Friday, May 17, 2013

Ryan Adams "Goodnight Rose"

Nothing like a roomful of drunk geeks.

Or in this case, a roomful of drunk music geeks.

This week, Barbara Dacey is at the Non-Commvention in Philadelphia.  It's a gathering of radio folks from non-commercial stations and record company folks who promote bands that these stations might play.  And the labels bring bands who have new records to perform for this industry crowd.

What's it like?

It's been a few years since I've been to the Non-Comm, but the last time I was there was when Ryan Adams had his album "Easy Tiger" out.

I'm not sure if this was a period before or after Adams got sober, or what state of mind he was in at this point.  One could only guess, based on his stage presence.

He came out, to a packed and awaiting theater, filled mostly with excited industry/fans, and a large, lucky-feeling contingent of listeners.

He and his band, The Cardinals, took seats on the stage, sitting in a semi-circle, their chairs pushed as far to the back of the stage as possible, creating a gulf of hardwood between the band and the first row of concert-goers.

The lights on the stage were turned down as low as they could possibly go.

Adams himself sat in his chair, wearing a hoodie with the hood up.

And sunglasses.

And he also appeared to be wearing a shower cap.


He said nothing to the crowd for the entire show, except right before the last song, when he gave a fairly insincere, prefunctory sounding, "Thanks.  We're really honored to be here.  Good night."

He left the stage after he sang his last line, but before The Cardinals had completed the final song.

A forty minute set was over in 39 1/2 minutes.

Back at the hotel, in the bar, the debate began.

"Can you fucking believe that guy?  Rude!"

"What?  Were you listening?  They were amazing!"

It was true.  They sounded impeccable.

"But doesn't a performer have a responsibility to entertain? "

"Or at least be gracious?

"Or at a minimum, not show contempt for the audience?"

"You guys are hung up on bullshit.  He's there to play music.  And the music was incredible."


"That was a bullshit set."

And on and on it went like that.  Drunk people who do nothing but talk and think about music for a living, talking about something they could sink their teeth into.  And doing it while kinda drunk.  If you were on the inside, it was a blast.  If you weren't interested, it was probably intolerable and interminable.

That's what Non-Comm is like.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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