians as well as musicians. Night after night they conjure gripping musical stories from thin air, shaping long-form improvisations into evolving narratives that can be intensely cinematic.
The movie that unfurled in my mind during the trio’s first set on Monday night began as a spaghetti western, all jingling spurs and rattlesnakes (courtesy of Tony Buck’s bells and shakers, and the bass-drum rumble of a passing train).