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Jenny Lewis © Melanie Smith
Jenny Lewis
RNCM, Manchester
July 28th 2019

More than a decade on from the demise of Rilo Kiley, and on the back of her finest solo album, Jenny Lewis is ultimately the confident, dazzling and utterly magnetic performer that these of us who have followed her from the starting knew she was destined to turn out to be.

Jenny Lewis 6 © Melanie SmithJenny Lewis arrives on stage tonight resplendent in a semi-beehive hairdo and a shimmering fishtail gold and emerald dress – sequins that take situation with the stage lights and send dazzling and indiscriminate patterns about the intimate walls of Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music. She stands up on a box to command the audience, she slinks elegantly round the venue, she by no means when stops dancing. This is her space we are welcome to take a look at so lengthy as we take pleasure in and reciprocate. From shy indie pixie to 50s icon, the transformation in the way she holds herself is in lots of methods indicative of the about-turn that Lewis’s profession and music has taken more than the previous decade. And tonight, on the back of her finest solo album to date, tonight she is a frontwoman of supreme character, high quality and effortless class.

The aforementioned album – the magnificent On the Line – types the backbone of tonight’s set. She opens with the similar double-punch that we uncover on the record itself, 1st a tumbling, windswept and melancholic ‘Heads Gonna Roll’ and then into the glorious Doo-Wap sorrowful elegance of ‘Wasted Youth’ (nonetheless for me the finest single of the year hence far). There is a richness and a maturity to her voice these days – bound up in emotion, heartache and the lived expertise. ‘Little White Dove’ is seductive and breathy, but a cursory listen to the lyrics tells a distinctive story of “a mother and youngster emergency” and hints towards Lewis’s oft-fraught partnership with her late mother – a continuous theme of the new album. ‘Hollywood Lawn’ is each measured and epic in scale – by no means providing itself totally up till the final chorus. ‘Party Clown’ showcases her exceptional potential to inform sordid tales and skim along the bottom of the dirty carpet, all the even though maintaining a exceptional sense of humour and bohemian bafflement. And the devastating finish-of-partnership melancholy that infuses ‘Dogwood’ is amplified in the confines of the venue so considerably that we really feel we are listening to a person sat subsequent to us on the piano – spilling their words and their wine in an try to make sense of the predicament.

Jenny Lewis 9 © Melanie Smith
Elsewhere, we get 3 songs from her excellent and oft-underrated 2006 album Rabbit Fur Coat with The Watson Twins – a delicate ‘Happy’, a Nashville train-rhythm ‘The Major Guns’ and the Stax-esque ‘Born Secular’ collectively with an exquisite ‘See Fernando’ from 2008’s Acid Tongue record. Her band are sublime: supplanted by a 3-piece string section for various tracks and often effortlessly fantastic and financial in their playing – giving the sinewy and multi-layered platform to let Lewis and her voice take flight. For the duration of ‘Little White Dove’ a multitude of balloons are released into the audience which outcomes in a contest amongst audience, band, singer and (at one particular point) sound engineer to either pop them or retain them going. But all eyes stay on Lewis – confident, resplendent and in the finest kind of her life.

Jenny Lewis 5 © Melanie Smith
She is funny and erudite in her stage banter – at one particular point asking the audience to turn and make mates with the individual subsequent to them, such as introducing herself with an unsuspecting fan in the front row. The complete factor carries the elegance and delicate fortitude of a performer definitely certain of herself and her music. And suitable at the finish, to bring items to the most magical conclusion, we get a nod to exactly where it all started with an utterly mesmeric and devastatingly poignant version of Rilo Kiley’s ‘With Arms Outstretched’. At the close of the song, Lewis actions away from the microphone and into the centre of the arena – conducting us all in hushed and choked whispers as she imparts the words “And some days they final longer than other people / But this day by the lake went as well rapid” acapella to the crowd. With just her and her guitarist in this tiny venue, the song requires on the most fantastic depth and emotion – the hues of sorrow and time floating about our heads. And she is appropriate. Only it wasn’t “that day by the lake that went as well rapid” – it was the hour and a half that just flew by right here in the most sumptuous of business. Seventeen years on from the release of that unique song, Jenny Lewis is ultimately getting offered the platform she deserves for her exceptional, uncommon and specific talents. And on the proof of tonight, that is a platform she is going to keep on in all her glittering, glorious and ragged-hearted glory.

Please note: Use of these pictures in any kind with no permission is illegal. If you want to speak to the photographer please e-mail: [email protected]

Words by David Edwards, you can study far more of David’s writing for Louder Than War in his archive

Photographs by Melanie Smith. Far more perform by Mel on Louder Than War can be discovered at her author’s archive. You can uncover her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be discovered right here

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