Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jenny Lewis @Music Hall of Williamsburg, June 9th

The Hotness aka Jenny Lewis came back for a small venue gig at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and like always, I dug her something bad. In contrast to the first time I saw her without Rilo Kiley over three years ago at Angel Orensanz promoting her first solo effort, Rabbit Fur Coat, with the (kinda creepy but not-so-much any more) Watson Twins, Jenny was much looser this time, especially having toured her second solo album, Acid Tongue, a whole bunch by now. This gig was quite a treat -- she had more diverse material from which to pull, and even opened with a beautiful solo acoustic "Silver Lining" from Rilo Kiley's last album. Plus, we got to hear her fun cover of The Traveling Wilburys' "Handle Me With Care" (see below), which I believe was missing from that 2006 show.

I still think her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, reminds me of the poor man's Michael Pitt, but, Jenny, man....le *sigh*.

"Trying My Best To Love You":

"Handle Me With Care":

"Acid Tongue":

Oh, and we did get to see the opener, Deer Tick, about whom I knew nothing other than da blogs love 'em. They were a fun mix of country, rock and jangly blues, which kept me entertained, including fun covers of Tom Petty's "Breakdown" and John Cougar Mellencamp's "Authority." Their lead singer had kind of a nasally, whiny voice that took me some getting used to, but once I settled in, it worked, I suppose.

The Dears @Bowery Ballroom, May 4th

I loved The Dears something fierce a few years ago. Their stellar album, No Cities Left, was one of my favorite CDs to play in 2005, and still remains a classic to me. Thanks to The Music Slut, I was able to attend this show, older and wiser, and perhaps more weary, too.

The magnetic frontman, Murray Lightburn, started off the show with a stirring vocal hymnal, slowing winding his way from the back of the room to the stage, which was shrouded in darkness. From there, they played a set which drew upon many familiar tunes from the aforementioned No Cities Left as well as their follow up, Gang of Losers. They also played newer material from a new release. Unfortunately, the show felt very disjointed to me, and what I once adored about their music -- the moody quality -- perhaps only added to the sense of discombobulation.

And, while no fault of the band, I was further frustrated by so-called fans who talked at great length during the show while they were standing right fucking up front! Geez Louise! You'd think people who bothered learning all the lyrics to a band's repertoire (and trust me, they did sing along) would fucking shut up and respect the musicians above them. This one couple, in particular, raised my ire, when they had the nerve to grab the setlist even before the show was over with a few songs still to go. I had to admonish them out of a sense of outrage, and only then did they begrudgingly replace the setlist. Oh, the sense of entitlement these twats had! Yes, The Dears were clearly here to play for just you, and no one else!

Oh well, the magic The Dears once held for me was already kind of over by that point. At least they did close with my favorite track, "22: The Death Of All The Romance." Yes, truly the death indeed.

Blind Pilot @Mercury Lounge, March 31st

I often enjoy the random indie band my friend Shana introduces me to, and Blind Pilot was no exception. They are a mellow group of talented musicians with beautiful harmonies that reminded me a lot of the time I saw Bowerbirds open for Bon Iver (another Shana find). I may never go nuts about them like I would bigger bands, but their quiet, hook-filled music proved the perfect antidote to a hectic, long New York City day.

Here's "Go On, Say It" from their debut album, 3 Rounds And A Sound:

We also caught the opener, The Broken West, whom we had seen exactly two years prior open for The Long Winters at the very same venue. The band seemed less raw this time, but perhaps still relegated to opener status....