Adorable at the Scala, London, UK, November 3, 2019 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019  

Adorable

Adorable at the Scala, London, UK, November 3, 2019,

Nov 08, 2019 Web Exclusive
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"This will be the last song Adorable will ever play," announces Peter (aka Piotr) Fijalkowski before launching into "A to Fade In." Its haunting words ("I don't want to be a faded memory") depicting Adorable's untimely demise a quarter of a century ago.

Their story represents the classic case of a band built up to the heavens only to be knocked down in an instant. Press darlingsand rightly so, one might addoff the back of exquisite debut single "Sunshine Smile," released in April 1992 just a month after Verve's first 45 "All in the Mind" and three weeks prior to Suede's debut offering "The Drowners." Formed in Coventry just two years earlier and signed to Creation, the world should have been their oyster yet they were smothered by the Stateside grunge onslaught and about to be usurped by the impending Britpop scene, the music press who'd put the four-piece on a pedestal were only too quick to unseat them and just two-and-a-half years after putting out that aforementioned first single, it was all over.

With relationships at breaking point within the band and having already cut ties with the label, dropped because of poor album sales for second long player Fake, the end was inevitable. So when Adorable announced their intention to split after the show on stage in Brussels at the tail end of 1994 it felt like a case of putting the sick family pet out of its misery. No longer flogging a dead horse that had seemingly ran out of traction before it going.

Yet things couldand shouldhave been so different. Each and every one of the six singles that came after "Sunshine Smile" stands out in its own right. While debut album Against Perfection was a stunning record that any other time during the '90s would surely have cemented Adorable's place as one of the most important bands of the decade. 

Ironically, it was the post-millennial resurgence of shoegazea genre Adorable made every effort to disassociate themselves from back in the daythat saw the band's popularity surge. While the ever-growing list of bands from that era who've returned from the wilderness to both commercial and critical acclaim also enhanced the possibilities Adorable might follow suit. So when the band announced their return in May of this year, initially only playing two shows to commemorate the 25th anniversary of that fateful last night in Belgium, demand for tickets went through the roof. So much that three more dates were added, all of which also sold out. The only definite being that the final night would be then last ever Adorable performance.

While singer, guitarist and songwriter in chief Pete Fijalkowski has continued to make music since Adorable split, most recently with The House Of Love's Terry Bickers. The other three band membersbass player Stephen Williams, lead guitarist Robert Dillam and drummer Kevin Grittonhave all embarked on careers outside of music within the education sector, Dillam occasionally dipping his toe back into musical waters now and then. So for the four of them to share a stage together for the first time in decades was something of a coup.

For a band that regularly played to 40 people (if they were lucky) the first time around, this newfound renascence must have come as a shock to the system. There are fans here from all corners of the globe. Some as far afield as China, Japan, and the States not to mention many parts of Europe, several having attended all five shows. A level of devotion that would probably have resulted in a more fruitful experience for the band during their creative period, something Fijalkowski alludes to during the set.

What's more, there's a fire in their bellies that screams unfinished business from the moment they burst into a raucous "I'll Be Your Saint." Very few words are uttered between songs during the early part of the show, as fellow singles "Vendetta" and "Favourite Fallen Idol" follow suit. The latter is then replayed at the start of the encore including two false starts after Fijalkowski forgot the words during the main set. First album tracks "Glorious" and "I Know You Too Well" serve as timely reminders of Against Perfection's underrated greatness while a smattering of B-sidesin particular a gorgeous "Summerside" which sees the rhythm section leave the stage as Fijalkowski and Dillam's semi-acoustic rendition allows the song to breathe in such intimate surroundingshighlights a measured back catalogue that's all killer and no filler.

The aforementioned "Sunshine Smile" is dedicated to everyone that's been to all five comeback shows, while "Submarine"'s sunshine pop coupled with the vitriolic rush of "Kangaroo Court" suggests long forgotten second record Fake is perhaps worth revisiting for old time's sake. The winsome "Cut #2" and epic "Breathless" bring the main set to a rapturous close, cheers from the audience only subsiding when the four of them return to the stage.

"Crash Sight," a song off the first record that should have been a single followed by "Homeboy," which somehow failed to break the mainstream both become celebratory affairs before Fijalkowski delivers the immortal words, "This will be the last song Adorable will ever play." If tonight and the four shows that preceded it were about rewriting history then Adorable more than achieved what they set out to do. The recognition attained on this and the other evenings have been long overdue, while their recorded legacy more than stands the test of time.

No doubt offers to tour will come flooding in thick and fast, yet if this was meant to represent closure for the band, they couldn't have chosen a more perfect finale.

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