Sunday, June 14, 2009
I remember seeing Jenny Lewis in Troop Beverly Hills when I was a kid and being totally jazzed by seeing a red head get screen time. I guess you could say I had a little bit of a crush on her. Then all these years later she goes and gets even awesomer by proving her chops as a fantastic singer. First with Rilo Kiley then on her lonesome (two albums deep now for those of you just peaking out from under your rock). I've missed the opportunity to see her live show twice now so when I she came within proximity for a third time I cleared the schedule.
After what I witnessed on that stage at the Trocadero I am now fully enamored with Miss Lewis. Not only did her vocals continually impress for the entirety of her hour plus set but she worked that stage in a way that, regardless of your age, sex or persuasion you couldn't help but fall in love with her. She opened with Fernando which was an excellent way to charge out of the gates and show off the excellent band she has backing her on this tour. The percussion was a group effort and, in what is becoming a much appreciated live show trend, threw a full body display into playing it and Fernando never sounded better.
Jenny strutted through old, new and Riley pieces. She gave some of the songs a new twist and for the most part they were improvements upon the recorded versions. The male vocals on Carpetbagger were far greater than those contributed by Elvis Costello on Acid Tongue [yep I think his voice on that one song are distractingly nasally and almost ruin that great song]. Also, her solo version of Rilo Kiley's Silver Lining is slowed down sweeter take on a already fabulous track. Both are legitimate and I liked the variety.
The band started strong and only got stronger. Whether Jenny was holding her own on the guitar or the full ensemble was rocking out there was nary an off beat or sour note. The only weak point that my ears caught were slightly off back up vocals on Rise Up With Fists. The new piece she sang, Just Like Zeus (a nice ditty about hero worship) made me excited to hear the third album hopefully chasing Acid Tongue to the shelves.
Whether you came out of childhood affinity for Hannah Nefler, Rilo Kiley loyalty, or addiction to all things Ms Lewis I'm pretty sure you left as satisfied as I did. Don't let her pass you by.