Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ryan Adams/Jenny Lewis-Forum Theatre 20.07.14

It was on a freezing cold night in Melbourne that I headed down to the Forum Theatre in Melbourne to see Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis and it was a gig that delivered in spades. I've been a Jenny Lewis fan for some time and have enjoyed her last studio album The Voyager, in a live setting I was taken aback by the strength of her voice. With a cracking five piece band she played the lilting west coast countrified tunes Just One Of The Guys, Head Underwater and She's Not You from The Voyager. She also dips into the bag for some tunes from her days with Rilo Kiley including a cracking version of The Moneymaker. It was disappointing that she didn't get the respect she deserved from the audience, there was a lot of chatter during her set. She never hesitated or faltered and finished with an angelic version of Acid Tongue with her band providing a gospel style backing.

Ryan Adams live is often seen as a rollercoaster ride with a myriad of outcomes from the sublime to the sheer scary, so it was with some trepidation that I headed to the Forum last night to see him in the flesh. To say he was brilliant would be something of an understatement, it was so far my gig of the year and it will take a lot to beat. He played for 2 hours and left nothing but his rock and roll heart on the stage, it was intense and moving. He took the audience on a ride with extended jams and a more than generous serving of his back catalogue covering some 23 songs. With his backing band The Shining he carved out a set that honoured fans new and old, with special mention going to his band and in particular keyboard wiz Daniel Clarke who was phenomenal. The set kicked off with Gimme Something Good the opener from his latest self titled album and a good way to loosen things up. With such an extensive catalogue Adams mixed things up an amazing blissed out version of Peaceful Valley was from his days with the Cardinals, which showcased his underrated guitar prowess. He stuck with the more intense numbers from his recent album Stay With Me was lean and Shadows had a sense of urgency in his performance. Jenny Lewis came back on stage for a dramatic rendition of Oh My Sweet Carolina, he also gave a restrained but by no means impassive version of New York which was my introduction to his music.

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