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Crowd members raise their hands during a performance at the 2017 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival.

Emmalee Reed/Photographer

Ryan Adams entertains rock music fans at Roots N Blues with up-tempo music and edgy flare

Adams differentiated himself from the other acts at the festival by straying away from roots and blues music.

By Olivia Jackson | Oct. 4, 2017

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Ryan Adams set the tone from the minute he stepped on stage the evening of Sunday, Oct. 1, greeting the crowd with, “Are you ready to party?”

It was clear that they were.

Festivalgoer Blake Hamilton has been following Adams’ music for years now.

“I love Ryan Adams,” Hamilton said. “This is probably the sixth or seventh time I’ve seen him. I think he puts a lot of energy into [his performance]. I think that he’s a little shy, but when he gets up there he’s kind of funny, and he is who he is. He doesn’t put on a huge show. He just acts himself.”

Adams delivered a show that was different from most of the other artists of the weekend. The combination of powerful instruments and a gritty voice showed the audience that Adams was less roots and blues and more rock ‘n’ roll.

Kevin Gamble, a Ryan Adams fan in attendance, anticipated Adams’ set for this very reason.

“He’s probably the most rock ‘n’ roll show at the festival this year, so I’m looking forward to the contrast. [His music is] really up-tempo rock ‘n’ roll [with] little hints of retro mixed in and very personal lyrics,” Gamble said.

Anyone with a keen eye would have noticed an element to the show that was missing Sunday night. When examining the crowd and the press pit, there was no familiar flash of cameras. The reason behind this was explained before the show began.

The crowd was told that Adams suffers from a condition known as Ménière’s disease. This means the flash from cameras could trigger a seizure, so no flash photography was allowed.

This certainly did not detract from the quality of his performance. Judging by the reactions of the crowd, it was clear that Adams delivered the rock ‘n’ roll experience they’d all been expecting by performing songs such as “Do You Still Love Me?” and “Come Pick Me Up.”

Edited by Claire Colby | ccolby@themaneater.com

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