Open Your Mind and See Them Live
Words and Pics by Rose Lamela
Sometime around 2007, I had a roommate that was obsessed with Rilo Kiley. I was a lot more closed-minded about music than I am now, and I just could not get with the band. I ended up disliking them and would resist any chance to listen to them again or Jenny Lewis’s music after I learned she was the singer.
Fast forward ten years later. I kept hearing about Jenny Lewis’s solo career quite a bit. Still fixated on what I think I like and don't like, I simply ignored the hype. Early last week, the possibility of getting a press pass to her show came up; and I thought, "Well she's a pretty well-known artist, and the show is sold out. Maybe I should just get over it and go."
When I arrived at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, I was surrounded by die-hard fans. I would hear the random conversations about how many times someone has seen her, chatter about her interesting live sets and her latest album. I can dig this kind of enthusiasm as I have put many rockstars on the highest of mountain tops. Lewis's fans just absolutely love her.
Cut Worms started off the show with a mild country flavor. Their tunes seamlessly merged country and 50's rock. I'm not a country gal, but I can dig some hints of a twang in my rock and roll. They played a set that seemed to satisfy the die-hards in the audience who were waiting for their main fix.
As Cut Worms walked off the stage, a few stage hands rolled up an alternate stage that was all set up behind a curtain. When they took the curtain down, they revealed a super cool set. It look like a living room full of instruments. There was a lamp and an end table that had incense burning. I was mostly taken aback by the rainbow, custom-made Martin acoustic that resembled one of Lewis's album covers. I only know this because one her superfans next to me revealed all the info.
The roar from the crowd as Lewis got on stage made me feel a little left out. I think this might have helped me open my mind to an artist with an incredible voice and live presence. I wanted to hear what the crowd came for that evening. She played songs that were pop-infused and then some country-flared ballads. She even played that Rilo Kiley song, "Silver Lining" that I swore I hated. I found myself singing along and falling hard for what it was that all these enthusiastic fans came to hear.
Let this be a lesson for you and me. I get the opportunity to go to shows to see bands I would have never seen of my own free will. Just because you didn't like something once, when you were a closed-minded twenty something doesn't mean the seasoned version of you in the future will feel the same. When in doubt, see them live. You heard it straight from this music snob. Jenny Lewis was absolutely amazing!!!