Tuesday night, Jenny Lewis debuted her new band at an intimate show at The Roxy in West Hollywood as she begins playing new songs from her forthcoming album, The Voyager.
Lewis took longtime fans of hers on an emotional roller coaster, mixing in new songs with songs from her days as the front woman of Rilo Kiley as well as select songs from her earlier solo albums. Fans waited anxiously for an hour once doors opened, swapping Jenny stories like they were baseball cards. One fan at the front was believable in saying he hadn’t missed a Jenny Lewis or Rilo Kiley show in California in about a decade as he recalled opening bands and song selections with impressive memory.
As the curtain came up, Jenny Lewis banged on the keyboards to a relatively new song she played on her last tour, the poppy and catchy “Head Underwater”. That song rolled right into “Silver Lining”, the top single from the last true Rilo Kiley release Under the Blacklight seven years ago. Though she often played the song solo acoustically, this version featured her full six-person gender equal band rocking it out.
In between taking fans back in time, Lewis and company played through new songs off her forthcoming album for the first time. Of the new tracks, “Love U Forever” and “She’s Not Me” towards the latter part of the set were the most memorable.
When Lewis began strumming the opening parts of throwback Rilo Kiley track “A Man/Me/Then Jim”, the previously mentioned superfan said “I haven’t heard this since The Grove…”
The beautiful heart stopping ballad “Melt Your Heart” from her debut solo album Rabbit Fur Coat had the crowd so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
That contrasted nicely with the song that closed her set two songs later, “A Better Son/Daughter”. Another throwback, that Rilo Kiley featured a full crowd sing along. It served as a reminder that nobody can sing the word “f*ck” quite as well as Jenny Lewis, as she belted out the line “Sometimes when you’re on, you’re really F*CKING on…”, with everyone coming along for the ride.
As per a usual staple of her shows, Lewis brought out her friends from the back to sing along in her encore to “Acid Tongue”, the perfect campfire song if there ever was one. Lewis left fans wanting more with “She’s Not Me” from the upcoming new album, which based on how it sounded live, will be a must buy.
Though it was considered to be a warm up show for Lewis’ new band, they sounded like they’ve been on tour for months based on how loose they seemed. It was a set devoid of mistakes and Lewis brought that girl next door charm that had men and women alike swooning over her throughout her set.
Words: Mark E. Ortega
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