So back on Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins playing the Angel Orensanz Foundation last night. After an entire line of freezing indie fans watched an attempted car-break in (and a chase down by the cops), they finally let the crowd into AOF. The space was filled with lovely warm colored lighting, rich purples , reds and oranges. Twinkling white stars were projected onto the ceiling. The doors were left open all the way until the show started around 8pm, leaving a mighty big chill in the venue, so everyone was sitting down huddled together in their winter coats.
The old temple, with its sky-high vaults and imposing altar humbled audience members into conversing in hushed voices and stunning them into dead silence as soon as the show began. Jenny commented during the show that it was “so quite” which she found “nice.”
J. Lew and the Watson Twins opened the show by singing an a capella harmony as they walked from the darkness of the back of the synagogue, down the center aisle, and finally making their way onto the stage. The effect was haunting and beautiful–a feeling that stayed with me throughout the entire performance.
I really have never listened to Rilo Kiley at all, but for some reason when I first heard that Jenny Lewis was putting out a solo album, I was immediately interested in hearing it, and much to my great surprise, I loved the pretty blend of folk and country on Rabbit Fur Coat. Despite being 30-years-old, when J. Lew sings, her voice sounds very whimsical and girlish…although I couldn’t help but notice sometimes she sounds like…Jewel and her song lyrics can sometimes be cheesy. But overall, her melodies are absolutely stunning and delightful, so I would recommend that anyone who likes straight-on “purty music” to listen to Jenny’s stuff.
During the live performance last night, all of the same subtle nuances of her recorded material were able to shine through during this very special concert. I seriously cannot imagine a better venue to hear devastatingly precious songs like “Melt Your Heart,” “It Wasn’t Me” (with M.Ward) and “Rabbit Fur Coat” being performed. It was absolutely magical.
Then when she and Johnathan came out and sang “Cold Jordan” together at the end of the set, I just about shat my pants because it was too much cuteness for me to handle. Johnathan and Jenny are SO my indierock Heath and Michelle. He would just kinda look at her as he strummed on his guitar, and she would nod her head to him as she sang. Adorable. Everyone read along to the song after being instructed by Jenny to turn to the last page of our songbooks.
(Yes, everyone was handed a coral-colored program with song lyrics as they entered the venue. The program looked almost exactly like the poster they were selling, except the poster seemed to be just an 11×17 photocopy of the program cover, with the addition of the tour date on it. I instructed people to just go home and make a photocopy themselves rather than by a kinda ridiculous poster that you can make on your home computer in about 5 minutes. I THINK JENNY LEWIS FANS WOULD BY BOTTLED “JENNY LEWIS AIR” IF GIVEN THE CHANCE. Just a hunch.)
Run Devil Run/ The Big Guns/ Happy/ You Are What You Love/ Melt Your Heart/ The Charging Sky/ Un-named “New” Song/ Paradise/ Rabbit Fur Coat/ Rise Up with Fists/ Born Secular
More takes on the show: NY Times, BV, The Fader, Two-Hundredth Couch
Read more about Jenny here.