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Shaky Knees Music Festival 2017 Review: The 10 Best Performances

on May 15, 2017, 3:10pm

05. Ryan Adams


Only Ryan Adams with his brash yet charming perfectionism would make a crack about redoing a solo screwed up by a broken string, then actually carry it out to prove just how incredible it was supposed to be.

The hilarious but badass highlight occurred closer to the end of the North Carolina songwriter’s Sunday evening set to close out the Piedmont stage. As he and his band burst into the borderline-desert-rock extended breakdown of “Magnolia Mountain” – “the part that sounds like Steely Dan are mad,” as he put it – a string snapped mid-solo, and though he finished it nearly seamlessly in true rock star form with only a brief pause to plug in a new guitar rushed out by a roadie, he insisted on the second take.

“That was such bullshit! That was my shred moment, and it got fucked up! Fuck it, I’m doing it anyway” he exclaimed, cuing up his crew and then stepping out onto the stagefront speakers to strike his best glam-rock pose for the solo’s reprise.

The moment was one of many where Adams asserted his typical hilarious snarkiness – he repeatedly claimed his band was “the new-material Shins,” whose sound bled faintly from across the field, and at one point joked that a song-requester shouting from the crowd would be disappointed when he found out the rest of the set would be Rush covers. Yet, those were merely an entertaining addendum to instances of grace from his vast catalog (“Two”, “When the Stars Go Blue”), highlights from his fantastic new Americana album, Prisoner (“Do You Still Love Me?”, “Doomsday”, and “Outbound Train”), and Southern-tinged rock tour de force (“Shakedown on 9th Street”). All proof that – despite his spats of silliness – Adams inevitable asserts himself as one of the most seriously prolific songwriters of the past two decades every time he steps on stage.

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