Saul Adamczewski live drone performance at Huddersfield Parish

Wednesday isn’t usually renowned for being the best day of the week, so I’m going to give Wednesday a special little accolade here.


For Wednesday was the day I dropped down to Huddersfield Parish to see Saul Adamczewski and his touring band, on the road for his long awaited limited edition vinyl album Adventures in Limbo. Limbo is a good title not least given the album was recorded back in 2019. Saul has described the album as personal songs of misery and regret.

Huddersfield was chosen from the venues for a special live drone performance.

Considering the audience reaction, this performance was a little marmite; to my eyes, a third of the audience clearly felt it was ’emperors new clothes’ and peeled away or back, another third stood open mouthed wondering what was going on but enjoying the moment, and the final third were wrapt.

My gig companion and I were definitely in the latter third. Saul explains that one of his bands, The Fat White Family, weren’t keen on his suggestion of a drone album, and so perhaps the reaction of the first group would not surprise him – in a later brief on-line exchange, Saul thanked me for not walking out.

I’m not trying to be highbrow or anything, but I just love the creative process, and here Saul and his colleagues were top notch, weaving notes in and amongst each others and timing things with immaculate precision. It felt like an immense amount of content – when you think of a simple structured song and compare it to this performance, it was just so much bigger. Huge.

I did think it a little weird when I arrived and saw the microphones were set up low on stage; one in particular about 15 inches off the ground. This was either going to be a performance from a group of singing chipmonks, or it was going to be a special one. As it turned out, it was a performance spent either on chairs or on the belly wriggle on the floor. There was a dangerous moment when a little unsteady shoulder-headstand left Saul’s flailing legs in danger of derailing the musician to the right, but there were no obvious cramp or numb leg moments. The band with Saul for this tour is drummer Tom Pitts, Aidan Clough and Marley Mackey) the latter on a bit of a holiday from Warmduscher).

I’m not as familiar with Adamczewski’s work as perhaps I should be (and indeed I want to explore much more, particlary of his later work with Insecure Man). However, I’m working on the basis that any complex piece of music charged with sound and emotion will mingle the composer’s influences with that of the listener.

Aural sex if you like.

So, I’m afraid I can’t describe this song or that song from the gig, and how the drone version might have differed, but to be honest, the gig was presented as one piece. No stops, just brief pauses, no time for applause which would have dissipated the emotional charge in the room. This was a full flow of musical thought and raw emotion. Real emotion doesn’t pause for claps.

So, in the performance I personally got influences from Eastern Europe folk music, I got the bells and celebration of a Buddhist or a Hari Krishna celebration, the bells of cows in a high alpine meadow, I got the sound of an all overpowering heart, a heart that grew weary and stopped.

There was drama in the performance where the performers were barely seen in the dark of the room, and the worn restrictive repressed mask was no less matched by the drama in the music.

I write notes of gigs for later reference; mine simply reads: “This makes the Velvet Underground look like 1960’s amateurs”. This was a full dramatic piece; a mix of art and music in Huddersfield on a Wednesday. Who knew?

Words and images by Tiggerligger


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