In 2019 it will be twenty years since maverick Norwich art-rock pioneers The Neutrinos played their first gig. To start the year they have just announced a celebratory home-town show at Norwich Arts Centre on Saturday 26 January.
Every Neutrinos performance is a one-off event and the band are renowned for their experimental approach to presentation. Abandoning any preconception of what a gig should be, they blur the boundaries between music and live art and between performer and audience. This one will be no exception. ‘We don’t want to give too much away at this stage’ said singer Karen Reilly ‘but if you want to see every minute of Neutrinos action on the night get there early!’
For this anniversary concert artist Sal Pittman, a regular collaborator and long-term inspiration visually for the band, will be lighting the show and often the entire room, with her stunning cinematic style projections and super-graphics. The band will be playing with the aesthetic of Norwich Arts Centre to create a central stage allowing the audience to see the musicians from all angles, possibly with satellite performance spaces around the main stage, ‘and don’t expect that support band/headliner thing’ said Reilly ‘we’ll be mixing it up to defy the usual conventions.’
In the 20 years of their existence The Neutrinos have gained friends around the world, bewitching crowds in Canada, USA, Berlin, Amsterdam and most of northern Europe with their ‘throbbing art-punk noise and sexy urgent energy’ (Time Out New York).
Their irrepressibly adventurous nature has led them to perform on boats, in complete darkness at The Sainsbury Centre, in a former horse hospital, a bus depot, a disused small animal hospital, a former Inland Revenue Office and a vast furniture depository. They have made appearances at the Bloomsbury Festival and the Festival of Love in London, Manchester/Liverpool’s In The City music music convention, North by North East, Toronto and Norfolk & Norwich Festival. They have recorded in Berlin’s legendary Funkhaus and their music has been used for underground film soundtracks and throughout the feature length Channel 4 documentary The Trials of Amanda Knox.
Today The Neutrinos are perhaps best known for their totally unique site responsive KlangHaus collaboration with Pittman. Described as ‘the most innovative presentation of live music I’ve ever seen – a total game-changer’ by The Guardian, KlangHaus debuted in a month long run at the Edinburgh Festival. The show was subsequently re-styled for two, month long, sold out residencies at The Royal Festival Hall and for other venues around the country.
The success of KlangHaus led them to be invited to curate an exhibition/installation to celebrate the reopening of London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in April this year. This traced the history of music in the iconic concert hall and included a backstage stage tour of the building, artefacts from its history and climaxed with a large scale 20 minute sound/video installation with music from many of the legendary musicians who performed there, accompanied by stunning visuals and a live dancer.
Karen added ‘It’s a while since we played a home town gig and we really love to play in Norwich, it’s where our most supportive audiences are. We’ll be reinventing some of the KlangHaus songs, there’ll be a few old favourites and of course, as always, we’ll be premiering new songs’.
The Neutrinos have spent the last 20 years in almost constant states of reinvention. Singer Karen Reilly and bassist Jon Baker have been ever present with guitarist and singer Mark Howe stepping forward from songwriter to also perform in 2001. Newest member is Norwegian drummer Jeron Gunderson who joined in 2014. Sal Pittman creates visual representations of music, rich with tactile, off-kilter, unapologetic personality – her art direction and design work can be seen on promos and short films for the 4AD and Mute labels, and for bands including Grinderman, Can, Scott Walker/Sunn O))) and Daughter.
A Neutrinos live show is always an event. Extremes of light, sound and mood create something truly memorable as the music swoops from explosively loud to deceptively soft ballads with a heart of darkness. A 20th anniversary Neutrinos show, visually enhanced by Sal Pittman, promises to be absolutely unmissable.
For more information or to book the Norwich show visit www.neutrinos.co.uk.