all photos: Ethan Arpi
While most DCists were glued to Thursday night’s VP debates, Jenny Lewis dropped into town and provided a well-received and much needed apolitical distraction from the evening’s mudslinging. Power-loading more spunk, charm, and talent into one song than Sarah Palin can crush into a night full of oratories, Jenny Lewis was keener than a pitbull with lipstick at its best.
The show was kicked off with an acapella “Run Devil Run” processional through the Sixth & I Synagogue led by Jenny Lewis in a long emerald dress. Immediately upon arriving on stage the band went into a twangy interpretation of oldie, “Charging Sky.” Songs off of new album Acid Tongue—like biker-melody “The Next Messiah,” and whiskey-infused dirge “Jack Killed Mom”—introduced Jenny’s new badass blue-collar sound. Her fresh bluesy sass gracefully seeped into reinvented renditions of “You Are What You Love” and “Rise Up With Fists” from Jenny’s first album, Rabbit Fur Coat.
Her questionably ironic cover of “Love Hurts” performed as a duet with rock star boyfriend Jonathan Rice was probably one of the night’s lamer moments, but Jenny kept it real with soulful rustbelt ballads “Pretty Bird” and “Acid Tongue.” The highlight was—as usual—Jenny’s honey-glazed powerhouse voice which was finally given proper justice thanks to the synagogue’s striking acoustics.
Truth be told, I miss the Watson Twins, but Jenny Lewis’ new backup band made up of boyfriend and super-talented friends Jonathan Wilson, Barbara Gruska, Blake Mills, and David Scher gives Jenny some street-cred again after accusations of “selling out.” Jenny’s new country sound empowers her to put away her sparkly leggings and reinvent her squeaky clean melodies by getting her guitar a little dirty.
Benji Hughes also warmed the crowd up and rocked some faces off pre-Jenny Lewis.