Coming Soon, Adam Green @ Electric Ballroom, London, 12/05/2016

Adam GreenIt’s Adam Green’s parallel world. The rest of us just live here. The former anti-folk darling kicks off his UK tour in London tonight with typical surreal humour and no small amount of innuendo. Adam Green is here to promote his film Aladdin and its accompanying soundtrack; an absurdist dream that weaves through folk, psychedelic pop and Bossa Nova, before hazily swaggering back again.

Support this evening comes from French indie outfit Coming Soon, who also act as Green’s backing band. They are energetic and cheerful and, like Green himself, give a deceptively technical performance. After a final track that builds to a spiralling crescendo Coming Soon leave the stage, only to return minutes later accompanied by tonight’s main event.

Adam Green is seemingly the world’s most unlikely pop star. There is something slightly Roald Dahl about his character, as if Willy Wonka went into performance instead of confectionery. His world is one made largely of papier mâché and video game bleeps, a Day-Glo fantasy where, according to a spoken word snippet on his latest album, “Even Jesus was a little bit of a mushroom.” Tonight he is dressed in character as Aladdin, in a maroon fez and waistcoat.

He launches into “Fix My Blues” and “Bluebirds” in quick succession. Green is an energetic live performer, running back and forth across the stage and jumping into the crowd at any opportunity. He is charismatic, too, and endearingly ‘uncool’. Between songs Green tells the crowd of meeting with Jonathan Ross, a huge grin on his face.

“I felt like a little twerp,” he says. “Like a piece of shit.”

The audience aaaws, and Green laughs, “No, it was cool! I felt like the best little piece of shit that ever went to the BBC.”

This is part of his appeal. He owns his weirdness, his oddities, and turns them into something bright and lurid. That translates to his audience, who are a ragtag bunch encompassing all kinds of demographics, and who are all equally welcome. There is little judgement among this crowd.

The show continues with “Chubby Princess” and “Me From Far Away”, and on into “Buddy Bradley” which gets a big cheer as the crowd begins to dance. During “Emily” Adam Green dives into the crowd and surfs across the sea of raised hands, then emerges standing on someone’s shoulders towards the back of the room.

When he is deposited back on the stage the band leave for an acoustic interlude, and Green takes requests from the crowd. After “Mozzarella Swastikas”, “I Wanna Die” and “Bunnyranch” Coming Soon return. Green gives a brief introduction to his Aladdin film, and makes clear that it is available to buy from the merchandise table at the back of the room.

“I’ll be there after the show too,” he says. “I’ll sign things for you. I’ll give you a sweaty hug. You don’t have to buy anything, I’ll still give you a sweaty hug.”

After fan favourites “Drugs” and “Morning After Midnight” Adam Green closes his main set with “Jessica”, a tongue-in-cheek study of Jessica Simpson’s music career. There is little doubt that he will return for an encore after such a storming set. He does return, alone, and once more takes requests. A pair of Moldy Peaches tunes are met with the biggest cheers of the evening, with the audience singing Kimya Dawson’s response lines during “Jorge Regula”. The song is followed by “Who’s Got The Crack”, and the crowd sings and dances along with unrivalled enthusiasm. After his band once more take the stage Green finishes the night with “Dance With Me”, and leaves to embark on the rest of his tour.

Anyone with the chance to see him on this jaunt would do well not to let the opportunity pass.

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