ADAM GREEN + BINKI SHAPIRO @ THE ECHO

May 13th, 2013 | Live reviews

I am here tonight because someone I love who loves the music of Adam Green wanted to die last night. If I can be here, in some small way perhaps it might keep her alive.

Admittedly, Adam Green (he of Moldy Peaches fame) is not my favorite musician. He’s not even my least favorite musician. And yet when you’re in love with someone, they bring into your lives artists about whom you ordinarily wouldn’t have even the vaguest scintilla of awareness. And now he’s here and she’s elsewhere and this is what you do when you’re in love with someone lying on a hospital bed somewhere, nursing wounds both psychic and physical. Someone turning over in that bed and on that shoulder on which is tattooed the face of Adam Green. I think of her someplace she’d love to be with all her soul, at which I am currently sitting because it’s all I can do to stave off the grief and the missing of that person whose heart is so deeply burdened right now. Her heart should otherwise be in love with being here in this moment. To feel closer to someone you love through the music she loves—in the raw and brutal onset of uncertainty, that’s the only thing for certain that will preserve you.

If idle hands are the Devil’s tools, then the music of Adam Green is, here and now, performing a necessary and blessed exorcism.

His music, at its essence, concerned with expressing the powers of a singular imagination resting coiled in the mind of the individual and not that of a movement like anti-folk. Green is in this way unique unto himself; no movement could match the firing of his neurons. So casual that they make a laundry pile look like Vanessa Bruno’s fall line, the band is framed with guitar lines that are at once earthy and shimmering. “How’s life?” Green asks, promising, “We’re trying to prepare you for an above-average night.” His interplay with Shapiro is more like a conversation set to music, with her husky glittering voice intertwining with his delivery, which straddles axes both laconic and nonchalant.

The bass and drums occasionally threaten to drown out the guitars with their waterfall of sound, making the point where the sofas at the side of the venue conspire to embrace me like one of Temple Grandin’s slaughterhouse hug machines. “I want to do my best Adam Green impression,” he announces, launching into a lanky and shambolic kind of rap that is by far the best-received song so far. Solo material is worked into the set—’Cigarette Burns Forever,’ ‘Friends of Mine,’ ‘Dance with Me’—and sometimes it’s not the inherent thrilling chill of a song that brings you pleasure but instead how you associate it with another person. The love another person imbues with the music has a tendency to rub off on you, making you love it for reasons that are not entirely your own and this is why, as with being in love, you see everything in a new light.

And now this light is a beacon connecting me to her across all these insufferable minutes and miles—this light that now gleams in the enigmatic hour is the thing I have to hold on to. Have you ever tried to hold on to light? That’s all I’ve got right now: a beacon shot forth from Adam Green, whose music I did not care for until I loved her and now I need to love that music, right here and right now because somehow I believe—I know—it will keep that light from going out.

Understanding: it’s what you do when you want someone you love to live inside of you even in times where it seems like light is absolutely absent.

—David Cotner / May 1