Juana Molina and Adem at Lakeshore

Photo of Juana Molina
Photo of Adem

Last night’s concert feels like a dream, or something I experienced while sleepwalking. Not that I was particularly tired, but it just felt strange when I finally made the decision at 10:35 p.m. that I would try to see this concert after all. I thought I would miss the opening act, Adem, but I walked in just as he was starting. I haven’t been inside the Lakeshore Theatre since it was a movie theater years ago (the Broadway). It still looks pretty much like it used to, with the concessions stand in the lobby now selling liquor instead of popcorn. It’s a nice place to see a low-key, sit-down concert.

I’ve felt ambivalent about Adem until now. His recordings are pretty good, and they have grown on me, but they’re maybe a little too restrained. Or maybe the layers of tinkling bells and such haven’t worked for me. But seeing his solo performance tonight was almost a revelation. I really like hearing his songs in this minimalist setting. It was mostly solo acoustic guitar and singing, but he played the thumb piano on one song (and awkwardly played thumb piano and guitar simulaneously on another song), ran bells on another and did a lovely little ukelele rendition of “God Only Knows.” It all was so pure and beautiful.

And it was the perfect opening for Juana Molina, another performer whose music is all about quiet moments, textures and layers and layers and more layers of sound. Like Andrew Bird or Laura Viers, she uses looping devices to create her hypnotic patterns right onstage in front of you. Despite some sound difficulties on the first song (it took a while for her voice to become at all audible), it was a thoroughly enchanting performance… very somnabulistic for me, though, and I could almost have drifted off into a peaceful sleep at a few points, no reflection on the music being boring. It would have been a perfect sleep, like a cartoon character drifting off through puffy clouds.