Friday 20th February, Front Room, South Bank Centre, Mishka Adams Band. Free
I only caught the second half tonight, so call this a snapshot or an apology rather than a review.
And the sound in the Front Room at the QEH wasn’t great either. Plus it was heaving with people (something called Meetup seems to target this venue!) , and as a result uncomfortably hot.
So to see no fewer than sixteen, seventeen people queuing up for, and walking away with one of her CDs afterwards left optimism : the CD buyers will hear impeccable sounds in their front rooms, as balanced by the safe hands of Candid Records. Chill-out sounds. In comfort. Nice.
Mishka Adams’ voice right now is an appealing light, soft, gentle instrument. She claims both Joni Mitchell and Norma Winstone as influences. She often lets phrases catch the updraft straight into a sweet, sensitive, impeccably in tune head voice. But from where I was standing, that ethereal sound often got unfortunately submerged.
That’s not because her band are rowdies, in fact they seem quite the opposite. These are polite, ex-Guildhall types. Like Andrew Woolf with his luxuriously centred clarinet sound and his lyrically inclined, in-the-chords tenor sax voice. Like Esben Tjalveon on piano. Check out the track “Space”on Adams’ Myspace site. See what I mean: not exactly a Milwall thug. Perhaps Jon Scott on drums does stretch out a bit more than the others as he builds intensity. In fact, in the last number I doubt if I was alone in thinking that Scott’s crescendo to fortissimo marked the end of the song and of the set, only to discover that both were yet to end- curiously- on the quietest of fade-outs to nothing.
I’m sure the Mishka Adams Band has many more gears, many more colours and moods than were on show in just one set tonight. And could also be balanced to better advantage.
And what’s more, I’m sure that both Mishka Adams’ songwriting and her voice will have further to travel too. And all of that is a prospect I look forward to hearing.