Party People: Ryan Adams, Kurt Vile, Tommy Stinson bring XPNFest night one to a close - WXPN
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Ryan Adams | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

“No lectures tonight,” Ryan Adams told the crowd at the BB&T Pavillion last night. “Let’s just have some fun.”

In part, it felt like a dig at his fellow Los Angeleno Father John Misty – who played a very polarizing performance at Wiggins Park earlier in the day. It was also a bit of a nod to the admittedly mercurial tone of his own Philly gigs with The Shining in recent years. They always rock hard, no doubt, but sometimes the interaction is minimal. Other times its aggressive, like when an oblivious fan at the Tower Theater insisted on repeatedly shooting flash photos of Adams – who has been very open about his meniere’s disease and how difficult it makes performing with bright lights – and so the singer gave the fan a piece of his mind.

There was none of that last night. For his headlining XPoNential Music Festival set, Adams opened up with that call to have fun and a shout out all the party people in the house – and true to that, he and The Shining seemed to be having the absolute best time up there.

Ryan Adams | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Ryan Adams | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Stacking four hits up top (“Trouble” and “Gimmie Something Good” from 2014’s self-titled to “New York, New York” and “When The Stars Go Blue” from Gold), Adams launched into the fierce thrash / punk rage of Heartbreaker‘s “Shakedown on 9th Street” and “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High).” Later, we got into the spaced-out Grateful Dead-esque segment of the show with “Magnolia Mountain” and “Cold Roses.” And Adams pranked his bandmate by having two people in occult robes sneak up behind guitarist Mike Viola on “Stay With Me.” “I spent a lot of time today working that out,” Adams said. And throughout it all was incredible banter.

He joked about weed-smoking security guards busting audience members for smoking weed – “this whole situation is canceling itself out.” He gave a shoutout to World Cafe host David Dye, watching from the front row – “We’re so lucky to have him. How many cool bands have you found out about from that guy? A BUNCH.” Next break, he said “You guys, David Dye’s phone is blowing up right now. I bet he signs his texts ‘David Dye OUT.’ And he has his own emoji, a radio with a lightning bolt.”

“Halloweenhead” brought the energy back up, with Viola giving a shoutout to John Carpenter’s Halloween – “Haddonfield in the house!” – and the band slamming around the stage in garage rock abandon, the audience screaming in delight. When the rowdy crowd hollered requests (an Adams pet peeve) during a quiet tune-up moment between songs, he and The Shining improved a song called “Frank Star” about people who holler requests during quiet tune-up moments between songs. A powerful “Peaceful Valley,” wrapped up in rocketing guitar interplay, blasted the set to its pinnacle, before “Come Pick Me Up” served as the denouement guiding us till midnight.

Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Philly’s Kurt Vile played a fantastic set of his own, pulling mostly from last year’s b’lieve i’m goin down and 2013’s Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze. Vile reminisced about his first time at the BB&T Pavillion – “I saw Lollapalooza here when I was 15. That was, like, five years ago.” He and The Violators locked into a mediative groove and rode it out, particularly evocatively on the dreamy ten minutes of “Goldtone.”  On the other end of the spectrum, “Pretty Pimpin” and “KV Crimes” thundered and rocked, and got people out of their seats to sway along. Vile maintained his trademark stance, hunched over, hair in his face – Ryan Adams compared him to “two mops that ran into each other” – but the sounds coming out of him and the Violators were bigger than ever.

Opening the night was a performance from Replacements co-founder Tommy Stinson, who was joined onstage by Adams at one point – a modern icon jamming with one of his heroes, too cool.

XPNFest continues today — stay tuned all day for more coverage!

Ryan Adams setlist
Trouble
Gimmie Something Good
New York, New York
When The Stars Go Blue
Shakedown on 9th Street
To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
Stay With Me
Let It Ride
Magnolia Mountain
Oh My Sweet Carolina
Halloweenhead
Cold Roses
Frank Star
Everybody Knows
Peaceful Valley
Come Pick Me Up

Kurt Vile setlist
Jesus Fever
I’m an Outlaw
Goldtone
Pretty Pimpin’
Wakin’ On A Pretty Day
KV Crimes
Stand Inside

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