The Necessary Animals play London AAA Live, 93 Feet East, London April 26th 2019
London secretes more than just forgotten rivers;
Underground and beside us, there are hidden rooms
Where sounds shape, a veritable jungle of noise; a zoo for sounds
Too exotic for the common ear, so, just listen
And let the ignorant pig in you become ape.
Necessary Animals take the stage at the London AAA Live showcase.
After intricate Dad Rock, young girl ballads, and (bad) Taste copyists,
These new masters of sound restore to the space fresh endeavour,
As they release their album like strength through a cage,
Song form twists.
Seven strong, this is band as music collective. Their human descent
Takes them higher than anyone else on the stage. For they question
The verse and find new equations for chorus, as if parts
Of accepted song were found objects which they artfully re-arrange.
Three of the men take the stage and resemble a B. Eno trio,
As they attend to their stations, Lee Igglesden’s youthful guitar scorches through.
Then Amanda Thompson on keys and the delightfully poised Riz Maslen on vocals,
Accompanied by a music stand, her performance adds to the accrued gravitas
That rings true.
Amarilla powers in, full of eastern air and drum clatter,
Simon Charterton’s jazz like textures before a Portishead style guitar.
Keith Rodway on bass secures the flight to the warpath, as Frtiz Catlin’s
Percussion ripples like leaves hard rain scars. Nick Weekes colours all
With all manner of objects and treatments; at one point a violin bow
On a pine cone is added and fused to the mix; as the music flows on,
The animals on show crest new rivers that flow from caged place
To stage space; waters clearly far removed from the Styx.
TimeLord’s operatic style descent half way through gives way
To an acid stung guitar freakout, an animal cry that seems crucial
As the collective clear away all we’ve heard. For this is strange
Mutant Pop, that both distorts and revalues all of the bands
You might favour, with delightfully fresh surprises for both the musical note
And the word. Riverbed reveals this with its King Crimson guitar figure,
Which then transforms to cloud shimmer through Thompson’s bliss entranced,
Blessed keyboards. This shifting in sound shows how these beasts
Become crucial, as they clear away cliché and tackle accepted sound
With noise swords.
Every group has a song that epitomises their beauty,
Walking to Babylon is their moment, which Maslen’s voice sanctifies.
She stops the room and the breath with the beauty held in her singing
As Amanda Thompson’s gloried piano grants that special flight
Its sound wings. The applause at the end is heart earned.
The band, too, honour their singer. An acknowledgement of the precious
In a characterless London room.
Which the animals have transformed in only a matter of minutes;
Performing art’s true intention, which is to reflect and evolve
All life’s gloom.
Lili arrives in a stormcloud of percussion.
If Riverbed was King Crimson and Babylon early Floyd,
This song is a Santana of sorts, as the animals translate music’s language,
Changing states quickly, as hands attain erudition and time signature’s
Joined up writing on the collective air, secures joy.
Melancholy Age ends the set, but this standard song meets mutation,
Forsaking bass and laptop, Rodway grasps a veritable storm in his hands.
As if cupping an egg, from which the source of life and/or death
Can be fashioned, the Korg Monoton Duo, unleashes waves of feedback
And steel across sound; where one might expect a solo,
He represents a God-Chorus, screaming their rage fired sadness
At the messes of man they have found. For we are the beasts
Who have soiled the cage we were given, and now the forces
Of chaos and creation too, have condemned. From beauty to burst,
Both cage and sky have been opened, and these immaculate angels,
Being animals too, spark defence.
It is not for music to teach but it is for us to learn from it.
We all hold the promise of angelic grace through a note,
Played as if each place in and around music’s silence
Were a chance to form something better from the standard path
And lost road. Neccessary Animals all, very few deserve promise.
But tonight, this collective, set sail on an ark, rains can’t close;
Listen out, follow them, the path to Babylon is before us.
Chart buried rivers. The melancholy age cannot wither
If we start to honour all of the light and love we borrowed.
David Erdos, 27th April 2019
Photos Robin Halls