Jenny Lewis at The Moore Theatre
May 21, 2019 in Seattle
Words by AJ Dent; Photos by Andy Perkovich
“Took a little trip up north / in a borrowed convertible red Porsche…”
With Jenny Lewis, life is a low-brow, sky-high tall tale. Each emotion is worth a melody, and every relationship, a short ‘n bittersweet ballad. Her penchant for fanciful songwriting has made me a fan for over a decade now.
Lewis animated The Moore Theatre on May 21 with her signature countryesque croon and unforgettable flair. Touring in support of her latest album, On The Line, she opened with “Heads Gonna Roll” and “Wasted Youth,” filling the room with her expansive vocals and piano playing.
Soon, bops from her other two solo albums appeared, including “Head Underwater” from The Voyager, and “See Fernando” off Acid Tongue. I was pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of three tunes from Rabbit Fur Coat, a 2006 LP with the Watson Twins: “Big Guns,” “Happy,” and “Born Secular.”
The latter, a harmony-heavy, agnostic hymn, transitioned perfectly into “With Arms Outstretched,” by one of my all-time favorite bands, Rilo Kiley. Lewis was the lead singer of this indie-rock outfit until its breakup in 2014. While I’m crossing my fingers for a Rilo reunion tour someday, it was still satisfying that she performed another one of their hits, “Silver Lining,” that night.
With the glitz of Dolly Parton, the amor of Zooey Deschanel, and the crossover charm of both, Lewis loomed bright onstage. (Did you know she was a child actor, and also appeared in dozens of teen movies in the 90s?) After the song “Do Si Do”, which features lyrics like “Make a grown man cry / it’s suicide, my oh my”, she gave a shout-out to the greatness of Anthony Bourdain. I also appreciated that she capped off her hit “She’s Not Me” by announcing, “My body, my choice, y’all!”
She soon told the tale of how Seattle-based Barsuk Records gave Rilo Kiley their big break, eliciting wild cheers from the audience. At a theatre show where I’d expected people to stay seated the entire time, Lewis’ famous ooh’s and woos had the whole first floor standing up through the finale.
Before ending the encore with “Acid Tongue”, she sang “Dogwood”—which, to me, is pure Jenny Lewis ethos, an emphatic example of what keeps me enthralled by her scampy storytelling:
“The dogwood’s in bloom / take off your shoes … There’s nothing we can do / but screw and booze.”
Check out more of Andy’s photos in the album for this show on our Flickr page.