The Ryan Adams Comedy Hour Last Night was Awesome
I'd bet money that Ryan Adams was on Ritalin as a kid. And I say this not only because he has that kind of manic genius about him that so many hyper kids have, but because for the entirety of last night's show, he was grabbing spare attention any way he could -- even though he was already the focal point. Adams turned the packed-out Fox Theater into an impromptu comedy show, interspersing classic Cardinals songs with rambling jokes and improved blues riffs. And he wasn't the only one. Father John Misty played his show for laughs too, throwing in deadpan one-liners in the middle of his songs, at one point announcing, "This one's a real panty-dropper."
Courtesy of PAX AM
Maybe opener Jeremy Messersmith didn't get the memo about the improv theme, because his show was widely devoid of any chatty interlude. He admitted as much, saying "I'm not too good at the whole stage banter thing so how about just the regular 'How you folks doin' tonight? Rock and Roll!'" Messersmith played a clipped set that opened with his big hit to this point, Tourniquet, arguably his most solid of the night. It's easy to see the potential star power in the driving rhythms and huge sound. In fact, most of the set sounded like sad, pang-ing road trip music. If you've ever left behind everything you loved and driven across the dusty plains to freedom and the great unknown, then Jeremy Messersmith is so your jam.
Father John Misty took the stage looking like a kindly old hobo, complete with floppy hat and a loose-fitting suit. Fans familiar with his usual brand of heartfelt dream-folk were probably surprised by his presentation as a folksy troubadour dispensing yuks to the crowd. Most everyone didn't really know what to think, especially since the first words out of his mouth - something about how bad radio music is - were seemingly an insult to the radio-sponsored show.
He seemed to win the crowd over, though. The folks next to me were in hysterics over lyrics that I had always thought of as sad. Maybe it was his presentation. He had the air of someone who wants to be serious but is too self-conscious to be taken seriously, so they make constant jokes. A couple songs in, he tore the giant hat off his head and threw it down. "That's a goofy-ass hat...my hair is in that Eddie Vedder stage though. And with my voice, I don't want to be an exact doppelganger of that guy. Much as I care about social issues and all."
Misty sounded nothing like the pickle-in-mouth-singing King of Grunge, for what it's worth. Stripped-down versions of "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" and "Nancy" allowed Father John Misty's voice and his deep, broody lyricism to shine. But it's almost a shame because these songs are so big and dreamy in the studio versions that it's hard not to feel like something is missing.