How can you not love Jenny Lewis? Bounding around on stage, wearing that jacket for what appears to be all of 2014 (we hope it gets a good dry clean in between shows), and churning out quite possibly the best album of the year in the form of The Voyager, she’s become quite the institution in our lives (we still can’t get enough of Rabbit Fur Coat, really).
Watching Lewis on stage for the first time tonight feels like a masterclass in performance. It’s quite the jack-in-the-box beginning – kicking off with Silver Lining, she soon meanders into her spectacular one-two punch of Head Underwater and Just One Of The Guys – still the finest feminist missive – and then back to Acid Tongue‘s more solemn Pretty Bird. So far, so level. Till The Next Messiah and Slippery Slopes kick off and Lewis bursts free.
If there’s any disappointment tonight, it’s that London couldn’t match Lewis’s verve and energy, rocking as she did across the stage without missing a beat or a note. Each song ached with charisma, whether it’s the pin-sharp harmonies of Bad Man’s World (seriously spine-tingling) or the way she slices social malaise with nonchalant wit on Rise Up With Fists! and You Are What You Love (both still sounding ahead of their time, though the latter gets a cute ‘texting’ update). And although the repartee is sparse, there are few singers who can spin a colourful yarn and then, tonight of all nights, lead into the most endearing 9/11 break-up song.
Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast recently tweeted that Lewis peddles ‘dad-rock’ – she meant it as a compliment, of course, but it still felt like a bit of a dirty phrase. It’s obvious tonight that Jenny Lewis is so much more than that cheap label; whatever you decide to call it, she proves without a doubt that she’s the best at what she does (not to mention having blazed the trail for the likes of Cosentino and co). “All I’ve got,” Lewis says at one point, “is this jacket, this box to stand on, and these fucking flowers.” Trust us, love, you have so much more than that. And we’re pretty chuffed to have been able to experience it tonight.