Adam Dawson – The Roman Bath, 19/07/10

Two weeks ago I hadn’t heard of Adam Dawson, although over the past few years he has played with at least three bands (the first when he was just 14 years old) as well as a solo performer. However, it was recently announced that he would be joining Breathing Space as their new guitarist so, tonight, Andy and I are at the Roman Bath checking out a solo show by somebody who, while not on the verge of major stardom, is probably about to get recognised (and scrutinised) by a relatively large and passionate group of music fans.

Although a multi-instrumentalist, Adam’s solo act (tonight, at least) is that of yet another in the ever growing crowd of man-with-guitar or, in this case, two guitars, acoustic with added effects. While I was expecting that, I can’t say it filled me with joy and anticipation. There have been too many times when such a performer, usually a singer-songwriter, has failed to grab my attention or entertain me. It turns out that this wasn’t going to be the case tonight.

Adam’s set comprises of acoustic, cover versions of songs ranging from artists as diverse as Coldplay (Viva La Vida), Snow Patrol (Chasing Cars), Kings of Leon (Use Somebody), Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), Take That (Shine), Steve Harley (Come Up And See Me), Oasis (Wonderwall), Turin Brakes (Underdog), Chuck Berry (Johnny Be Good), Neil Diamond (I’m A Believer) and, errrm, Lady Gaga (Poker Face), mixed with a handful of his own songs, including Silver Skies, I’m Coming Home, new single Lazy Susan and my favourite on the night Behind The Light.

I’m happy to say that the original songs were good enough that they fit right in with the rest of the set. This was no bland performance – the songs were catchy and different enough to stand out not only from the covers but also from each other. These may have been stripped down, acoustic versions of the full songs but they were extremely good versions.

Being a Monday, the Bath was a lot emptier than we normally see it and, therefore, a lot quieter, which meant that it was easier to hear the vocals. For the most part these were incredibly clear, especially on the quieter numbers, but there were a couple of times when they became a little muddy (particularly during the Snow Patrol number). Although it was during the quieter numbers that Adam seemed to shine vocally (one of my favourites from his covers was a really nice version of The Plain White Ts’ Hey There Delilah), his guitar playing was superb throughout, with the mixture of styles required for the different songs all being performed more than adequately. During the set there was a couple of really smooth segues – I’m A Believer into American Pie and Brown Eyed Girl into a Beatles song (the title now escapes me), the latter being done so smoothly that I didn’t even notice until he started singing…

During a break in the set, I took the opportunity to chat to Adam and found him to be a genuine, affable bloke who exudes a slight air of controlled excitement at the prospect of joining Breathing Space. He told me that they had already worked on turning Silver Skies into a full band version and that there would, inevitably given the new line-up, be a slight change in direction.

While tonight may not have been the best indicator of how Adam is going to fit in or perform in the band, given the polarity of styles, it was a thoroughly entertaining evening during which my foot tapped and I sung along. A good selection of songs, performed well to an appreciative, if fluctuating audience – what more can you ask for?

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About Ian

Regular gig-goer in York, both to see local and touring bands. Huge music fan, with more CDs than my wife thinks any one person should own. I also collect American comics, read a lot of SF and fantasy and am a season-ticket holder at Leeds United.
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