Adem – Thekla, Bristol – 15 June 2008

Nostalgia alert! This was the first review I wrote. (For York Vision).

Adem in 2008. Photo by Jeremiah Garcia

After ill fitting but well received support from Hot Club de Paris and not so hot Johnny Foreigner, this day of music on board boat-turned-venue the Thekla ended with a unique and quite brilliant acoustic performance.

Armed only with guitar and glockenspiel, Adem arrived on stage in high spirits, to wind down from his full tour with a largely improvised setlist borrowing equally from new covers album Takes and his two-album back catalogue. Promising experimentation, Adem utilized all the acoustic variety available to him; Björk’s ‘Unravel’ was accompanied by a glockenspiel played with cello bows, Low’s ‘Laser Beam’ set against an ambient loop of bowed and e-bowed guitar. Certainly, what was lacking in preparation was more than made up for by inventiveness.

With midnight drawing near, Adem unexpectedly climbed from the stage, prompting the crowd to sit in a circle around him. Taking requests, inspired Aphex Twin cover ‘To Cure a Weakling Child’ was surrounded by songs from debut Homesongs. Finishing with ‘These Are Your Friends’, the fans at his feet spontaneously joined in the final refrain. Adem’s connection with the audience had been intimate throughout, and this union brought the night to a perfect end. Words scarcely do this one justice.

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