Friday, June 4, 2010

Adam Shenk at The Bitter End 5/18/2010

I really need to get out and see some more live music. By that I mean I really need to get out and see more live music made by my friends. I know some pretty talented people.

One of the most talented is my good friend and fellow Berklee alumni Adam Shenk. Adam and I met in 2004 during our first year at Berklee when we were placed in the same ensemble. I was one of three vocalists and he was our keys player. After that semester, Adam switched his principle instrument to voice and began outshining almost all of us. At The Bitter End a few Tuesdays ago, Adam proved that switch was not made in vain.

I had seen Adam play with the The Bloodsugars earlier this year, but this was my first time catching his solo act. He was celebrating the release of his album Suitcases. It was such a pleasure to see the hard work I know Adam has been putting into his career come together in a phenomenal performance. Adam definitely has the talent and the drive needed to be successful in this industry and he is one of the few artists I've seen lately who truly knows what his sound is and it looks like he's having a great time exploring it.

Adam is one of those rare performers who can seemingly do everything. He is a knowledgeable piano player leaning towards bluesy scales that almost certainly influence the R&B/pop tunes he writes. His voice is powerful and clear and never shaky, even when he's busting a move during one of the uptempo songs (this boy can dance)! And he has an incredible command of his band. Every musician up on stage was on point and the arrangements were clear and unique. This was Berklee training put to excellent and practical use.

Adam transitioned from one original song to the next by throwing in unexpected covers of girl group hits from the 1990s. A slowed-down version of Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" was beautiful and TLC's "Waterfalls" had the whole audience singing along. Adam even performed Left Eye's "rainbow" verse successfully, though he left the rap breaks in his originals to his good friend Heightz. Adam closed the show with "If Ya Like This" from his first album. It's his best song, and available as a bonus track on Suitcases.

He's playing tonight at Union Hall, see you there?

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