This concert at Norwich Arts Centre formed part of The Vocal Invention weekend midway through the Norfolk and Norwich Festival fortnight. With a series of performances and vocal workshops (plus a Voice Project walkabout in the city earlier in the day) this gig had a full band set from Birds of Hell, some poetry with very inventive use of video from Ross Sutherland, and a special performance from the incomparable Neutrinos.
Birds of Hell has been garnering some well-deserved excellent reviews for his recent single Astronomy Programmes, which was played tonight (his only one close to a love song) and sounded amazing. Nice to see Boa Constrictor back in the set too. Performances from Birds of Hell are always compelling, the honest and open storytelling of family and even some local superhero characters and with a full band this was especially so. It’s no wonder Pete was chosen as a late addition to the billing as support for the recent UEA gig by James.
Ross Sutherland provided something different again with some more heartfelt and moving spoken word to a backdrop of a looped VHS videotape from his childhood, the one tape in his household in the mid-80s, weirdly splicing between The Prince of Bel-Air and Ghostbusters (which his grandfather took him to see five times on consecutive days), the way Ross narrated over and linked these two was incredibly creative and in the context of his grandfather’s passing and all the resulting questions it was quite powerfully moving, and with some quite brilliant alternative interpretations of The Crystal Maze too. Very clever stuff.
Appearances by The Neutrinos are always special, even more so as we don’t see them perform live in Norwich all that often but each time it is so different, thought provoking and fascinating. Starting the set acoustically and unplugged down on the floor in front of the stage, building and building until midway through Sonic Police it exploded noisily onstage. The set flew by but thankfully they were called back onstage for a blistering Butcher of Common Sense. The whole band project so well and Karen is utterly compelling visually too, it’s impossible to hear the songs outside of the gig without visualising her, almost puppet-like with staring eyes but all smiles between songs. A very special band indeed, always creating, moving, thinking and challenging preconceptions. The set featured a great guest appearance from Kimberley Moore too.
The Neutrinos are about to embark on a Klang Haus residency at the South Band Centre in London.
Klanghaus is part gig, part live art installation and totally theatre.
In the unsung roof space above Royal Festival Hall, art and rock band The Neutrinos and visual artist Sal Pittman assemble a site-specific montage of light, sound and space in which sky, river, wave and cloud collide.
This 360-degree, immersive experience brings buildings to life through live performance, sound design, projected images and glimpsed vignettes – akin to a duet with the room, taking deep breaths of life and love.
KlangHaus originally created a sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe and is now created anew to unravel a secret world from the walls of the Southbank Centre’s unseen spaces.
**** ‘the walls of the space and the music . . . are genuinely in dialogue with each other’ (Lyn Gardner, The Guardian)
‘If – like me – you’re well into your third decade of going to gigs, you can glumly think that you’ll never see anything truly original again. Yet there’s one show […] that truly delivers the shock of the new . . . it’s the most innovative presentation of live music I’ve ever seen – a total game-changer.’ (Alex Needham, The Guardian)
**** ‘a blast of aural and visual magic . . . a joy-inducing original’ (The Times)
Saturday 9 – Friday 29 July
Sunday was largely spent at Chapelfield Festival Gardens for the garden party, always a lovely vibe for this with people of all ages enjoying the festival. The Motion House production of Block was wonderful.
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