By Kate Prendergast
It’s unusual attending a show when you’re far more into the support act than the headliner, it’s sort of like going to out to eat at an expensive restaurant, filling up on Soup Of The Day and barely touching your sirloin; I find myself in that predicament tonight with headliner Ryan Adams and the infectious First Aid Kit.
Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg make up that folky duo who open the show. After their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral online, their popularity has soaredand I’m full of anticipation to hear their fairy folksy tunes echo through the Roundhouse. The set design is in keeping with their new album ‘Stay Gold’ and both sisters are dressed in gold with hints of Amber and golden tones running through their stage design. Their 45 minute set starts and they whizz through their tracks. Standout songs such as ‘King Of The World’ and an eclectic mix of other new songs from the latest album display their evocative folksy tones perfectly. Klara is on guitar and Johanna on keyboard; whether it’s a jumpsuit or a pin-up dress, both shine gold, yet it is the ‘Silver Lining’ that many are concerned with tonight. Their rhythmic vocal tones and lacey lyrics on the megahit go down a treat in a crowd of devoted fans and freeby seeking folks.
The next track ‘Wolf’ has a hypnotic fast tribal beat, building on the energy both girls unleash their inner Nordic goddess, crying out in a controlled yet carefree way. Klara takes the mic and tells us how they were very lucky to tour and write with Jack White and subsequently they burst into playing ‘Love Interruption’ venting their inner rock chick, with lots of hair flicking and head banging. They play tribute to their beginnings and sing one of their standout tracks ‘Heaven Knows’ a simplistic country number that showcases their stunning vocal range. They effortlessly move onto ‘Lions Roar’ which starts off slow and sultry and then builds to a head banging crescendo with ballsy beats and is one of their most signature songs from the set. Crowd favourite ‘Emmylou’ signals the end of the set and is as sweet as grandma’s apple pie.
The Roundhouse starts to fill up with anticipation for Adams’ arrival. He has an array of electric guitars on display, along with the American flag with the peace sign and retro American war radio at the back of the stage. The stage backdrop displays all of the band members faces on show, as if we are about to watch the season premier of Boardwalk Empire.
The gig starts with a countdown clock and the crowd are all shouting out 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in unison, then Adams walks on to the stage in darkness and everyone has their phone out ready and poised for their photo shoot. Dressed in the boorish double denim (and pulling it off) Adams burst into tune with his latest song from his new self titled album ‘Give Me Something Good’ and belts out some true rockabilly beats. As he runs through his songs, next song ‘Fix It’ which the keyboardist kills as he sits behind the all American flag and the crowd are certainly pleased with the choice of running order so far. He slows it down for his third song of the set, ‘Dirty Rain’ and then takes it up a notch with ‘Stay With Me’ a heavier rockier sound from the set.
Adams comments on how poorly he is feeling and lost his voice right before set, And how he’s shot up with lots of cortisone and feels like the Incredible Hulk! You wouldn’t notice he has any vocal issues as his set is pitch perfect and energetic to the max.
We’re halfway through the set and Adams abandons his denim jacket and displays his geek chic in his batman t-shirt. Playing ‘When The Summer Ends’ and Adams jokes with the crowd about how 18 people knew his classic songs and how in 2 years we’ll all be going “ah man I was there when he played that!” He then plays a new song, which you can’t even get hold off, called ‘The Door’ and jokes how it has a super high falsetto and he currently sounds like a detective when he normally sounds like a 15 year old who’s drunk 2 litres of coke a cola (other brands are available). He wrote it about 5 years ago and reaches the falsetto with no problems, the crowd bursts into applauds and there is a serious amount of love in the room for Adams, poorly or not.
Things slow right down with classic song, ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ he mixes the tone of upbeat and times the slow numbers perfectly. This track really displays the talents of the rest of the musicians in the band. Adams really gets the British humour and reels off a story about how he was stoned when he saw Jessie J on YouTube and in the next breath says, “ok and now for a song about dead people” and rolls straight into ‘My Wrecking Ball’ this stripped back acoustic track from the new album is a standout track and personal highlight.
He follows this up with ‘Trouble’ another new song and it’s such a rocky tune, with his handful of die hard super fans belting out alongside Adams. It was a chilled out and laid back evening filled with folky tunes and rampant rock songs galore. Adams you are at the top of your game, long may it continue.