Pete Fij and Terry Bickers

Pete Fij & Terry Bickers

The Prince Albert, Brighton – 28th April 2013

Upstairs at the Albert may be an unusual venue for your Sunday Service, but a full house was in attendance to give thanks for Pete Fij and Terry Bickers who hosted this small gathering to promote their new single and forthcoming album. 'Laid-back' was the promise and that was certainly how the evening unfolded, the venue laid out with tables and chairs, jazz lounge style, with some of the audience sitting on the floor by the stage as our two principals played out their set seated on stools throughout.

For two men who once appeared to have the world at their feet, this was a friendly, intimate evening with Terry taking tickets on the door, and Pete hovering close by, both happy to chat with the punters, all a far cry from the heady days when Adorable burst on to the scene, overflowing with self esteem, and being proclaimed by their label boss as the second coming, while the feted House Of Love appeared on the brink of mega stardom before the pressure told and it all ended rather clumsily. Indeed Pete, taking main vocal duties here and playing acoustic guitar, comments on the wrong choices the pair made in the past and how their careers may well have been very different had they stepped in another direction.

Wrong choices are one thing, but talent is quite another and there was an over-abundance of it here. Pete Fij is a terrific singer and was always able to write intelligent, probing lyrics, while Terry Bickers is quite simply a genius, a King Midas of the guitar, turning everything he touches into gold. And turning gold into more gold. And there is plenty on offer tonight, from the gloriously profane 'I Don't Give A Shit About You', one of those magical songs with a helplessly self-undermining lyrical twist, through the stunning single 'Betty Ford' which has more than a hint of Adorable in its approach, to the utterly brilliant 'A To Fade In' from Adorable's Against Perfection album, sounding even more poignant in its sparser form. "I don't want to be a faded memory," Pete sings, and though that's more than we all eventually become, the quality of the duo's work will surely mean this will be a long time off.

The pair work fabulously together; Terry has a quality voice and his harmonies and occasional lead complement Pete's deeper tones nicely, while the notes he picks out on his electric guitar never fail to entrance. But though the music is obviously being taken seriously, there's plenty of chat and plenty of humour, with the story of a lost glove puppet being relayed before the said item is placed on the microphone stand for 'Lost Property', and the pair stepping up for their encore after not quite leaving the stage in the first place when their set ends. There's some gentle songs and plenty of meatier ones, some mighty washes of reverb and a general overflowing of goodwill from all in attendance, it must be said only aided by the witty support act of Al Chamberlain with his acoustic guitar, keen perception and faltering memory.

With people being turned away from the sell out show, a bigger venue is promised soon, but it would be difficult to better what was a truly entertaining evening of understated quality. 'Betty Ford' is out as a download now here and the album follows in the summer. Make sure you give them a go; quality is a precious thing.

The Set List
Fij and Bickers Setting Up

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