The Necks at the Hungry Brain

Chicago’s Hungry Brain hosts improvisational music every Sunday — jazz and other hard-to-define sounds — with help from the Umbrella Music organization. It’s a quirky little venue that feels like a Beatnik’s living room grafted onto an old-fashioned bar. This past Sunday (Sept. 18) the Hungry Brain hosted a rare local appearance by the esteemed Australian band the Necks. This group sticks with a formula — album-length pieces of music that build from a quiet motif to layers of shimmering sound and then subside back to silence — but it’s a formula with infinite possibilities, after all. The two sets they played Sunday proved that. The Necks did it all with piano, upright bass and drums, a fairly standard jazz combo arrangement that yielded far from standard results. At times, the oscillating patterns of the three instruments sounded electronic or orchestral, despite the apparent lack of special effects.

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