Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Royce Hall, Wed. Jan 30 2008

Synopsis: Wednesday night at Royce Hall, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals turned in a great show, disappointing only in its lack of antics, breakdowns, and audience harassment. The show was comprised of two parts, the first being a mostly upbeat collection of Cardinals tunes (heavy on Easy Tiger), with a few old Ryan Adams songs (heavy on Heartbreaker), one Oasis cover and an impromptu faux-metal riff called “Sarcophagus.” After a brief intermission, the band returned for a second set of longer songs that included jam interludes, and one song featuring Neil Casal of the Cardinals on lead vocals. No encore, but the set was long enough not to warrant one.

Audience looked like: KCRW fundraiser date night. Not quite Silverlake, not quite Venice, the crowd was late-20s to mid/late-30s, co-ed, white, happy to be there. Notable exceptions included dad with approximately 8 year old daughter in front of me, and old dude in Canadian tuxedo with long white hair and matching beard.

High points: Every song was really great. The guy may be a nutjob but he certainly is talented. I am a fan since the Heartbreaker days, but this was my first time seeing him live and I was very impressed. The set (background of cacti and light-induced sunsets) was appropriate, and they covered a lot of material.

Low points: Bad banter all around. Too much of it, nothing was funny. But, as previously mentioned, no one entered a downward spiral ending in prematurely leaving the stage, so it was not a deal-breaker. Also, the two screaming girls sitting directly behind me.

Personal hero: Whoever managed to smoke a joint undetected in Royce, where everyone was seated the entire show and there were a lot of ushers and security guards moving around. Covert!

By the numbers:
References to Jessica Joffe: 1 to an ex-girlfriend with an English accent, 1 song (“Goodnight Rose”) dedicated to unemployed Stanford grads.

References to Adam Levine of Maroon 5 wearing a vest with no shirt underneath: 1

My friends said: one thought it was great, two really liked it but were very tired by the end (3 hours sitting in an auditorium on a Wednesday night will do that to you), and one liked it ‘til he made a crack at Josh Ritter.

» Ryan Adams Does Not Suck At Wilshire Theatre