Thursday, 22 November 2007

Barry Adamson live review verdict : It happened.

So, last night I went to see former Bad Seed, bass player for Magazine, and David Lynch film score collaborator Barry Adamson. This decision was 100% based on B-Adam's chosen guest stars, including a dude from Magazine and my fellow Virgo and Faulkner fan, Nick Cave. I didn't really know that much about Adamson's solo output, but had heard a few tracks from some mid-90s albums and they seemed pretty cool, like noirish low-key Deep South narratives, but I'm kind of lazy so I think we all know that I didn't go because I was interested in checking out a potentially interesting artist, but because I'd missed the other handful of times Nick Cave had performed in London during the past year.

Seems like a good use of a Wednesday, the internationally recognized Most Boring Night of the Week, doesn't it? That's what I thought. Unfortunately I soon discovered that there is something very, very wrong with the way I think. You see, the evening's performance was part of this year's London Jazz Festival, a seemingly obvious genre-warning that I had ignored, instead assuming that "jazz" was a loose definition and that this was gonna be some fuzzed out post-punk noise shit. (With an orchestra.) As soon as we entered the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, though, things began to go in an entirely different direction.

Everyone looked so mild-mannered! So polite! Like they were totally into late period Elvis Costello and Ian McEwan novels! These people were JAZZ FANS.

"Could it be possible that there are people motivated to go to musical events of a dubious quality for reasons other than an all-consuming love for Nick Cave?" This is the difficult question I had to ask myself. It was a terrifying glimpse into another world--a world outside of the one going on inside my head.

I did the only logical thing to do in this sort of situation--decided to get drunk. I was sitting alone with a nauseatingly snuggly parent-looking couple directly in front of me. While Lady Cuddles adoringly repeated to her partner how "That was clever! YOU'RE clever!" and nuzzled the fuck out of his right ear, I stared in horror as the performers onstage rapidly got jazzy. Barry A. conveyed to us in the audience how very smooth and soulful he was by rocking a dapper suit jacket and jeans combo and doing that thing jazz people do where they act like they're feeling the beat with their cupped hands. The guy from Magazine came out and played a fucking PIANO THING. I was so scared. All I could think was, "Oh man, if Nick Cave comes out here and plays the xylophone or something I am gonna be SO PISSED."

I felt as if I had gained 20 years and an NPR (National Public Radio) membership. After intermission things got a little better, though, mainly b/c B-Adam played the excellent Ennio Morricone track "Un Uomo da Rispettare", which took up nearly twelve minutes. Every time Barry would be all "And next I'd like to welcome to the stage a talented performer" or "For this next song, please give a big hand to a very distinctive and original artist" I would get all excited b/c I thought for sure, this time, it would be Nick. Finally it happened.

My favorite Australian materialized to sing Jacques Brel's "Next." This was personally gratifying to me because

a) I was terrified being in an environment where people were not judging me on my haircut and clothes
b) I had realized my powers of higher logic simply did not exist
c) I had the terrifying suspicion that Barry would come out and say, "And now here's a song my good friend Nick Cave was gonna sing. Unfortunately he cannot be here with us tonight because he has a sore throat and is still in Brighton. Please welcome to the stage...Diana Krall!"

and finally
d) because I think Jacques Brel and Nick Cave kind of look alike and this seemed to me like a vindication of my faulty thought processes. They do! See?


Jacques!


Nick! Or IS IT?!?!?


What else can I say about this performance? Well, Nick was good. And burlesque person Immodesty Blaise did a little shimmy, which was apparently too much for Mr. and Mrs. Snuggletime in front of me, as they skipped the joint before the lights went on. Also, Nick Cave and I were both wearing pointy shoes, except for his were white and mine were black. If that's not evidence of our status as soul twins, I don't know what is.

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