Adam Green and Binki Shapiro make an odd couple.
Green is a Manhattanite and acoustic singer-songwriter whose extensive lyrical topics center around black humor, blue language, and one Miss Jessica Simpson. He is best known for his role as half of the Moldy Peaches alongside Kimya Dawson. Shapiro, formerly of Echo Park’s American-Brazilian rockers Little Joy, is a retro-fashion icon in LA. She is perhaps best known for dating rock stars.
So what happens when east meets west and the social elite meets the man who once wrote a song called “Choke on a Cock?” An unexpectedly tender album of heartbroken duets and breakup ballads in a unique style, something we jaded listeners have yet to hear. Green’s humble baritone and Shapiro’s silky timbre blend beautifully, and in the recordings their joined voices soar to poignant, vulnerable heights.
On stage at the Chapel this Saturday, duets like Green’s “Getting Led” were every bit as heart-achingly harmonious. Green’s deep voice was the perfect compliment as Shapiro’s vocals, smooth and warm, carried these quiet moments with ease. As soon as the tempo picked up, however, the pair’s vast differences became readily apparent.
Green’s onstage antics were every bit as playful as one might expect. After touting the merits of Arnold Palmer Lites, he announced his intention to name his band Binki, Adam, and the Turds. Green’s humor, as well as his ill-fitting clothes and screwball dancing, were endearing and suitable for a musician whose tongue is firmly planted in cheek, but gave Shapiro’s juxtaposed stoicism an air of aloofness.
The duo’s stone-faced backup band also didn’t help the situation. As Green danced literal circles around them, bunny hopping and flapping chicken wings, the band trudged on, seemingly disengaged. The Turds indeed.
Shapiro, who is certainly not lacking in stage presence or poise, has a quiet earnestness that should not be mistaken or misrepresented as disinterest. But for all her elegant charm (plus one adorable mid-song burp), she was simply outshined and overshadowed by Green.
If the duo can manage to find the sort of compromise and cohesion in its performance styles that it so successfully established in the studio, it will be a force to be reckoned with. Until then, I recommend buying the album and saving money on the concert tickets.