For our Christmas present, my lovely niece Dod got me and Deb tickets to go and see Adam Cohen, as in son of the legendary Leonard and not just that, but at the aesthetically beautiful Union Chapel in Islington. Six of us went, a collective noun of Greeks. A gaggle (Deb is honorary Greek now).
We’ve seen Cohen senior twice, one time was at the Royal Albert Hall where we lucked out on front row stalls tickets, which was utterly brilliant. A magical occasion where his humility moved the audience. The first time was in Dublin and I wrote about it in this post. I would wax lyrical about the genius that is Leonard, but this blog isn’t about him, it’s about his son and much as I will try to avoid comparisons, sometimes they are unavoidable.
After the support act, who incidentally I liked, Scott McFarnon, a sincere, easy going singer songwriter, Adam strode onstage in a formal jacket, his jeans looked perhaps one size too small for him, a white shirt, with a perfectly folded cravatte tied in a triangle round his neck. Why is all this detail important? Well, because it seemed important to him. There was something vaudeville about him, the way he lounged out, holding a tumbler of tequila. As Christina said, he looked like he was doing an impression of Al Murray as the pub landlord. I thought he was more like the Fonz at times, always on the verge of sticking both thumbs up and saying “eyyyyy Mrs Cunningham”. His band consisted of two other members and together they were flawlessly tight.
So what were we in for? His songs contained hallmarks of his fathers genius. The syrupy depth of his voice, the poetry of lost love and layers of perfect vocal harmonies. Some of his songs were beautiful too. His first few songs cited the names of various ex-girlfriends. This got a bit grating as it seemed he was exultant in the power and content of his tightly packed trousers as much as the despair of losing these various beautiful former loves.
But beyond the showman was a great performer. He warmed up and he warmed us up. The times he did honour his father with a cover version or a snippet of a cover version, I struggled, but eventually gave in (So Long Marianne, Tower of Song for instance). He wasn’t the toddler trying to stand in his dads immense shoes, it felt more like him respecting his dad. And why not, they are his inheritance and something for him to be rightly proud of.