Will Not Fade Awesomeness Award 2018 – Adam Page

Adam Page

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.

Adam Page

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

Adam Page links:

Website: http://www.adampage.com.au/

Bandcamp: https://adampage.bandcamp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/egapmada

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adampagemusic/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/egapmada/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1u9MxsquCsO80boF-fClZw


EP Review: Name UL – Summit

Name UL cover Summit EP


I’ve mentioned Wellington based rapper Name UL (real name Emanuel Psathas) on this blog a few times now [Freddie GibbsJurassic 5]. But both times I’ve glanced over his performance and instead focused on the main act. Dismissing talent this good isn’t really fair, so I’ve decided to review his 2013 EP, Summit, to make up for it.

Summit is a banger. It only features three tracks, but those tracks were enough to make me sit up and pay attention.

…”but I ask questions and what perturbs me is that you don’t get answers, nobody wants to talk about it, this event which changed the entire history of our Country, why aren’t  allowed to discuss it? Why aren’t we allowed to ask questions? The moment you do you get a reaction like he gave me, ‘how dare you….how dare you question your government?”  – Jesse Ventura

‘Generation Why’ begins with a sample from a Jesse Ventura interview on Fox news, discussing the topic of questioning the government. This phases into a high-pitched scat hook accompanied by some monstrous drumming courtesy of Nick Gaffaney. I’ve gushed about Gaffaney’s abilities a few times when I’ve seen Cairo Knife Fight open for Shihad in the past [2010, 2014] and his work here is no less impressive. His drumming, along with some almost-industrial accompaniment,  really help to drive the song forward. Name UL urges his peers to critically question things happening around them and to speak up about important issues.

The next song also begins with a sample, this time discussing the feelings of depression, providing the name ‘Shipwreck’ for the song title. Leroy Clampitt provides ghostly backing vocals while one of my favourite musos, Adam Page lets loose on the saxophone, threading throughout and adding his smooth solos to uplift a song that would otherwise seem quite dark. If the first song was big picture – asking questions and trying to make sense of the world – then this second song addresses the same kind of topics on a personal level.

‘Eclipse’ features shimmering, ephemeral synths juxtaposed against abrasive lyrics. The track features music from Wellington  drone duo The Shocking and Stunning and vocals from British electro artist Xela. This song is where Name UL really shines. His rapping is urgent and venomous, poised to spark a revolution..

I like the Summit EP for a number of reasons. I love the aggression and the political undertones reminiscent of punk music – that justified anger for a cause. I like how Name UL has chosen to collaborate with a variety of skilled musicians who noticeably impact the overall sound. I like how he is playing with ideas and unafraid to find new sounds, and how his lyrical content reveals some reflective thoughtfulness.

The EP only has three songs, which seems unusual in a world of hip hop that is jam-packed with long and convoluted mixtapes. It’s quality over quantity, concise and effective. Every song gets introduced with a sample that sets the mood. Together they help create a cohesive theme throughout the EP of inviting the listeners to become more socially conscious. I’m a sucker for that punk approach of speaking up for change, and Name UL has won me over by inciting his listeners to wake up and think.

Summit is available for free download at Bandcamp here.

Joseph James