Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last Night's Show: Ryan Adams In Marin

Last night at the Marin Civic Center, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals put on a killer show of solid songs and fantastic performances. The downside? It was in Marin.

Now, we here at H.A.D. had never been to the Civic Center before, and we were pretty psyched to be visiting a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Not only that, but seeing a rock show in such a nice hall is always solid, as it delivers on the acoustics. However, the "niceness" of the venue was also the show's undoing: the crowd was static and seated, the applause was often bated, and even at the most rocking moments, the enthusiasm was half of what it might have been in a rock club. When guitarist Neil Casal asked Adams what was going on with the audience, the reply was telling: "They're giving out qualludes in the lobby..." Moreover, there were a fair number of folks shouting for "Come Pick Me Up". Repeatedly. One fan started complaining about the lighting, and garnered a response from Adams: "You might think that when the Cardinals come out on tour, we've given some consideration to how things sound and look". Come on people, get it together. Or, as Adams said "If you have a problem with the way things are, go listen to Coldplay". Indeed.

But, onto the show: it was a doozy. Adams and the band played a killer set, with a nice mix of old and new tunes. It seems that the "red cave" and "blue cave" shows have somewhat combined: the set included a healthy mix of the rock and the mellow. Surprisingly, a lot of the new (non album) songs from last summer were conspicuously absent. That being said, the delivery and performance was so solid, the absence of new material was hardly missed.

The band delivered a killer version of "I See Monsters" that started out slow and mellow, but ended in the killer rock version that has been familiar as of late. A different arrangement of "Off Broadway" also served to deliver a fair dose of rock to the otherwise mellow selections off of Easy Tiger. Overall, it seemed that the pre-Easy Tiger material went over better with both the audience and the band. The stuff from the new album (with the exception of "Off Broadway") simply seemed a bit too rehearsed or nondescript. It's not that the tunes didn't deliver, they simply paled in comparison to their older brothers.

In terms of performances, everything was spot-on: Adams' voice was in top form, and the guitar interplay between Adams and Casal was fantastic. There were a few jams that seemed to elude the band a bit, but overall it was a technically solid set. As we mentioned previously, we're planning on heading to the Santa Cruz show next week. We're hoping that the musical prowess will stay on track, and that perhaps the audience in the small club atmosphere will lead to a slightly more impassioned performance. If you make it down, we'll see you there!

Mockingbird Song

Beautiful Sorta

Bartering Lines
Rescue Blues
When The Stars Go Blue
Everybody Knows

The Sun Also Sets

Off Broadway

A Kiss Before I Go

Elizabeth You Were Born To Play The Part (Dedicated to Michelle Williams)

Joke Of The Night

Happy Birthday To Spacewolf Song
== Band Break ==
Why Do They Leave


Shakedown On 9th Street

Good Night Rose

Let It Ride

To The Canyon (Neil Casal Song)

I See Monsters
Easy Plateau

More pictures available at the h.a.d. flickr feed.