Review: Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

Bush Hall, 14 November

Addressing the crowd gathered within the grandiose ballroom setting of west London’s Bush Hall, Adam Green and Binki Shapiro converse in a freewheeling rapport and light-hearted onstage banter. They’re warmly received. Their gentle, rural American drawls give them an immediately endearing quality that’s developed before any instruments are picked up, or vocal chords strung. “Thanks for being so, warm” coos Shapiro, to the audience not so long ago sprawled flat-out across its maroon carpet. “This one’s long overdue” adds Green, marking the descent into the evening’s show-stealer, Here I Am.

And that’s how the rapport works throughout the show. Shapiro ultimately holds court, perched at the centre of stage – though is underpinned by Green. The two rely on each other for support in presence. I catch them regularly exchanging furtive glances during their set. Binki Shapiro exudes her air of ethereal, woozy, fractured splendour, in turn counteracted by Adam Green’s driving, constant vocalism. Meanwhile, tonight’s band are only here to reinforce the duo’s distinct affected brand of mellow, sixties-style western Americana.

Binki Shapiro and Adam Green are the heart and soul of the whole thing. The band, however, are the body.

It might sound clichéd but music often constructs landscapes immeasurably different to those that actually surround you. In this case, Green and Shapiro elicited far-fetched visions of Nevada sunshine and long stretches of cactus-flanked desert road – visions which quickly dissolved in the bland urban backdrop of Shepherd’s Bush.

Words: William Ibbott