Jul 24, 2015

Ryan Adams @ Enmore Theatre

You probably know this by now, but I do LOVE American music. The best of it represents an earthiness, a sensibility that is quite unique. Drawing on many strands of country, rock and folk there are many artists who write songs that leap into your heart with a brutal honesty and an unwavering commitment to melody. There are many great names in this canon and most assuredly Ryan Adams belongs in this. His gravelly voice, his emotional honesty and guitar playing chops make him a substantial figure in the American music scene. It feels like Adams has been around forever. Probably because he is so prolific, with countless albums under his belt. Which is the recipe for a great show.

Which Thursday night at the Enmore Theatre most definitely was. First up we had the glorious pleasure of Jenny Lewis. I had never seen Jenny live before and she did not disappoint. Backed by a great band she sauntered around the stage with a quiet confidence delivering her varied catalogue with lashings of style. Her vocal range is very impressive and her attention to detail is precise. Her closing song, "Acid Tongue", had the crowd wanting more.  But it wasn't to be as the stage made way for Mr Adams. I had seen him live once before, in solo mode, and he was very impressive. Tonight with an ace band backing him he was equally so. A dream set list covering all the bases allowed Adams to show off his skill as an artist, performer and songwriter. He was energetic, full hearted and gave his all, displaying his skill as a guitarist with some major rock jams, such as on "Nobody Girl" My favourite though was the beautiful "Dirty Rain". That is until we got to the section where Ryan went solo on an acoustic. Breathtaking beauty culminated in my favourite song in "Oh My Sweet Carolina". I'm sure some tears were shed at this point. The only downer on the night was the persistence of some audience members to use flash photography. Adams suffers from Meniere's disease and flashes only make it worse. He asked nicely for it to stop but it didn't and he was rightly quite angry by the show's end. But he ploughed on, maybe he wouldn't have a few years, and still managed to deliver a show that we won't soon forget.

Set List
Gimme Something Good
Let It Ride
Stay With Me
Dirty Rain
To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)
Dear Chicago
Magnolia Mountain
This House Is Not For Sale
Peaceful Valley
When the Stars Go Blue
Nobody Girl
New York, New York
Why Do They Leave? (Ryan solo)
My Winding Wheel (Ryan solo)
Oh My Sweet Carolina (Ryan solo)
Cold Roses
Shakedown on 9th Street
I See Monsters
Come Pick Me Up

Easy Plateau
La Cienega Just Smiled
I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

Jul 19, 2015

Girl In A Sling-Destroyer

I can not adequately describe just how amazing this is.
"Girl in a Sling" is from the upcoming new album from Destroyer.
"Poison Season" is out August 28 on Merge.

Jul 4, 2015

Waxahatchee @ Newtown Social Club

Halfway through Friday night's set Katie Crutchfield (who is Waxahatchee) asked if we were crazy. "What are you doing here on a Friday night listening to me sing sad songs?" Well Katie I know your songs are sad, but also they are pretty great. And for me sad songs are the best. If written with a good melody they fill the soul and lift you up. And that's certainly what Katie did in Newtown on a cold Friday night.

Truly a solo show it was just Katie on electric guitar through out. Her songs are stark and painfully honest. Her voice carries strong and loud. There is emotional clarity in all her songs. She began with "Chapel of Pines" which is a song from her other project in Great Thunder. But the rest was purely Waxahatchee. Three albums to draw on and she touched on them all, with the older songs loaded more at the top of the show. It was an impressive night, with perhaps the only quibble that songs delivered starkly can sometimes show a vague sameness. But that was a minor quibble, for the honesty and truth shone through. Especially on the wonderful "La Loose", which is oddly more of a 'poppier' song but here was given a very stark rendition. The encore was great too with two powerhouse songs to finish in with "Catfish" and "Peace and Quiet". This was the first time for Katie in Australia, Let's hope she returns very soon.

Set List
Chapel of Pines
Grass Stain
Swan Dive
American Weekend
Brother Bryan
Tangled Envisioning
Under a Rock
Blue Pt II
La Loose
Summer of Love
Half Moon
I Think I Love You

Peace and Quiet