(Many thanks to FallGuy for the excellent review, and to Steph Potts for kind permission to use her atmospheric photos)
The Neutrinos rarely play ‘gigs’ anymore, they stage what might be best described
as ‘happenings’ at unusual, often derelict venues. Over the past year they have
treated us to various aspects of their ‘Butcher of Common Sense’ multi-media
project at Westlegate House, The Undercroft at Norwich Market and now at Stew
Gallery on Fishergate.
The Butcher of Common Sense is an experiment in art and music partially inspired
by ten intense days spent working in the imposing surroundings of the Funkhaus
Nalepastraße, a defunct GDR radio station in Berlin.
Tonight’s event began with the audience being served hot rum whilst from
behind a screen the Neutrinos entertained us with shadow theatre to the
accompaniment of various otherworldly sounds. We were then led through a
darkened maze into a candle lit secret bar. Candles extinguished we were exposed
to edited highlights of the Neutrinos’ extraordinary Butchers of Common Sense
album. In these intimate surroundings in almost total darkness one could really
get a feel for the environment that inspired this unusual cacophony of arty,
bluesy, punky, industrial noise infused with the slightly sinister edge that has long
been part of the Neutrinos’ trademark sound. Always intriguing, ever inventive,
the mutant blues of ‘Love is in the Bullet’ and the album’s title track, reminiscent
of a kind of arthouse Killing Joke helped the show cohere into an impressive
Lead singer Karen Reilly’s lilting, keening, honey-tinged vocals and dramatic stage
presence come at the listener like a lullaby gone psycho, managing to convey a
vulnerability that can switch in an instant to an unsettling sense of glittering-eyed
menace. Fixed in the beam of that dazzling, more than slightly unhinged smile she
could have Jaz Coleman running for the hills in terror!
Candlelight restored, we were invited behind a curtain into a bar serving three
different cocktails. Feeling somewhat under the weather this evening and being
of a ‘certain age’ I could do little to resist the allure of the one called ‘Ol’ Sufferin’
Bastard’. We were now serenaded by a trio of Neutrinos playing pared down
highlights from their back catalogue. I couldn’t help but be impressed that
evenquietened and slowed down, their songs retain just the same power to thrill
and unsettle, this was especially apparent in the case of the excellent ‘Shark Bait’
and ‘Mother’s Mother Tongue.’
With the bar still open your ailing correspondent once more braved the bitter
night air, pleased that he had made the effort to see this weird, hypnotic,
inventive and really rather wonderful band at work once more. My one regret?
That my good friend Shashamane was not there to share it with me, though even
he would have struggled to get any decent photos in the gloaming!
Words by FallGuy
Photos by Steph Potts