Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
Live @ the Arlington Theater

Photo by Joker Style Productions
Ryan Adams must have a crazy calendar or something where he lays out his shenanigans for the year: December was his month off, but in January, the onslaught of YouTube videos began. I haven't been keeping up with them much, but apparently being single hasn't been so bad (musically, anyway), if his show at the Arlington the other night was any indication.

This Ryan Adams tour seems to be all about the Cardinals, and that's working well, if tonight's show was any indication. Adams has been saying he wants to be considered just one of the Cardinals in interviews for awhile now, and he's making good on his word. The whole band seemed to have a lot more energy than when I saw them play in July in L.A., and Adams wasn't sitting down or slouched over the whole time. Neal Casal contributed lead vocals to one of the songs (which I thought was pretty cool but a lot of my fellow audience members took as a signal to rush to the bar). Some of the songs were reworked a bit, with a much louder and aggressive version of "Bartering Lines" or a piano-driven, acoustic "Halloweenhead."

And guess who opened the show? Ryan Adams, acoustic and solo, was onstage before the show was scheduled to start, which was a real treat since usually you arrive to shows and have to wait 45 minutes from the scheduled start time. Masquerading as J.J. Bouillabaise, he claimed that "Ryan Adams wouldn't let me open for him unless I played his songs. That guy is such a prick... I hear he's great in the sack, though."

So obviously the sense of humor's still there, only this time, more coherent and audible. There could be an entire blog devoted to things Ryan Adams says in between songs, but it's probably more of a "you had to be there" sort of thing (necrophilia, anybody?). He made fun of reported "meltdowns," laid down on the floor and asked his band to "come pick me up," and muttered about how he couldn't figure out if he was feeling too hot or too cold... "Just like my last relationship," he quipped, "Except not that cold." ZING!

The thing about playing in Santa Barbara is that you're going to draw a comparatively older crowd than you would in, say, L.A., so unfortunately nobody stood up or anything (save for that one guy who ran to the front and rolled offstage). A little more enthusiasm on the part of the audience wouldn't hurt.

Call Me on Your Way Back Home
Damn Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)

Bartering Lines
Cold Roses
Blue Hotel
Off Broadway
The Rescue Blues
Everybody Knows
Goodnight Rose
The Sun Also Sets
Halloween Head
Freeway to the Canyon

When The Stars Go Blue
Beautiful Sorta
Peaceful Valley
Dear Chicago
Happy Birthday Spacewolf
A Kiss Before I Go
Shakedown On 9th Street

ONE FINAL QUESTION: How many times am I going to have to go see Ryan Adams before he plays a Whiskeytown song? Heh.


Joe Bunting said...

I saw that show too! Unbelievable musician. Absolute wreck of a person. I loved the quirkiness and complete nonchalant awkwardness. Do you think he was on drugs?

Ginny said...

i should hope he's not on drugs (least not the hard ones). sobriety seems to be working well for him. and i don't think he's a wreck of a person at all. anymore, that is. it's just his bizarre and wonderful sense of humor.