Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Night at the Variety with Jenny Lewis

Though the stock market is tanking and wall street looks more like a roller coaster, you can rest assured that you'll always get your money's worth with Ms. Jenny Lewis. Tonight was the third time I've seen her light up the Variety Playhouse and once again she was soulful, playful and slung words like vodka tonics on well-drink night.

Like the great woman June Carter Cash who came before her, Jenny's presence and voice are simultaneously peach pie sweet and deserted-cabin-in-the-woods eerie. Surrounded by her five-piece band that didn't hold back an ounce, she commanded attention. I was happy to see her sense of humor more evident this time, making fun of herself and melodramatizing some of her more silly lines.

This time around Jenny is promoting her week-old album Acid Tongue, which boasts some real gems; my favorites are the opener Black Sand and the Loretta Lynn-inspired title track Acid Tongue. A high point of tonight's show was the epic song Last Messiah -- the album version of this song does it no justice-- with its dirty guitar, different personalities and lyrics that threaten arrest. In addition to a catalogue of the new songs, we were treated to bluesy versions of some of her oldies but goodies like You Are What You Love, the Charging Sky and Rise Up with Fists.

The only down point was the first encore, my least favorite song of the album Sing a Song for Them. It's cheese - mild cheddar at that - and for final songs my taste is more like smokin' gouda. You can count on Jenny to redeem herself though and that she did with a fiery See Fernando, a cowgirl-meets-dealer tongue twister of an anthem.

Jenny Lewis' country-gospel heart and lyrical tartness is totally worth investing in.


Sara Ashes said...

I just realized the bizarre coincidence that I wrote about seeing her one year ago this very day. A great way to kick off magical October!

Tara said...

Uh so jealous. She was here for the ACL weekend. I missed her at both of her shows! I didn't have a Friday pass to ACL and I couldn't afford the ticket cost for her other show. But luckily she comes to Austin often.