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Jenny Lewis at the Murat Amber Room

Jenny Lewis at the keyboard (I swear)
The only reason--and I mean the absolute only reason--I know about Jenny Lewis is because my girlfriend's a huge fan. For the uninitiated, Jenny Lewis is a solo singer/songwriter who was once a part of the bands Rilo Kiley and Jenny & Johnny.

Both of those groups offered up good, upbeat (mostly), well-rounded and in-offensive rock-and-roll with funny, sensitive lyrics about sex, relationships, drugs, careers, existential crises, and all the good stuff 20-somethings have to figure out how to deal with. Jenny basically does the same, only she's demonstrated the ability to mature and evolve at a satisfying rate; probably ensuring that she'll continue to have a career.

This kind of music is, in a word: Nice. You can play it when you're in the car with your mother, you can put it on in the background while you're doing house chores, you can play it while you're selecting what to watch on Netflix, and if you want you can delve a bit deeper and get some insights into life ("You are what you love/And not what loves you back"). The music's not going to make you want to kick a hole in the wall or light something on fire, or re-examine your entire place in the cosmos, or offend anyone's sensibilities or teach you any new words for various parts of the human anatomy, but...I kind of WANT my rock-and-roll to do that for me. Suffice it to say: This music is not particularly my "bag." That said, I don't mind having to listen to one of her albums every so often as a part of a healthy adult relationship. I even went to one of her shows...last night, in fact.

Jenny by herself is what you might expect as a continuation of her Rilo Kiley, J&J days; she's grown up a bit, leading her own band and all, and writing songs that (under at least minimal inspection) seem to traverse new and more mature poetic territory. Also seems to have a bit of a Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac vibe about her now; that sort of mystic (pun intended), once-wild child but now grown-up and wise, telling you about her old adventures with a subtle wink in her eye that suggests she's not competently done misbehaving yet. It doesn't hurt that she has a great voice...and that she's pretty damn sexy...and a great performer.

Maybe it was the size of the venue but she seemed to connect with the crowd in a rare way; half the time I thought she was singing to me...literally TO ME...as though she'd singled me out as particularly interesting and decided to dedicate the rest of her show to me. Even a day later, I'm still not convinced she's not going to call and ask me, personally, how I enjoyed the show. That's the level of stage-presence and chemistry we're talking about here.

There was a funny moment when she forgot the words to one of the songs from her new album--the first time they'd played it live, she said--and literally stopped the show (I'm talking dead stop, no music, while the band conferred) in order to figure out the lyrics so they could move on with the song. One of the cutest things I've ever seen at a rock show.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nice review! Spot on, really. And your girlfriend sounds cool.

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