Tag Archives: The Voyager

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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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Jenny Lewis Entertainingly Shows Depth at Terminal 5

November 6th, 2014

Jenny Lewis – Terminal 5 – November 5, 2014

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(Photo: Eddie Bruiser)

In the years since Jenny Lewis’s band Rilo Kiley broke up, she has become a bona fide solo artist, honing and sharpening her songwriting skills and delivering her lyrics with a signature hint of twang and melancholy. In support of The Voyager, Lewis’s latest solo record, last night the artist treated a sold-out Terminal 5 to a lively, rainbow-hued evening of material from the album, complete with crowd-pleasing detours down memory lane to some Rilo Kiley favorites.

As an onstage presence, Lewis is confident and eminently jovial—strutting and posturing playfully during “Just One of the Guys” and “The Next Messiah,” and regaling the crowd with a comedic story that inspired to the vacation-gone-awry song “Aloha & the Three Johns.” Lewis’s fun-loving stage persona during these moments was an interesting counterpoint to the themes within much of her musical output over the years—songs that explore a cynical or wistful take on love and marriage, personal insecurities and perceived failures. The inner life that emerged in these songs added a layer of depth and intrigue to the stage show’s cheerful pop veneer while also providing a nice hint of irony during certain moments, particularly when large colorful balloons cascaded down on the crowd like giant gumballs as Lewis sang “Love U Forever,” a song with subtext far bleaker
than the title suggests.

Lewis closed out the night with The Voyager’s “She’s Not Me,” a completely catchy breakup song with an easy-listening vibe that nonetheless simmers with a certain sadness on the album. Yet when Lewis performed the number last night, smiling and dancing with her band, it felt much more empowering, almost triumphant—another example of the performer’s many understated complexities. —Alena Kastin

(Jenny Lewis plays the Space at Westbury tonight.)