Friday, 27 April 2012

NewNowNext Awards - Trespassing

I've finally managed to get on top of all that radio promo so it's time to write about Adam's first plugged-in performance of Trespassing at the NNN awards earlier this month.

Footage of the performance was surprisingly released a few days before it was aired on TV so there wasn't the usual excited gathering experiencing it all together. Kelly Osbourne's long gushing introduction may have been slightly embarassing even though it's probably what every Glambert thinks (but just won't say out loud to millions of people).

Adam is dressed head-to-toe in black with minimal make-up and big fluffy hair. His ensemble without a shirt and tie looks more casual that his usual dapper suit outfits but it's still more rhinestone glam than expected. He completes the look with leather lace-up trousers and gloves, making it consistent with this era. He's joined on stage by Ashley, Isaac, Tommy, new keyboardist Brian London and backing singers Keisha Renee and Octavia Latrice. The Trespassing identity features strongly on stage, with colour co-ordinated outfits and yellow and black stripes blinking to the rhythm.

As soon as the camera pans in on Adam standing tall and his neck wriggle, we can see that this one's going to be performed with attitude. He's definitely the fierce bitch in charge, sneering with disdain. The backing singers make quite a lot of difference to the often dry feeds we hear, adding a welcome depth of sound. I like that they have sufficiently powerful voices to accompany his. There's plenty of energy right from the start as the band claps out the rhythm. I'm loving the sound of the bassline which is unrelentingly cool. Adam's voice has a bit of a delicious hard edge and along with the electric guitar kicking in complements the funk with rock.

I don't understand the pose where Adam clamps his hands around his waist and I find some of the dance moves involving his hands and head a bit contrived. I think he should've left the extra "Crack" to the backing singers. Perhaps it's because I think of the song as rebellious and angry, but Adam refuses to take it too seriously, unable to resist a little injection of camp. As a result, I think it lacks a bit of the fire that I imagine this song would bring. The drop-down is fun though, and I'm almost willing him into some mic molestation.

There's a little bit before the second verse where I'm not keen on Adam's added riff. For once, the tone sounds weak and shaky in stark contrast to the rest of the strong defiant vocals. The bridge here takes me back to his BoW performance but with more control and less aggression. Maybe he could've channelled a bit more of that, but then again it doesn't sit quite right with funk. He moves to other side of the stage to prepare for the climax, and when it comes, oh fuck! The jizzing confetti says it all. There's so much clarity and power in that ringing voice, with just the right amount of rasp. It goes much higher than expected and sustained for much longer. Amazing. No wonder the whole stage is covered with so much 'confetti' we can't even see him! It's a few years late but it's so satisfying to see him finally get his confetti shower and in his own colours. He ends the performance abruptly by slamming down his mic stand and strutting off the stage.

This is a sassy introduction to the Trespassing era that makes me enjoy the song even more. I prefer this plugged-in version for the bass and the greater variation in light and shade. Not to mention being funky as hell. Even after it has stopped playing, I can feel my body grooving to it and can hear it in my still-nodding head. I would say it's an earworm trespassing in there but it's more than welcome to stay.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Promo Rounds Portland-California

Here's the final leg of Adam's radio promo tour that include all the performances from Portland to those in California (Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and LA) and my brief comments below:

Live 95.5 Bing Lounge
This acoustic event was live streamed and the recordings are excellent quality.
BTIKM - A steady solid performance.
Part of Me - Adam breaks into an impromptu rendition of Katy Perry's Part of Me, the lucky audience getting a few a cappella bars as a treat as he swivels about on his stool.
NCOE - Adam gives this song a hugely impressive debut with a majestic rock vocal. Tommy's guitar is rapid-fire for this uptempo song but Adam's brilliant voice has plenty of breathing space to soar, especially when he belts out "eyes". After listening to the studio version, this doesn't progress with the same satisfying build-up due to less variation in intensity, but there are a few wow moments when he lets his voice rip at the end.
WWFM - My favourite rough tone features quite a lot in this rendition. It doesn't have any new tricks but it's a reliably good performance.

105.1 The Buzz
WWFM - Very good performance, rich tone.
Cuckoo - A fun energetic one with complete with occasional jazz hands. Adam mixes and scratches on some imaginary decks, unable to resist moving to the music.

Z100 Portland
The sound is a bit tinny on these recordings as Adam does this set completely unplugged, without a mic. BTIKM - This seems to bounce along with a faster tempo than usual and Adam chooses some lower note variations.
Cuckoo - Adam has a lot of fun with this censored version, sometimes it's a wonder that he manages to stay balanced on his stool he's moving so much. Needless to say, his voice is in fine form.

Now 100.5
Another mic-less performance sat on the edge of a stage, I wonder whether Adam's wearing a baseball cap due to a bad hair day.
BTIKM - Ever-impressive vocals in a good performance. Despite the hat.

Alice 97.3
BTIKM - Control freak Adam is a little unhappy with the guitar volume, signalling for a number of adjustments. This isn't a wildly different rendition but still strong in voice, barring an iffy note near the end.
Cuckoo - Adam starts playing around with the tune a little here, introducing some rich low notes, the timbre of which is my favourite. The audience gets quite into this, shouting "Cuckoo" back at him.
Trespassing - It's good to hear a responsive audience that really gets into this one and Adam belts out some mighty impressive resounding notes.

Star 101.3
The sound quality is very good on these recordings.
BTIKM - A strong performance with some subtle changes at the climax.
NCOE - Adam gives a magnificent vocal for this hectic song with jaw-dropping power notes coming right at the end.
Cuckoo - I love the attitude with which Adam sings this, obviously having plenty of fun. His voice sounds delicious and he adds in a bit of improv.

Mix 106.5
Adam decides to hide his hair under a baseball cap for this event.
BTIKM - This is quite a smooth, mellow performance with a gentler vocal than usual, making use of falsetto rather than full belt.
WWFM - Quite a slow version with beautifully tender vocals. This has a very different bridge with Adam sweetly warbling his way through. Don't miss this.

Energy 103.7
This set is 100% unplugged, no mic, no amp.
Cuckoo - Adam really enjoys acting up to this one with his expressions and dramatics. Superb.

Star 94.1
This is another set where Adam wears a baseball cap. Unfortunately the sound on the recordings is unbalanced.
BTIKM - A consistently good performance without any new tricks.
WWFM - Adam's voice sounds tip-top and he plays around with the riffs on this version.

104.3 MY FM
This set of videos is excellent in quality and the sound is superb. Isaac returns with percussion for this acoustic set and Adam is wearing leopardskin leggings.
BTIKM - The drums make a huge difference, bringing a different, more dramatic feel to the song. Adam's vocals aren't vastly different to what we've heard before but as usual are flawless.
WWFM - The texture of Adam's voice here is simply gorgeous, especially during those high notes.
NCOE - This is an exhilarating performance and the addition of drums adds to the excitement. I much prefer the rhythms in the choruses here to those on the single. It's more drum'n'bass than house, with a deft light touch rather than the clunky repetition. There are less wow notes and little improvisation vocally but it's still a joy. Unfortunately the editing of this video has left some parts a bit out of synch.
Trespassing - I love this version, funky as hell especially with the inclusion of the stomping beat. But the video has the same problem as NCOE with parts out of synch.

Promo Rounds Chicago-Kansas-SLC-Seattle

Here's the playlist of Adam's promo rounds from Chicago to Seattle and some brief comments about each of the performances:

93.9 Lite FM
WWFM - Adam addresses the crowd as his babies and gives a spot-on vocal with lots of interesting little changes and riffs that are quite different from anything he's done so far for this song.
BTIKM - This splendid vocal is pretty close to perfect and it's great to see him having fun pointing at the audience and laughing at himself at the end.
Trespassing - This is a massively enjoyable one that's not to be missed. It's impossible to stay still through this. Adam stamps and provides his own bit of percussion at the start and it looks to me like he's demonstrating a higher tempo that he wants Tommy to follow with his guitar playing. He misses his cue for the second verse and laughs at himself. The stamping kicks back in later on as Tommy appears to slow down. His voice has the perfect roughness and rings with such clarity despite the rapid delivery. Fantastic stuff.

B96 FM
BTIKM - This one is another 100% unplugged performance without amps and mics. It seems to be a much more internalised affair without the outward expression for a targetted audience. He has closed eyes or looks at the floor for much of it, like he is deep in contemplation, in the zone if you like, singing for himself. Maybe it's partly due to the lack of mic focal point. The emotion is expressed is raw and I can't help but feel that we are looking in on him when vulnerable, at a private moment.  Not the best recording but a wonderful performance.

101.9 FM The Mix
BTIKM - Adam finds himself smiling through some of this and you have to wonder what he's thinking about. Pretty vocals with mic-frazzling belting.

99.7 The Point
BTIKM - This one has a super long glory note.
WWFM - There's a variation on the freak line and a wow moment towards the end as Adam stretches a big note and plays around with the melody.
Cuckoo - The first acoustic performance of this song, you can't help but move to it. Adam's in magnificent voice but I think it would work better with drums driving the beat.

Mix 93.3
BTIKM - This gets off to a slightly slow start but once it gets going, Adam's full voice is a joy to listen to.
Cuckoo - Adam can't resist dancing in his seat and censors the f-word in the lyrics. His voice has a bit of a rock edge and there's lots of improvisation towards the end.
Trespassing - A great energetic performance where Adam seems to hump his stool. I think it's meant to have an abrupt ending where Adam does the cut sign, but it seems Tommy is oblivious and keeps playing. It's all to our benefit through as we hear just that little bit more.

Mix 107.9
This is another mic-less set.
BTIKM - It's a quiet start but you can really appreciate the volume range at which Adam sings.
WWFM - Adam's voice sounds so sweet and smooth here in this mellow performance with great use of both falsetto and belt towards the end.
Cuckoo - Adam leaves out the F-words in this rendition and rouses the audience to laugh as he swings an imaginary lasso while sitting on an imaginary horse for dancing. There's a lot of thigh-slapping and improvising towards the end.

97.1 ZHT / My 99.5
BTIKM - This one is sweet and floaty with an impressive crescendo.
Cuckoo - Again, Adam leaves out the swearing in this very fun version where Adam's wonderful voice shines.

106.1 Kiss FM
BTIKM - Performed live on air in the studio, there is excellent quality sound on this recording. Adam's voice sounds velvety smooth and so close. We get to hear a very different set of notes at the end as he continues to make every single performance unique.

Amazon Fishbowl
This was a corporate event at Amazon's HQ.
Trespassing - Adam's voice sounds full and brilliant with that gorgeous and slightly rough tone.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Promo Rounds Atlanta-Nashville-DC-Hartford-Boston

Here's the next set of videos from the radio promo rounds covering Atlanta to Boston, and my brief notes below:


Q100 The Bert Show
BTIKM - This was performed live on air in studio and is a lovely quality recording. Adam has a falsetto crescendo as opposed to belt.
WWFM - We can hear Adam's delightful breathy voice here and I'm liking the low "Just keep coming around".

Star 94 FM
BTIKM - Adam performs this one in front of a live audience with a pretty floaty, grainy voice and low improvisations.
WWFM - This has a beautiful powerful finish.

Q100 Jezebel magazine launch party
It's great to see Adam back in a suit again, I've missed it. The resemblance to Elvis is more than passing with half-down hair. Adam performs with his whole band fully plugged in.
FYE - The drums are very loud on the recording and strangely Adams's not dancing to this rock rendition.
IIHY - Adam looks so formally dressed for this one, not dancing but with waggly leg.
Fever - Adam's wearing spray-on trousers with a weird pullover/bib type thing, which can be seen with the removal of his jacket. There's lots of hip action here, accentuated by his dangly belt accoutrement.
Cuckoo - This upbeat song features lots of strutty dancing. It has an element of funk but it's not picked up by the recording. It's quite hard to distinguish the bassline and the hook.
Chokehold - This sounds like soft rock with an epic big production feel that will draw comparisons with Sleepwalker. It has an interesting melody which I like, contrasting higher register soft vocals with a heavy beat. I can hear the guitar riffs in some other song whose name escapes me. Adam is very expressive but there's also some attitude in there which I love.
Trespassing - The songs has lots of tricky lyrics that are very easy to stumble upon. Even though the recording isn't very good, it's stompy and has a great vibe with Adam finally getting his groove on. He's a little flat in places but his vocals are bright and it's easy to see why this is the album's title track.

107.5 The River
From here on, there is a change in personnel as Tommy replaces Kevin on guitar for these acoustic radio performances. BTIKM - This is a much less bouncy, rather calm measured performance with pretty vocals and a soft ending.
WWFM - The guitar finally sounds right here. I guess it was Kevin's guitar that was unpleasant to my ears. I still don't know whether it was a rattly string or his playing. Adam's voice is velvety but hard and he requests for guitar to be turned up.

Radio 107.3 FM Gibson Guitar Showrooms
BTIKM - Strong and note perfect, it's just a pity that a pro recording hasn't been made available yet.
WWFM - Adam's voice is rich and full with a glorious belt and low variation on the last "Need a second to breathe".

Hot 99.5
BTIKM - Adam's voice is frustratingly quiet on the recording and Tommy seems to make a little mistake midway through. This version is well worth listening to as the climax is quite different.
WWFM - This is another that's well worth listening to. Again, Adam's voice is in the background on this recording but listen out for the change-ups on the first "Here we are", the lead-up to the bridge and right at the end. There's also a minor lyric fail in there.

94.7 Fresh FM
BTIKM - Adam's voice has much of that sweet floaty quality that leads to an almighty belt.
WWFM - Adam addresses the crowd as his babies in that part of the lyric. His voice here is just beautiful, full of that grainy timbre especially near the finish. His change in melody for the final "WWFM?" is just delightful.

KISS 95.7 / KC101.3 Dunkin' Donuts lounge
BTIKM - A strong consistent one from Adam. Tommy appears to make a mistake on the guitar and almost stops altogether but Adam does a fantastic job of trying to cover it up by singing through it with abundant power.
WWFM - Adam's voice sounds beautifully growly on one of the choruses. He appears to hit a bum note at one point, but proceeds to guide it into a pleasant melodic improv last heard at the 107.3 gig that he repeats later on.

KC 101.3
BTIKM (Studio audience) - This is a mic-less, tech-less unplugged performance where the lucky audience is able to appreciate the pure raw beauty of Adam's voice. Some nice riffs in there.
WWFM - This is quite a gentle version where Adam uses much more of his falsetto than usual, the melody seeming to hover around the tricky bridge between registers. He amps up the power towards the end though.
BTIKM (Live on air) - Adam stands up for this one and I wonder whether in a hectic schedule he's trying to conserve his voice just a touch. The high parts of the song get no powerbelt treatment and are all done in a pretty warbling falsetto with riffs that must be heard.

96.5 TIC FM
BTIKM - This one's a strong performance with the return of Adam's belting and a surprisingly gentle finish.
WWFM - There's a little variation on the "I'm a freak" line and some very different and unexpected plays on the timing with stretched notes and pauses.

Mix 104.1
BTIKM - A consistently good performance that was live streamed from the station.
Fever - A fun rendition with a cheeky "baby steps" lyric addition. Adam enjoys this theatrical one with laughs aplenty and freestyles his way though the second half of the song.

BTIKM - A typically strong performance in voice with a couple of hesitant notes where it seems like he only decides mid-way where the note is going to go.
Trespassing - This is the first performance for a radio audience, performed with attitude as Adam dances in his seat. His timbre is magnificently powerful and grainy. It feels like the song keeps picking up pace going faster and faster and Adam has to finally tell Tommy to stop. Unfortunately there are some rare bum notes at the end which spoil it for me.

104.5 WXLO
WWFM - The quality of recordings here are beautiful and Adam expertly showcases the rich resonant scrapey lower tone of his voice. He calls for the guitar to be made louder. BTIKM - This is Adam's voice at its glorious best. Flawless.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Promo Rounds Denver-Dallas-Houston

Slowly but surely I'm finally managing to catch up on the glut of performances we got out of Adam's Promo rounds. I'm afraid if I don't add some notes, some absolute gems might end up being overlooked and lost in the pile. I'm splitting the posts up by date and location, so first up is the Denver-Dallas-Houston week. Here's a playlist of those performances:

Alice 105.9
WWFM - The guitar here still sounds a bit out-of-tune to me but the quality of the recording is horrendous. In spite of this, Adam's fluttery sweet voice stands out. The vocal runs before and just after the bridge are lower and a bit different here.
BTIKM - It sounds like the key here has been lowered again. It's smooth with lots of light and shade at the end with some startling glory notes.

Mix 102.9 Dallas
OOL - This is the song's US debut. Adam's voice is gorgeous, quiet and tender and I could drink it in all day long. He seems to lose control a little at the climax with an iffy note. It ends with his hard scrapey tone and a beautiful touch with the sobby "lo-o-ove" at the end.
WWFM - Adam's voice is grainy and rich with some nice changes at the end. I'm still not keen on the guitar though.
BTIKM - This has a quick tempo. Another solid performance with echoey voice and no backing vocals.

103.7 Lite FM
BTIKM - The sound quality here is great, again without the backing vocals and a lovely gentle finish.
WWFM - Adam comments about how some fans can keep winning competitions. His voice has that tone I go nuts for and there's a very satisfying belter of a climax.

BTIKM - This is fast and bouncy, but unfortunately the skipping sound is a distraction. Adam seems to enjoy himself here, smiling and laughing during the performance.
WWFM - Adam uses his hard voice here that I think at times sounds a touch harsh and strained.

Kidd Kraddick
BTIKM - The quality of this recording is great. It's quite a soft version, again without backing vocals. There's too much echo in it for my liking but it has a delightful ending
OOL - I'm not keen on the guitar picking at the intro, the sliding and clipped note sounding unpleasant. It's also too loud as this is one of the quietest and most doleful of renditions, Adam's voice a mere whisper at the start. It's sounds like there's a little error in the guitar at the end of the first chorus. The way Adam howls his way through this is beautiful, though just after the climax there's a tense note. Again, I love that sobbing "lo-o-ove" where he puts a break in his voice.

Mix 96.5
BTIKM - I love the crescendo in this powerful vocal.
WWFM - Adam sings this with his glorious full voice.
Fever - The guitar doesn't sound quite right here and we don't get the glory note but it's an entertaining and cheeky performance.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Never Close Our Eyes - Stream with Lyrics

Well it's truly been an embarrassment of riches recently with all the performances, hence the lack of posts so I hope my companion blog of bare performances has helped you keep up. I'm in the process of watching and summarising everything and will hopefully post on those soon. For now though, it's time to listen to the new single Never Close Our Eyes:

I must be one of the only fans who hadn't yet listened to the live Bing Lounge version, deciding to give my ears the full studio treatment of NCOE first. It's taken a hell of a lot of restraint but I'm glad to have made it. I think it'll give me a much better appreciation of the acoustic performances.

From the minimal sound of the keyboard and the echo effects it's apparent right from the beginning that this song is going to have an electronic dance production, late 90s springing to mind. Any concerns about Adam's voice getting neutered are alleviated at the first 'that' - rich, a little rough, with a hint of vibrato and unmistakably, powerfully, Adam. And there's plenty more of that on this track so I'm a happy chappy.

The instrumentals have a phased introduction coming in layer by layer. Unusually this song starts with the chorus, the verses finally kicking in with a very satisfying, driving, syncopated beat. I find that I'm loving this part, with the rub-a-dub bass, the cheeky beeps and Adam's voice on top.

It moves onto a hands-in-the-air section on the return of the echoey synths where beat builds for the release of the full-blown pumping chorus. It has a four-on-the-floor house sound with the bass zipping up and down. It's my least favourite part of the song, having wanted to hear those earlier rhythms built upon but I can see it being meant for the clubs and people going mad for it. The bridge is a series of 'ooh's and 'ah's building up to a climactic vocal lead into the final chorus which ends abruptly. It's a very fitting end, suddenly closing your eyes at the death of the song.

If BTIKM is this era's WWFM then I'd say NCOE is its more sophisticated, accomplished IIHY. Released before the start of summer (unlike IIHY), I can see this Bruno Mars collaboration taking off as a huge summer hit. It's almost made for Ibiza - party-goers with cocktail in hand, evening breeze carrying over the excitement of the night as the sun sets over the sea, promising insanely fun times ahead. Maybe you could interpret in the lyrics a reference to recreational substances too, for round-the-clock goggle-eyed hardcore clubbers feeling the sense of togetherness that they bring on.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of lyrics written from the first person addressing someone directly but I have to admit, I really like how this one's written. On a subject that's been well-worn, it still manages to avoid cliché and I find the oblique lyrics very elegant. Even the title sums it up so well, capturing the desperation not to miss anything. Whether that may be fun times larging it up with mates determined to enjoy life to the max, or whether it's the sad agonising final moments with a loved one, it's all up to the listener to decide and interpret which experience it is that they can't bear to end.

NCOE is an upbeat positive song with heaps of energy and delicious rock vocals. Having now listened to one of the acoustic versions, I think this studio version with all the excitement of the multiple build-ups works much better, despite missing that live quality in Adam's voice. Though still different to what I was expecting and not the darkly humoured funk (which I think will be Shady) I'd been hoping for, I'm liking it a lot. It's very catchy, sure to never leave our ears once we've heard it.

Here are the lyrics as far as I can make out:
I wish that this night
Would never be over
There's plenty of time to sleep
When we die
So let's just stay awake
Until we grow older
If I had my way
We'd never close our eyes
Our eyes

I don't want to let a minute get away
'Cause we got no time to lose
None of us are promised to see tomorrow
And what we do is ours to choose

Forget about the sunrise
Fight the sleep in your eyes
I don't want to miss a second with you
Let's stay this way forever
It's only getting better
If we want it to

You know that I wish that this night
Would never be over
There's plenty of time to sleep
When we die
So let's just stay awake
Until we grow older
If I had my way
We'd never close our eyes
Our eyes

It's so hard to think this could fade away
But what goes up must come down
Why can't we just live life with no consequence
And always live in the now

Forget about the sunrise
Fight the sleep in your eyes
I don't want to miss a second with you
Let's stay this way forever
It's only getting better
If we want it to

You know that I wish that this night
Would never be over
There's plenty of time to sleep
When we die
So let's just stay awake
Until we grow older
If I had my way
We'd never close our eyes
Our eyes
Never (never never)


You know that I wish that this night
Would never be over
There's plenty of time to sleep
When we die
So let's just stay awake
Until we grow older
If I had my way
We'd never close our eyes
Our eyes