Review: Ryan Adams at Temple Buell, 2/4/12
Noah Van Sciver Butch Walker last night at the Buell, seen through the eyes of Noah Van Sciver.
In this case, the "then some" above refers to Butch Walker. If you missed his opening set, whoo, boy! -- let's just say you missed a lot. As the lights went down, Walker muttered something off-mike about being buddies with Ryan, and it's a safe bet that some folks in the back didn't catch what he said and may have even thought he was Adams (their voices have a similar timbre, and in the dark, from a distance, they faintly resemble each other). Just the same, Walker was simply mind-blowing in his own right.
Opening with "Joan," he immediately sucked us all in with a flawless falsetto and the lines about Colorado. After a few songs, each filled with the kind of incisive lines that Randy Newman would admire, one guy said what the rest of us were all no doubt thinking: "You're good, man!" Near the end of his criminally short set, by the time he phoned up his dad in Georgia to get us all to wish him happy anniversary (Walker's parents celebrated fifty years today), we were putty in his hands. More so when he went on to recount the story of his dad taking him to his first Kiss concert at the age of eight and how profoundly it impacted him -- the music, the people passing joints, but mostly seeing the old man choking the guy behind them dressed like Gene Simmons and spilling beer on his dad's leather jacket.
Walker mentioned how he and Adams sort of formed a mutual admiration society on Twitter. When "Lucky Now" was released, Walker evidently Tweeted Adams (probably drunk, he reveals) to say "Fuck you, Ryan Adams, for writing such a good song!" He confessed to the crowd that he, like everybody else on hand tonight, is a fan of Adams. It's safe to say that many of those same people, at least the ones who caught his set, can now say the same of Walker -- if they weren't already, that is.
Personal Bias: Been a fan of Adams since the Whiskeytown days, and have always thought Heartbreaker contained some of his best work.
Random Detail: Although his guitar was plugged in, an additional condenser mike set up on a stand in front of his guitar enhanced the overall sound and dynamic range, allowing us to hear every nuance of the songs and his playing. Bonus Random Detail: The same shrill Shrek-like voice that played before the show last fall at Su Teatro (captured by That's The Thing About That), the one urging everybody to shut off their phones lest the ushers destroy you and burn your remains, played before last night's show.
By the Way: Adams surmised that the "one good song" remark the guy made was referring to "Come Pick Me Up," hands down the ringer song of the set. The crowd went absolutely bananas when he cued it up. Also, while "Nutshell" was dope, we would've straight-up killed for some "Round and Round."
Temple Buell Theatre - Denver, CO
01. Oh My Sweet Carolina
02. Ashes & Fire
03. If I Am a Stranger
04. Dirty Rain
05. My Winding Wheel
06. Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st)
07. Invisible Riverside
08. Everybody Knows
10. Let It Ride
11. Rescue Blues
12. Please Do Not Let Me Go
13. English Girls Approximately
14. Chains of Love
16. Lucky Now
18. New York, New York
20. The End
21. 16 Days
22. Come Pick Me Up
23. Nutshell (Alice In Chains cover)
24. When Will You Come Back Home?
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music