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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Adam Green - Oxford Art Factory

ADAM GREEN
SONGS
Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst, 16/12/08


Sydney-based Songs opened the evening sounding a bit like The Go Betweens. While the set was slightly too long to retain momentum throughout, the four-piece offered intelligence in their sound and there were some stirring moments, as they carefully built up layers with guitars, keys, drums, bass and male/female vocals.

Backed by a makeshift band including Operator Please’s Chris Holland, Adam Green’s baritone croon sounded delicious during opener Emily. Dressed in a pink leather jacket, skin-tight purple jeans, silver shoes and no shirt, the New Yorker had a maniacal look in his eyes as he danced bizarrely – like a cross between Iggy Pop and a child high from too much soda. Before crowd-surfing his way through Broadcast Beach, he gleefully informed the crowd that, on this, his debut Sydney appearance, he was really, really drunk.

While there were obviously lots of tunes from his latest record, the brevity of Green’s compositions meant he was also able to extensively revisit his back-catalogue. It was a high-energy affair as he rattled off Gemstones and Friends Of Mine, and occasionally he had to bring the tempo down simply to catch a breath. After he embarked on some more crowd-surfing (this time topless, as his jacket had long-since been discarded), the highlight of the night came when he stood alone on stage and performed an acoustic rendition of Mozzarella Swastikas. The cryptic nature of the lyrics were typical of Green’s style: “He fed my dolphin stars/Like you’d put gasoline in cars,” he sang. His band soon rejoined him as he played further tracks from his debut album. Dance With Me got the crowd moving with its suitably jaunty chorus and Baby’s Gonna Die Tonight ended the set with a bang. After an encore which included the nasty No Legs (“There’s no wrong way to fuck a girl with no legs/Just tell her you love her as she’s crawling away”) and crowd-favourite Carolina, Green left the stage looking exhausted.

The show was always fun and occasionally insane, but the craziness on offer shouldn’t detract from the fact that, above anything, Green is a fantastic songwriter who can segue so many musical styles with incredible comfort. It takes some talent to go from a Sinatra-style croon to a post-punk holler all within the same song and make it work. It may have taken this unique artist five albums to make it to Sydney, but it was worth the wait.

Review by Rob Townsend

1 comment:

Rhys said...

Bought tickets the day before... and forgot that I had them. Gutted.