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Barry Adamson

Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh - Tue 1 April 2008
3 stars

Barry Adamson is a dude. Just how far this purveyor of imaginary soundtracks has shifted has from his original role as left-field bassist of choice with Magazine and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds is demonstrated by the appearance of a range of Barry Adamson knickers on the merchandise stall. Adamson’s new album, Back To The Cat, is served up with similar bravado on this, his first ever tour to launch it.

These days looking not unlike Isaac Hayes, Adamson has clearly studied genre inside-out, if not the off-the-cuff banter that would make him the showman he so longs to be. The impeccable old-time arrangements of his six piece band, however, more than compensate. Whether swinging through the dirty burlesque of new single Spend A Little Time, acknowledging Shadow Of Death Hotel’s instrumental nod to Primal Scream’s Loaded or else letting rip with the Country Soul of Civilisation, Adamson throws shapes like all his Vegas idols rolled into one. The end result of such musical pick and mix is to come on like the grooviest party band in town.

Returning for an encore of Back To The Cat’s opening track, The Beaten Side Of Town, someone shouts out for Adamson to play some bass. The band-leader prefers a scat vocal, before segueing the song into a cover of Bernstein’s The Man With The Golden Arm. To finish is a staccato version of Sly Stone’s Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf again), originally covered somewhat anomalously by Adamson’s old band Magazine. It’s a tellingly authentic retread through his back pages, though in terms of the fantasy-wish-fulfilment after hours persona Adamson has adopted, the title is more than telling.

The Herald - Fri 4 April 2008

ends

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