Adam Green - Haldern Festival - 6th August 2004

"Tact, decency and political correctness were all off the menu "

The Moldy Peaches were worth a listen. An alternative band, to be sure. I got the impression that students in bedsits the Western World over would cherish the bootleg quality packaging and rough, slap shod production enough to sit the album on a shelf; next to their Pavement albums and that copy of Trout Mask Replica some arty friend told them to buy. I knew, like those who had tried to seek the Moldy Peaches out, that there was a strange, clever brain working beneath the amateur playing and low-fi production but still, nothing prepared me for Adam Green at Haldern. Nothing.

One of my Incendiary colleagues said that he was interested in hearing Adam's version of 'What a waster' by the Libertines, but that never really got me excited.

Maybe it was the fact that he came on after the Bible bashing antics of Starsailor, who are surely to be appearing in Cathedrals soon, opening up for the Arch Bishops. Maybe that made things a tad more bewildering. Maybe it was because I hadn't paid any attention to Adam's solo albums. Maybe. But nobody warned me. Nobody suggested that Adam Green would be worth watching. Nobody. Not one of you!

Well, I am grateful to you all, especially the organisers of this fabulous little festival, because Adam Green's show at Haldern was the most ridiculously entertaining set I've seen in many a year. What a surprise! I tell you, I've found a new hero.

He appeared on stage looking like Tim Burton with well conditioned hair and proceeded to sing something that sounded like, "Let's do it in the beautiful mustard." Beautiful mustard? He had my attention. Then, after kicking his legs up in a Jim Morrison homage he sang about, "saying goodnight to his Nazi friends," which went over the heads of the entire crowd, thankfully. Who was this guy? This wasn't the yelping little kid from the Moldy Peaches album who's voice had hardly broken, this was a guy who lurched around the stage like a pro, sang like he'd taken lessons and brought to mind Gram Parsons and Jonathan Richman. Fuck! This was brilliant.

As for the band; low-fi? Bollocks. Despite looking like a bunch of extras from Deliverance, this band were so technically accomplished, so tight, that they changed styles from country to blues to full on 3 chord rock and roll with such ease, such power and such vigour that the lethargy brought on by Starsailor's Christian warblings was eradicated in seconds.

It just got better. The lyrics seemed to come from another planet. He was singing in what was understandably English, but as for making sense? Well that was out of the window. "In a town/in a city/in an eyeball/on a rock/in a fence where a goat was alone by himself." Erm, okay then. "Everybody's talking about Jesus/Everybody's fucking my princess." Poor guy. The old Moldy Peaches classic, "Who mistook the steak for chicken/who'm I gonna stick my dick in?" which still rolls off the tongue with ease and my own personal favourite of the night, "It doesn't mean that I don't love you/when I stick a gun in your face." That's right, tact, decency and political correctness were all off the menu tonight. Hurrah!

I implore you all to go and find Adam Green. You'll not regret it. Not only did he make me laugh, not only did the music invigorate me, entertain me and send me back to the tent bewildered and laughing like a hyena, but he also danced around the stage at one point hopping on one leg, flapping his arms around like a pigeon in distress and began yelping like a Jack Russell with an elastic band round it's privates.  He also came back for an encore and proceeded to completely butcher 'What a waster,' by forgetting the words and abandoned it halfway through the second verse, only to then berate the audience for applauding him. "What are you doing? I fucked it up! Stop fucking clapping!" Genius.

What are you waiting for? Go do it in the beautiful mustard. Wherever he is, go see him.

Words: Damian Leslie

Illustration : Damian Leslie