Ryan Adams, Shepherds Bush Empire, review: Singer is still ripe for reinvention

Americana's former enfant terrible can still pull a surprise

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The Independent Culture

He may have sobered up in recent years, yet Americana's former enfant terrible can still pull a surprise – tonight by bringing on Johnny Depp to enthusiastically bash a guitar during an encore that features 'Mother' by heavy rockers Danzig.

Ryan Adams himself has lost none of the charisma that sustained a long career through seeming self-destructive periods, cured partly by marriage and a belated diagnosis for inner-ear disorder Ménière’s disease.

Indeed, with a new four-piece band The Shining in tow, for the best part of two hours Adams's is the only star quality needed.

He covers a fair swathe of his vast back catalogue, from the dusty haze of 'Dirty Rain' to the stirring acoustic pop of 'Come Pick Me Up'.

Some of the most vulnerable moments come from this year's eponymous album, his first in three years, in the hushed vulnerability of 'Shadows' and 'My Wrecking Ball'.

Mainly, though, The Shining brining an unfussy blue-collar sensibility, most markedly on the current record's drivetime-ready nuggets, the Tom Petty-style 'Give Me Something Good' and 'Am I Safe?'.

They stretch out with a cosmic take on the formerly rootsy 'Peaceful Valley', another sign this boyish 39-year-old is still ripe for reinvention.

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