Strike Session with Adam Page (28th July 2009)

It has been 3 days since I came back, still feeling hazed and wake up uncertain where I am. Probably due to too much running around the last 2 weeks and now my brain is confused which country I'm currently in. Well, reality hits me rather quickly from the hazy state when I see myself in flannel pajamas and woollen socks. Oh...I'm back in cold, windy Wellington...Definitely NOT 'on holiday' anymore!

Didn't think much has changed in this town while I was away. Work is still the same with most of my colleagues MIA (Missing In Action) this week as they are away on training or have fallen sick. Surprisingly, the weather has been fairly warm and sunny. Oh my god, does this mean the coldest days in winter are over?! I sure hope so! Having spent 3 weeks in warmer countries, I do feel the chill, sunny day or not.

Haven't been feeling very sociable since my return (just tired out from my trip) so spent most of my non-working time hiding at home, unpacking and re-organising my stuff. Started my 5.30am exercise routine again this week. So far successfully dragged myself out of bed to swim/gym when it's still pitch-black outside. Hope I can last the week - already feel a head cold coming. Sigh...

Caught up with James for lunch on Monday and oh my god, he shaved off his moustache and goatee - I could hardly recognise him!! Took several years off him, that's for sure :P

Bought myself a ticket to see Strike Session with Adam Page at Downstage Theatre this evening. Cost me $37 which was a special offer price for those who have seen either Strike or Adam Page previously (and I've seen both). Frankly, I do not have high expectations of this collaboration since Strike is a percussion group that plays a somewhat classical-contemporary mix while Adam Page is an improvisation genius that plays jazzy-hip hop type music. Rather at 2 different ends of the music genre scale and my musical brain cells kind of tells me it's not going to sound all that great. Well, I've got to see it for myself to make a fair judgement.

I had a stall seat, 2nd row from the stage. A bit close for my liking but I didn't really mind. The show started at 6.30pm with Strike performing the opening act. Many of the songs/acts performed by Strike reminded me of their show I attended last year. And as I clearly recalled, they played with great enthusiasm, drumming on their instruments and gadgets which was exactly what they did again this time, only to my disappointment, they had not learnt the skills of noise control. The theatre is small and with them banging and clanging away plus having the sounds amplified in the arena, it was deafening noise and gave me a headache. I could hardly hear Adam Page playing on his saxaphone when he was up on stage with the Strike members!

There were a few new faces in the Strike group I haven't seen before. Wondered if the 2 youngers ones were learners playing in the show for the night (I remembered reading somewhere, maybe an events newsletter, that you could learn how to play percussion with Strike and perform with them). If they were, they played really well with the others in the group, especially the young man who showcased his talents on a drum set, imitating Adam Page's saxaphone tunes. The other key highlight of the show was when Adam Page sat down with members from Strike and they started a beer can clap game - a real joy to watch how quick their hands went, clapping and passing the beer cans creating a tune until someone gets out of sync :)

After a 20-minute interval, Adam Page kicked off the 2nd part of the show. He is definitely a world-class performer - the sound system was perfect, he's got real talent in music improvisation (no one show is identical) and great at interacting with the audience, all of which Strike has much to learn from to get to such a level. I've to say, Adam Page is better off performing on his own. Even though I've seen how he used props like the kumara and beer bottle in his show, he still gets me smiling and bobbing my head to his awesome tunes. Of course, he got the audience to sing and hum as well to add to his music loops. I love watching him perform - he's such a comedian yet blows me away with how he can mix and match tunes to create a whole song at such ease.

The final performance was one where the audience were invited to come up to the stage while both Strike and Adam Page performed their last song. Yes, everyone squeezed in between the lights, cables, instruments and performers - all in all an interesting experience because you could actually feel the energy oozing out of the performers (I could also feel the floor vibrating as Strike played on the drums).

The show ended around 8.30pm. Time for me to head home and make myself some dinner!

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