A brief introduction to Ryan Adams for the uninitiated - he’s a rock/country singer from Carolina who’s released a new album every year or two since the turn of the century; some of them truly fantastic. A brief introduction to Easy Tigers for the uninitiated - they’re an Edinburgh-based band inspired by Adams (they’re named after an album of his), with a great sound and a nice energy to their playing. The two make a good mix.
You wouldn’t have to be an avowed Adams fan to enjoy this
Given that they’re such big fans of his, you’d expect Easy Tigers to relish an evening with just Adams' songs, and they clearly see the whole event as a real treat (at one point the evening is described as one of “pure indulgence” for them). We kick off with a gorgeous rendition of Shadowlands – the band has brought on a string quartet and they really wallow in the emotional heft of the song. This moves on to My Winding Wheel and again the band seem to really relish what’s great about Adams: those aching vocals, the long, tremoring chords fizzling out into the air in the background of the song.
The venue has turned the gig into an all-seated affair which I think is a mistake – the result is a reserved and respectful audience, which isn’t exactly what the band is after. They want a party, and we’re exhorted to “go and drink as much as you can during the interval so you can come back and shout at us”. I don’t know if the audience follows this advice, but the show really takes off in the second half. The band launches into a string of lively hits from Adams’ two undisputedly classic early albums, Gold and Heartbreaker. The band run through Firecracker, New York, New York and Harder Now that it’s Over and the tone and tempo have changed. They’re properly rocking out, people are up and dancing, and they bring a string of friends on to help them out with the songs – figures clearly popular in the local music scene.
You wouldn’t have to be an avowed Adams fan to enjoy this: his output is varied enough, and the band dot about enough, that liking anything under the vague banner of ‘rock music’ should be sufficient for finding something here to like. The show builds to a great finish; there’s a nice duet of Oh My Sweet Carolina and a foot stomping, loud, wild cover of To Be Young (Is to be Sad, Is to be High) which gets all the crowd on their feet. The band’s good-humoured all the way through, and despite a few long breaks for tuning between songs which somewhat harm the tempo of the show, the night is a blast.