Mike Atkinson

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Monday November 12

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Royal Concert Hall by Mike A on November 12, 2007

Almost exactly seven years since his British live debut at The Maze, Ryan Adams returned for his fifth Nottingham show, backed once more by the four-piece Cardinals. Backlit and shrouded in mist, the players cut shadowy, enigmatic figures, with the formerly garrulous Adams struggling – and mostly succeeding – to maintain an equally enigmatic silence. (“We shouldn’t talk; we might break up.”)

Once a workable balance had been struck between the rock-based material and the comfortable sit-down surroundings, the band delivered a fine, musicianly two-hour performance. The mostly languid, nocturnal mood was bolstered by Jon Graboff’s atmospheric pedal steel, and punctured by occasional wig-outs such as the raucous “Shakedown on 9th Street”, and the experimental free-form jam which closed the main set.

Having conquered the addictions which threatened to derail his career, Adams has enjoyed renewed success with this year’s Easy Tiger. Album opener “Goodnight Rose” was a particular highlight, successfully blending influences from Roy Orbison to the Grateful Dead.

Initially swapping between guitar and piano, Adams gave up on the latter halfway through: although easy to play in his “wasted” days, he now finds it too “mathematical”. Set against such a welcome return to form, this was a small sacrifice indeed.

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