With his dark hair swept into an understated pompadour, his furrowed eyebrows accenting his soul-searching gaze and a ring emblazoned with an icon of Elvis, it’s no wonder that Adam Weiner—aka Ladyfingers —sings songs that sound like the 1950s met up with a modern-day subway busker and his well-worn acoustic guitar.
On his new album Open Your Robe , released in April, Weiner opens up a floodgate of yowls, whoops, starkly strummed guitar chords and pounding piano keys. Whether he’s singing a tender ballad with his emotions laying naked and broken, or rousing up a raucous drinking tune, the album retains an old-timey, Wild West saloon feel. There’s a constant sense of urgency and unease, a tension that could break into a gunfight at any moment.
Weiner might not have had a gunfight in mind while recording the album, but an old-fashioned feel was certainly front and center. “We did—almost to the point of nerdiness—a total analog process. All vintage mics, vintage tape machines, the whole bit,” Weiner says. “We did all-tube analog mastering, which took forever and was very tedious, but I knew I wanted the sound to be classic.”
Onstage, Weiner retains that attention to detail. His live performances aren’t just concerts—they’re spectacles, experiences. “I did a year in the experimental theater wing at NYU, so I definitely come from a theater/performance art background. I wouldn’t say that my show is a ‘stage act,’ but I definitely see it as entertainment,” he explains.
“I also think that especially when [a performance] is solo, you get this sort of ‘me versus the world’ feeling when you get on stage ... I feel the need to really connect or win over the crowd, which demands a level of interaction and comedy banter with the crowd to break the ice.”
Add a bit of hip gyration, and the King might just live again.
Sat., Aug. 1, 8pm. $13. With the Mumbles. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com