Adam Green And Binki Shapiro - Village Underground, London
I can’t say I’ve ever been au fait with Adam Green’s previous work. I’ve heard a few solo tracks and Moldy Peaches offerings over the years but I’ve never kept up with the man’s musical output. The same can also be said regarding his current partner in crime Binki Shapiro, as I’ve only ever had a nodding acquaintance with her time with Little Joy, so it came as a surprise when I was extremely drawn to their track ‘Just To Make Me Feel Good’ when it was aired on a BBC6 Music show earlier this year. I actually missed the DJ announcing who performed the song, so had to seek the answer out online and was rewarded with news that an album from the mystery duo was imminent.
Their self-titled release appeared in the UK around the end of January and was an early candidate for 2013's "Top Ten Albums". The collection strongly brings to mind the work of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood but it also reminds me of the debut album from James Levy And The Blood Red Rose Pray To Be Free, which showed up around the same time last year.
The pair have taken to the road for a short UK tour, playing their first date at London's Village Underground. This was my first time visiting the venue and I was happy to see they had put a little photo pit in place, making my job a bit easier! I half expected the evening to be a fairly low key affair, slightly downbeat, due to some of the tracks on the album but it ended up being quite an energetic gig in the end.
The show didn't get off to the best start for Adam, as he was suffering a few sound gremlins onstage, with his guitar sounding "distorted and mushy". It sounded fine out front though, with early songs like the Binki led opener - 'If You Want Me To', 'Pleasantries' and 'Pity Love' (which Adam hoped wasn't too vicious!) all sounding terrific in a live setting.
Within a handful of songs all sound issues seemed to have been banished as Adam deemed the experience "Pretty cool", happily chatting to the audience between numbers, asking how we got to the venue, regaling us with the news he had seen a man playing a flaming tuba outside the Tate and asking if we thought of ourselves as punters or Grandchildren!
Adam told us he'd been practicing a few dance moves for their rendition of a track from his solo catalogue 'Buddy Bradley' and proceeded to jump around the stage! This was the first glimpse we got of a more animated Mr Green as he spent a good section of the second half of the show dancing and interacting more with the audience, getting held aloft so he hovered over the assembled masses and later crowd surfing from front of stage to the back of the room and returning to his partner (strumming a guitar with a big smile on her face), during a chaotic 'Dance With Me'. Adam later declared us all nice people as he knows it's tough trying to hold up someone who's gaining a lot of weight on tour!
Binki slightly took a back seat between songs but she certainly shone during the tracks she fronted, especially 'Don't Ask For More' the first of a trio of songs that were probably my favourite section of the evening, with 'What's The Reward' and album closer 'Nightmare Stopped Bleeding' following, with the pair showing the more intense side of the couple, with what seemed a heavier sound.
The duo received a well deserved encore after their final song of the main set - a cover of Joe Walsh's 'Collage', playing a couple more tracks from Adam's solo career, with an acoustic duet of 'Getting Led', followed by another boisterous turn from Adam, this time during 'Gemstones', sending the punters (or were they Grandchildren?) home happy.