Jenny Lewis Band Review
Sultry Swagger and Storytelling
by David Del Mauro
Indie-Country/Rock Phenom Jenny Lewis and her band circled back to New Mexico last night (Oct 2, 2019) to bring her On the Line tour to Meow Wolf, dazzling fans with a satisfyingly intimate performance fueled by hits from her last two solo offerings.
Full disclosure: I’m a Jenny Lewis fan. I mean seriously, what’s not to love? Her rich voice and musicianship, coupled with the sultry swagger of her storytelling and stage presence are intoxicating and difficult for the ardent Indie Rock/Alt Country fan to resist.
A former child actor turned musician, Lewis’ late-Nineties Rilo Kiley catalogue was always on the periphery of the music I enjoyed, but I really didn’t become a big fan until I saw her open for Beck at Red Rocks a few years back during the juggernaut Voyager Tour.
Her third solo album at the time, The Voyager’s definitively California sound was well-received by critics and fans alike who noted influences from the Byrds, the Go-Go’s and Randy Newman. The acclaim marked a significant rise in her popularity pulling in new fans such as myself. Like many that summer I immediately put it on heavy rotation in my household.
A more mature and yet pleasurable departure from Voyager, Jenny’s recent fourth release On the Line has been reviewed as quite possibly her best release yet.
I had missed her earlier in the tour when she played the Kimo in Albuquerque, but was excited she was returning to play Santa Fe, although I did wonder how my experience of her at Red Rocks would compare to the smaller venue at Meow Wolf.
At the beginning of the show, Lewis even commented on the difference in size noting, “Wow … this is cool. We never get to be this close to you.” She proceeded to use it to her advantage throughout the show taking moments to reach out and touch the hands of adoring glitter-gowned fan girls singing along to every word — even autographing a rubber fish offered up by someone up front.
Emerging in a tight-fitting sequin dress similar to the one in her Red Bull and Hennessy video, Lewis and band started the show with the soulful Heads Gonna Roll off On the Line featuring an organ solo by Lewis that synced the crowd into mellow sway with the lyrics, “Heads gonna roll, baby everybody's gotta pay that toll and maybe after all is said and done we'll all be skulls.” It seemed like the perfect levity to offset the headlines of the past few weeks.
From there, Lewis kept the energy fun, performing the Wasted Youth off On The Line and Head Underwater, a big hit off The Voyager release. Lewis and the band even pulled a deep cut, performing a heartfelt rendition of Bob Dylan’s, Standing in the Doorway.
But the highlight of the evening for me was Lewis’ reggae version of The Voyager which seemed to keep the crowd energized into her pulsating version of She’s Not Me.
The lack of encore left us wanting a bit more but in the end the show was amazing. What more can you do. Thanks Jenny. We love you. Come back soon