Jenny Lewis @ the Bluebird TheaterBy | September 22nd, 2008 | No Comments »
Jenny Lewis is more than just a pretty face — although the Rilo Kiley lead singer is that, too. Photos by Lucia De Giovanni.
Jenny Lewis is really pretty. And Jenny Lewis knows this. Even though her body of musical work is solid enough to stand alone, Lewis uses this ability to be pretty to elevate the impact of her live shows. And it sure works.
Lewis’ unassumingly sexy show at the Bluebird Theater Thursday night was packed with a mellow mix of girls, dads and couples, the balcony full and the floor almost to capacity. Dressed in a bib-overalls/hot pants combination and signature smooth and thick bangs lying just over her brow, Lewis wandered on stage as her guitar player picked through “Home on the Range.”
Lewis sat down at her upright, starting the evening with “Jack Killed Mom,” her long red hair dancing along the top of the piano keys as she kissed the unsteady microphone. Followed by “Pretty Bird” and “The Charging Sky,” Lewis got up from the bench and grabbed her guitar to play along with the 6-piece band that stretched across the entire stage.
The band was stripped down to just drums and bass guitar, and Lewis sat back down at the piano for a stunning version of “Black Sand,” from her fourth-coming release, “Acid Tongue.” With the stage lights rising again, Lewis gave a shout-out to local restaurant and vegetarian Mecca Watercourse, and the audience clapped and shouted back with pride.
Endlessly flirting with the audience, Lewis swayed the neck of her guitar about, smiling coyly through “Badman’s World,” a song typifying her trademark diary entry-style subject matter. Singing “Carpetbaggers” instrument-less, Lewis rested her hands on her hips, shifting her porcelain legs to the beat, stomping and howling with a delightful smile on pouty pink lips.
Standing opposite the band as they gathered around a microphone at stage right, Lewis crooned a stunning rendition “Acid Tongue,” playing perfectly over the six-voice back-up harmony. The band went back to their instruments and the group performed a baptismal fire-like “Next Messiah,” Lewis pawing at the audience seductively with her graceful hands.
To finish the set, Lewis again sat at her piano for one last song and left the band to jam as she traipsed off stage. The stage went black for a moment, before she returned with guitarist Jonathan Rice for a sweet and somber duet of “Love Hurts.” Resting on the bench of her upright for the last time, Lewis led the band in “Godspeed” before jumping up and shimmying through “Fernando,” bending to the floor to sing face-to-face with the crowd.
Equal parts indie pin-up goddess and earnest musician, Jenny Lewis is what I wish I could be: whip-smart, pretty and talented, a woman who holds the upper hand in the bat of an eyelash. Why have I been bothering fawn over Ashlee Simpson and Kate Perry all of this time when I could have just been enjoying the real thing in Jenny Lewis instead?
Lucia De Giovanni is a Denver photographer and regular Reverb contributor.