No Neck Blues Band / Michael Chapman / Rivers & Mountains La Salla Rossa, Montreal QC - November 9, 2005

Over the past 12 year, Brooklyn's No Neck Blues Band have built up a reputation for being one of the most mysterious groups out there. Their rotating cast of members doesn't give interviews, nor do they divulge who's in their line-up. They rarely play conventional shows and choose to self-release most of their countless albums. But their latest album on 5RC might change all that, at least for a couple of months. During the Victoriaville Festival last May, their mesmerising showcase in an old movie theatre set up high expectations. Their return to the Montreal area took off in a completely separate direction. The night started off with local collective Rivers and Mountains. Inspired by Sam Shalabi's epic sonic-fury jams, a collection of more than 20 musicians filled the stage wielding every sort of instrument imaginable. Masterfully cohesive, they ripped through the heavy end of heroin-etched psychedelia, at times reminiscent of Acid Mothers Temple. Acoustic guitar virtuoso Michael Chapman was up next, delivering four long and hypnotic dirges that recalled John Fahey. Then No Neck were up. From early on it was obvious the group, down to six members for this tour, were in the mood for fucking with the audience, and that the audience was in a mood to be fucked with. Members spent ten minutes posing bored on stage while a tape recorder played, periodically throwing cymbals into the audience. After applauding themselves, they dove into their nihilistic jam session. A typical No Neck gig aims to defy whatever expectations you have of them. They walk around stage finding amusement in instruments, and then move on. In between, members take turns rolling off stage, put various bags over their heads and strip naked. Who can't find the entertainment value in that?