After interviewing Adam and reviewing his fabulous contribution to 2018 LP releases, I was sadly disappointed after speaking with him pre-gig to learn that string composer, Pete Harvey, had the shingles that night and would not be accompanying him up on stage in Glasgow’s Hug and Pint. However, Adam kept his own and tightly performed the new album, intensely astounding his crowd of fans.
The Fire Behind the Curtain LP is admittedly a challenging listen, documenting his own personal struggle with mental health and depression, a topic sadly still relevant, and requiring much discussion. There is something authentic and admirable in this work, albeit intense and at times formidable. Adam’s performance added something else to this album, if not a sense of authenticity and a struggle that he overcame, but his noise is present, at times discordant and harmonious in equal measure.
Supporting Adam was bell lungs, known to friends as Ceylan Hay, preparing us for a night of instrumental records and loops, her vocal harmonies scattering a dreamlike layer over a built soundscape of darker sounds, weaving many different elements into her tracks.
Zed Penguin were on next, providing us with a set list of music we deem more conventional, two guitars, drums and a vocalist. Clearly a band drawn from many influences, Springsteen, The Rolling Stones to name a couple on my repertoire that I personally spotted, there is a rockier vibe to this band, although they don’t quite pull it off for me on the night, with much stop starts and jerkiness to take away from any form or flow of the evening. But I guess flow is not a word I would use to describe an evening such as this.
Adam performed tracks such as Sails Cutting Through an Autumn Night and The Witch Hunt with such proficiency that it was impossible not to become entranced by his sounds, being brought into the fold of his thoughts and cinematic setting laid bare for us to step into. Albeit short of the Pete Harvey, the gig goes on damn finely and it’s obvious that this outstanding talent from Falkirk is the real deal, oozing with feeling and almost-flawless instrumental performance, recording and looping with a fine precision and discipline that suggests this man has been on the Scottish scene for some ten years or so.
Intense, finely-tuned and in touch with his inner self, Adam Stafford is fascinating to watch and listen to live, an evident maestro but not in a conventional style.