Adam Page has brought so much joy to my life that I feel the need to coin an award just to express how he makes me feel.
I still remember the first time I saw him. It was at a bar called Lido on Victoria street, which is now under construction. My friend Sam invited me along, and seeing how Sam’s recommendations are always trustworthy, I made a point of coming. It was weird in a way, because there was no charge for admission – just buy something to eat or drink to support the venue.
Adam led the trio. He largely stuck to vocals and saxophone, but also employed other odd instruments like kazoo and shakers and melodica – just to spice up the sound. He kept his band on their toes, turning to the drummer and saying “give me a disco beat at this pace”, clapping to count him in. Ed Zuccollo was on mini moog, closely watching Adam for key changes. Adam would shout out something like “and now for a solo in the key of E!”, putting Ed on the spot and forcing him to improvise.
It was a brilliant example of great musicianship. Unrehearsed, but still incredibly good.
The highlight of the night was when Adam launched into the Lion King theme song, belting out the African lyrics with intense passion. I found it so funny that I almost fell off my chair, tears rolling down my face with laughter. Adam even paused the song to check that I was OK.
Adam played a series of these gigs over the next month of so, always a free mid-afternoon improvised show at local bars and cafes. Always a complete joy to watch.
I remember him opening for comedy-rockers The Beards the first time the came to Wellington. I think they had some history, both coming from Adelaide. Adam had all the vital ingredients anyway: musical talent, a wicked sense of humour, and a beard. Using a looping pedal and a microphone, he played a set of songs that comprised of beat boxing and beard noises.
Beard noises? Well, when he pull on one long hair it made a high-pitched sound. When he brushed a comb through his follicles percussively, it made a beat. It sounds unbelievable, but he pulled it off.
Another show of note was at Puppies or Happy [I can’t remember which name the venue had at the time]. It was a Star Wars themed gig, to tie in with May the Fourth. Everyone in the band was dressed up as a Star Wars character, with Page dressed in a Boba Fett outfit that was far too small for him, giving him a major wedgie. Ah, the sacrifices we make for music!
I remember one individual was dressed in the infamous sexy slave Leia outfit. Said individual was a guy.
It was a fun night, a gathering of nerds and music lovers. The band ran through hits like “Imperial March” and that fun Cantina tune, adding fun twists to the covers.
It was a glorious period when Adam Page lived in Wellington. The name Adam Page was synonymous with fun times, and those times were frequent. He comes back now and again, often for Fringe festival.
Adam plays weird, but good music. He’s known for his improv looping sets. He released an album of Native American flute songs. He also featured on Name UL’s debut EP.
Adam personifies musical talent. You never know what to expect from one of his shows because they’re so spontaneous. He doesn’t stick to genre or convention, he just plays well and has fun. He’s such a gifted goofball. If you get the chance to see Adam Page live, do it! I guarantee you’ll have a great time.
And that is why Adam Page is the recipient of the 2018 Will Not Fade Award for Awesomeness!
Adam Page is playing at Meow in Wellington on Saturday 16 December. Tickets: http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/gig/57366/Adam-Page.utr
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