Tag Archives: Nice as Fuck

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Jenny Lewis Celebrates a Tenth Anniversary in Style

September 15th, 2016

Jenny Lewis – Capitol Theatre – September 14, 2016

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More than a decade ago in San Francisco, I patiently perched in a stairwell awaiting the live debut of Ms. Jenny Lewis’s initial solo effort, Rabbit Fur Coat. Sure I grew up watching Troop Beverly Hills, but what fascinated me was how she seamlessly dipped in and out of formidable bands like Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes and the Postal Service. Lewis always has been a thoughtful songwriter and it especially showed in her time with Rilo Kiley, however this next step pushed the singer into a career all her own. She and her backup singers, the Watson Twins, were late due to traffic but well worth the wait as they glided down the aisle holding candles to approach the stage—it was an unforgettable show in an intimate 250-seat venue. When word got out that the trio would take out the record for a 10th-anniversary spin, I had to be there. Previously selling out two Beacon Theatre shows last winter, Lewis returned with the twins to play Capitol Theatre last night.

The trio, donning the dresses from the album cover, entered stage right singing in harmony to open with “Run Devil Run,” candles in their hands just as they had years prior. The room was flooded with nostalgia as they played Rabbit Fur Coat in its entirety with a full band. Gems included lap-steel accompaniment on “Happy” and Lewis returning post-wardrobe change to croon the title track in a black embroidered jumpsuit complete with fringe. Although missing the backing vocals of M. Ward and Ben Gibbard, “Handle with Care” fleshed out the classic cover with additional guitar. The petite singer added a heavy dose of electric organ on “Born Secular” to fill the room, but it was her soaring vocals that sent chills to fans’ hearts.

After a brief intermission, Lewis emerged to play largely from her latest album, The Voyager. A gentleman politely asked if it was OK to stand for “Just One of the Guys” and was soon joined by another man. The catalog was broken by a cover of the Shirelles“I Met Him on a Sunday,” performed a cappella by the trio. But the real treat was a deep dive into the Rilo Kiley days for the soul-infused “I Never,” which Lewis dedicated to the Cap’s most frequent artist, Phil Lesh. The oldie was paired amongst her most recent work with New York City band NAF (Nice as Fuck), on “Door.” Dueling guitar solos concluded the evening on the crowd pleasing “She’s Not Me,” and there was no doubt that 10 years later, the storied album holds up. —Sharlene Chiu

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Nice as Fuck Connect with Sold-Out Crowd at The Bowery Ballroom

August 2nd, 2016

Nice as Fuck – The Bowery Ballroom – August 1, 2016

Nice as Fuck - The Bowery Ballroom - August 1, 2016
The band is called NAF—Nice as Fuck—a name that feels buried in layers of Twitter-ready hipster irony, but, maybe, quite possibly they really are that nice. The crowd at the sold-out early show at The Bowery Ballroom last night was certainly fond of the trio, a “supergroup” consisting of Jenny Lewis (vocals and keyboards), Erika Forster (bass) and Tennessee Thomas (drums). With the mid-summer sunlight still peeking in through the back windows, you might have said the show was “early as fuck,” but no matter, when the three took their places, not onstage but in the middle of the floor, all wearing the NAF uniform of Nice as Fuck T-shirts, army-fatigue jackets and black berets, the normally staid Ballroom security somehow became hype men, helping getting the crowd riled, the room was ready as fuck to party.

The performance was a run through of their self-titled album, nothing more, nothing less. “Runaway” opened the set, Forster’s bass filling the room from the center like some chocolate-bar nougat, Lewis’s vocals echoing from above and behind—and from where I was standing, as good a voice of God as you could ask for. She circled around throughout, making eye contact and sometimes physical contact with the crowd, like an indie-rock Oprah connecting with the masses. The audience, majority female, responded in kind: bouncing and singing and dancing along with Lewis and company.

“Cookie Lips” was introduced with the announcement that Forster was six-months pregnant, which made me appreciate what effect that rubber-band bass playing might have. The sound remained steady and simple throughout, bass and drums getting funky as fuck with Lewis imparting wisdom like “Get high, get low, get weird,” approaching a self-help mantra. Still, in this complicated world, the simplicity and fun of NAF was welcome. The set’s highlight came toward the end with “Guns,” Lewis and the rest of the crowd singing, “I don’t want to be afraid, put your guns away,” peace signs aloft, a message that was clear as fuck, in as nice a way as possible, of course. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com