Pressing the right pedal records, pressing the left pedal replays. This is the basic mechanism on which Adam Page’s show hinges and it’s remarkable what he can do with something ostensibly so simple.
No two shows are alike, since everything we hear is improvised. Page tells us this at the start of the gig, and he soon proves he’s too good an instrumentalist for it to be hot air. It’s not that he’s learned enough to record the five second stints that are used in the pieces he shows us. He is an accomplished flautist, saxophonist, beat-boxer, guitarist and keyboardist. He has an intuitive knowledge of how to bind all the different components together to compose a complex and imaginative weave of funk. As the piece progresses, he drops sounds away and adds new ones, giving it a lifecycle, an arc of development that turns it from a tune into a song. Page’s timing is impeccable. He knows exactly when to adjust his sound, and all the while denies the possibility of oversaturation.
He is particularly adept at the saxophone, with which he says he connects the most. In the only instant of the premeditated, Page plays his own rendition of ‘High and Dry’ by Radiohead. The lights dim and we are drawn into something that means a lot to him. It is not only an affecting rendition, but it gives the show nuance, proof of his ability to keep the audience hooked as he moves from the silly to the heartfelt: ‘I really love going to that place. The whole world goes for five minutes. Thanks for letting me go there,’ he says.
Page tells us that the clown in him makes the silly stuff easy, but even the silly is a demonstration of musical aptitude and witty showmanship. He composes a melody using only his beard, and another using his water bottle. He goes on to make entire pieces using only the name of an audience member or three genres given to him by people in the crowd. He makes everything look and sound so much easier than it is, but if there’s one thing Adam Page proves, it’s that there’s nothing silly about making a music with the unconventional.