Strike Session with Adam Page

Downstage Theatre, Wellington

13/07/2009 - 01/08/2009

Production Details


Strike Percussion join forces with Australian one man band Adam Page

Strike Percussion are regular performers at Downstage, most recently with their hugely popular shows Strike Elemental (2008) and Strike Soundsystem (2009 NZ Fringe Festival).

Adam Page Solo was a hit at the 2009 NZ Fringe Festival winning ‘Best Music’ and ‘Best One Man Band/ Solo Show’. A ‘one-man does-all’ extravaganza, Adam’s shows use sophisticated looping techniques to combine 15 instruments and one vegetable into an hour of energy fuelled multi instrument performance.

When Strike Artistic Director Murray Hickman went to see Adam Page Solo it was love at first sight! An invitation followed for Adam to make a cameo appearance in Strike Soundsystem resulting in improvised, unscripted musical magic that prompted this reviewer comment:
Adam Page layered staccato vocal rhythms with lines of dreamy saxophone, using a loop pedal to duet with himself in a special guest performance – he was a major highlight.’ – Simon Sweetman (on Adam Page’s cameo with Strike early 2009)

With this performance being such a success, Adam was an obvious choice when Strike were considering collaborators for their 2009 Downstage season. The inclusion of Adam’s improvisational elements is an exciting change for Strike. Murray Hickman: "It’s a big change from our regular performance style that is strictly scored and choreographed. We were really impressed by Adam’s improvisational skills, it’s exciting to start a performance and not really know where it’s going to go".

Strike has been named as a Downstage resident company for 2009 to 2012. Speaking at the recent public forum held at Downstage, Murray Hickman spoke about the new partnership: "As a company that has such a hectic touring schedule, this agreement gives us an opportunity to pause and create new material for our Wellington seasons." It also means Strike can plan ahead and work with new creative influences.

Strike Session with Adam Page also marks the release of their long awaited new CD, which was recorded at the world famous Karekare Studios (Crowded House, Portishead, Radiohead) and mastered by Don Bartley who has worked with Prince and Elton John.

Strike Session with Adam Page
Dates: 14 Jul – 1 Aug
Times: 6:30pm Tue-Wed and 8pm Thu-Sat.
Prices: $25 to $45.
Meet the Artists: Tue 21 Jul 

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at (04) 801 6946 or in person at Downstage’s box office. For up-to-date information visit

Downstage is proudly sponsored by BNZ.

Vivacious rhythyms

Review by Michael Oliver 14th Aug 2009

Adam Page must be some kind of superhero. His capacity to soothe rabid beats with lapping loops and pugnacious poise borders on the extraordinary. The Australian improv musician has sauntered his sax from Adelaide all the way to Edinburgh, and finds himself grounded—and on form—at Downstage with local percussion ensemble Strike.

Percussion groups have a remarkable capacity to set pulses alight, and Strike is by no means an exception. Their Vivacious rhythms barrel from drum, symbol, and iron sheet alike, gorging themselves upon the audience’s senses and sense of wonder. The collaboration, which has been in the works since February, pits the maestro Page against the professional poise of Strike’s rich rumble and produces a sound unique and often mesmerising… [More]
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Layers of sound and happiness

Review by Simon Sweetman 16th Jul 2009

New Zealand’s premier percussion ensemble Strike is constantly seeking new collaborations and the genesis for the latest show, Strike Session with Adam Page was the group’s Fringe Festival show earlier this year, Strike Soundsystem.

Page, an Australian multi-instrumentalist with his own shows to perform as part of the festival – mixing laidback comedy and improvisation on a variety of instruments and loop pedals – joined Strike for a portion of the band’s show. It was clearly something that worked and now we have this new show.

The first half sees Strike working through some regular pieces (I would argue that two of these pieces have been used too often and are too long, missing the connection with melody and mood and becoming a barrage of banging sounds) as well as adding Page to the proceedings to work together. His saxophone playing sits nicely, hovering over a beautiful marimba line that is augmented with Taiko drums and the band’s trademark scaffolds of sound.

But where Page layered his voice using Inuit throat singing and a sample-and-hold loop pedal, eventually adding didgeridoo also, the six-member percussion team threatened to drown him out by trying too hard to throw everything at the wall. That’s nitpicking of course; there was still a spectral majesty to the layering.

The second half is a free-for-all of improvisation which starts with Page taking the stage to perform his regular bag of tricks. Using vocal percussion to create a groove, Page seemingly chooses instruments randomly to layer funky-wah guitar, probing bass, wafting soprano and tenor saxophone lines and his favourite trick: bevelling out a Kumara and attaching a mouthpiece to play the vegetable as an instrument.

His love of creation, of existing inside the tiny moments when the melodies chime and the rhythms are pulsing, is infectious and from there Page dictates to the Strike members when to come back on stage, what drums to play and how to add to his bubbling cauldron of sound. The improvisation section takes Strike out of its prepared, sometimes too regimented, comfort-zone.

It is a musical marriage made in heaven and the happiest moments had all of the musicians beaming from the stage. Something that passes straight on to the audience. 
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Wide ranging appeal

Review by Vicki Thorpe 15th Jul 2009

It is one of those shows that is simply unclassifiable:  part theatre, part concert, part dance, part stand-up, and maybe even a whole new genre: part vegetable-impro. Whatever it is, it is hugely entertaining, impressive, engaging and fun.

Virtuoso percussion group Strike has been wowing us for years and last night’s performance was no exception. The decision to collaborate with the amazing one-man-band that is Adam Page is an inspired one.

The show opens with some of what we have come to expect from Strike – arresting and complex layers of rhythm, athletically played on an array of instruments ranging from the traditional to the unexpected. Adam Page also presents us with some fine sax playing and clever live looping.

Before long, though, Page is joined by Murray Hickman, Seleni Sulusi, Sam Minns, Takumi Motokawa, along with new comers Gene Peterson and Stephanie Englebrecht. I particularly enjoy the combination of Page’s sax impro and Hickman’s balletic marimba playing. 

Adam Page’s ingenious musical use of just about anything, including both bottled and canned beer, plus the inevitable vegetable, is funny and clever. It is fascinating to witness and sometimes participate in his fast-moving creative process as he plays, samples, loops and layers. More to the point though, this sophisticated rhythmic, melodic and textural layering isn’t merely entertaining, it is also musically satisfying, particularly when Strike is in the mix.

These performances are intense, often very funny – and so loud they have me reaching for the ear plugs so thoughtfully provided for us.  Despite the volume, inevitable with so many playing so much, Ollivier Ballester’s sound design is well balanced so that one could still hear all that is going on.

The second half of the show is completely improvised. Other than an idea for the ending, none of the performers know what is going to happen, or how it will happen. This seemed a bit of a challenge for the new members of Strike, which is hardly surprising on an opening night.

However the elements presented in the first half of the show lead to some really enjoyable performances, with some fine moments of intense rapport. It’s clear that these guys (and girl) all enjoy playing together.

I’d like to see this show again because it’s obvious that every performance will be unique and will only get better as these creative relationships mature over the next couple of weeks.

Strike Session with Adam Page will appeal to a very wide range of people. It was fun. Take your kids.  
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