The Adam & Eve is surprisingly tastefully decorated, if a little sparse. It’s clear from the sweat tides on the wallpaper and lack of chairs that the venue is used to being full. Like all good boozers the tables appear clean but are sticky to touch.
On a hot Monday (27th June) evening the crowd was small and mostly made up of men with the sort of leather skin that one gets from working outside and thinking that sun cream is an affectation for 14th century Parisian courtesans. But their looks are not too diagonal and the beer is relatively cheap. Although I bought the same drink all night and never paid the same price twice.
As a veteran of The Great Talent Drought of the early nineties, back before irony became the only ideology most understand. I know some prominent Birmingham musicians’ tiny filthy truth – they used to be sincere. I attended more than most’s fair share of singer/songwriter gigs. I suffered for our musical sins.
Beth is a very talented singer, her voice reminds me of P.J. Harvey and genuinely made the background of the murmuring leather skins melt away. But it was in the final few songs, most notably after a stunning duet with her mother Debbie Ritchie, that she was she had the confidence to let her voice loose and actually silence the crowd with quiet respect.
If you were listening you could hear a couple of wrong notes from the guitar, but mostly you wasn’t because the voice, with its slightly accented urgency, was engaging beyond critical evaluation.
Covering Adele was a brave choice for one so young and was pulled off with aplomb but it was her own songs with there little idiosyncrasies and quirks that left me with little doubt that, given room to develop as a performer and given the right opportunities, we’ll be hearing a lot more from her.
Less For Murder
Made up of a husband and wife duo Deborah and Matthew Ritchie they have a very confident stage presence and made it clear they were offering something more than your usual ‘sitting with a guitar’ fare. Deborah’s voice is expressive and polished, seasoned with the emotions the off beat lyrics often contained. Matthew’s voice was strong but obviously playing to the strengths used generally to augment Deborah’s in a harmony that had edges of The Beautiful South.
And like The Beautiful South, the songs while being nice to listen too actually approached subjects ranging from snapshots of the banality of love to the pleas of persistent poetic stalkers. Deborah doesn’t just sing these songs she performs them. And the songs offbeat time signatures and odd chord quirks that make them stand out. Mat handles these songs on guitar with ease and when given the chance shows his voice is as strong and seasoned as his wife’s.
A lot of fun, and a far more polished act than you would expect from a singer/songwriter night, Less For Murder are the sort of band that I shouldn’t like but due to their offbeat choices, polished performance and interesting song-writing, I’m utterly charmed.
The night is called ‘Broken Amp’ and happens most Mondays http://www.theadam.co.uk/
WORDS: Danny Smith