With over 3000 shows descending on Edinburgh this month, the city is attempting to squeeze a Fringe venue out of every possible space available. In some cases this results in a gimmicky setting that doesn’t really add to the show’s appeal, but KlangHaus benefits hugely from its unusual choice of venue: the Small Animal Hospital at Summerhall.
The musicians may be amongst the crowd for one song. For the next, they might be in a room so small that we can only watch them through the doorway, with strange projections of light playing over the walls in the background.
With music by post-punk/noise band The Neutrinos and video and slide projections from visual artist Sal Pittman, KlangHaus describes itself as a 360-degree alternative to the traditional restrictions of a live music gig. The audience follows the band around the dark, eerie chambers of the animal hospital as they play music both up close and hidden away behind screens and doors. The musicians may be amongst the crowd for one song. For the next, they might be in a room so small that we can only watch them through the doorway, with strange projections of light playing over the walls in the background.
My main caveat is that if you’re not interested in The Neutrinos’ music, then KlangHaus may not hold much appeal. The venue is obviously a major draw for this show, but it’s still a wise idea to give the Neutrinos a quick google beforehand and make sure that you’re interested in their particular flavour of post-punk and noise music. They do make an effort to run through a fairly wide variety of music though, opening with a wordless, raucous clatter and working their way through energetic art-rock to sweet, intimate acoustic songs.
Even the show’s timeslot works in its favour. With most performances in the early evening at 6pm and others at 4.00, you shouldn’t be too tired to spend 50 minutes walking around a darkened animal hospital, and you leave feeling refreshed and awake for the remaining hours of daylight. Klanghaus is just long enough that you feel secluded away from the bustle of the Festival outside, but not so long that the show’s conceit outstays its welcome.