Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, January 15, 2004 ]


On December 7th, 2001, I attended (along with Bob and a few others) a Ryan Adams show at Madison's Barrymore Theatre that has grown to live in infamy. Ryan was in full enfant terrible mode, drunk, shouting at hecklers and humping the large cut-out of Darth Vader positioned on stage. It was a show that, even though I remembered a few highlights, seemed more or less a two-and-a-half-hour jack-off, in which songs went on too long and breaks between songs went on forever. (Add that to the fact that he went on an hour after the opening act left the stage, and the whole thing collapsed under the weight of it's own isn't-that-cute raggedness.) I left before it was over, and I was not happy when I did. The show ended up becoming the topic of discussion in NO DEPRESSION magazine, and it even got some mention in a GQ article profiling Ryan's antics.

Anyway, I got ahold of a copy of the show yesterday, bootlegged from the soundboard. I don't know what it is, but I find myself REALLY digging the show, even with its increasingly haphazard presentation and slightly off-kilter song/arrangement choices. There are moments on there when Ryan Adams really shows why he's the boy-of-the-moment, and even the stuff that annoyed me at the Barrymore - like the snippy insults and endless delays between songs - don't annoy me that much. (For those who were there, you might remember his attempt to play pedal steel on a version of John Anderson's "Swingin," which doesn't sound any better or more charming on the bootleg.)

I can honestly say that I never thought I'd find myself appreciating that gig, but I've played this two-disc set two times through, and more to come. As the great philosophers Aerosmith once said, it's amazing...the blink of an eye and you finally see the light. Or something like that.

On the box right now: Ryan Adams, SMOKING KILLS: LIVE AT THE BARRYMORE, Disc 2.


Dove With Claws [8:02 AM]

[ Monday, January 12, 2004 ]


I suppose outrage will get you nowhere, but that doesn't mean it's not important to occassionally feel your blood boil. Righteous indignation's the name of the game, at least at times. I couldn't help but feel some today, when former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill admitted that Dubya wanted to go to war with Iraq before 9/11, and that the intelligence was flimsy. This is no surprise to anybody who was paying fucking attention the past year, but it's nice - and maddening - to hear someone who used to be on the inside come clean about the realities of this stupid fucking war. I hope people take notice of this, particularly the Democratic Party, since the only way to beat Bush is to make him look like the liar he is. Whether it'll work remains to be seen.

I don't know if I've mentioned this previously, but watch BLOODY SUNDAY. It's an amazing, documentary-like film about the massacre perpetrated by the British army against unarmed Irish civil-rights marchers on January 30, 1972. 13 died, 14 more were wounded, and most folks point to that incident as the beginning of the "golden age" (pardon the expression) of IRA violence and "the Troubles." The film is beautifully done, and it's harrowing in the way the best films of this sort are. See it.

On the box right now: Public Enemy, FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET


Dove With Claws [9:31 PM]