CONCERT REVIEW: Jenny Lewis At The Troc


DIANCA_AVATAR_1.jpgBY DIANCA POTTS After selling my extra tickets to Monday night’s show to a stranger from Craigslist, it dawned on me. I’ve been listening to the shit for almost a decade. But I’m a creature of habit and a shameless JLew fan, so despite my bummed out mood from overdosing on Eggers short stories earlier that afternoon, I shuffled over to the Troc, AA skirt and all. Torn between catching Farmer Dave’s set and stuffing my face, I went with my gut instinct and headed to Mixx where an anime-esque waiter denied my BFF tempura and served us lukewarm Miso instead.

After paying the bill with money I shouldn’t have spent, we jaywalked to the Troc, entering in enough time to catch the end of Deer Tick’s first or second song. First impressions included thoughts of trailer park picnics, Blues Hammer, and apple pie. With a seemingly nonsensical dolphin and sparkly UFO on stage, Deer Tick’s set was full of Smokey and the Bandit bravado and American pride. Perhaps a little too south of the Mason-Dixon Line, their sound failed to wow me, save for frontman John McCauley’s duet with the darling Liz Eisenberg. Covering John Prine’s “Donald & Lydia,” McCauley’s rugged vocals meshed perfectly juxtaposed to Eisenberg’s angelic voice. Killing time before J. Lewis could step onto the stage, Deer Tick butchered Mellencamp and covered Valens’ “La Bamba”, as requested by a 20-something beardo in retro red short shorts.

Soon after an upbeat “La Bamba” they made a triumphant exit while JLew’s roadies tuned guitars and sound checked her many mics. Trapped between a gaggle of trendy sixteen-year-olds and a couple fond of one another and PDA, my feet hurt and felt impatient while the rest of me felt misplaced. Having caught Lewis’ last fall at the comfy Keswick, now at the Troc with all her Philly fans, I got this uncanny suspicion that I was standing next to people who’ve never worn out “Glendora” or reacted to “Better Son/Better Daughter” with tiny subtle shameless tears. Having spent most of high school idolizing Lewis for her looks and songs, I felt old and frumpy beside the next generation of her happy wide-eyed fans. The ex-Saddle Creek starlet, dressed in her own Hot Damn! Tshirt, blue jeans, and cowboy boots crooned out Acid Tongue’s “Seek Fernando,” no longer sounding like the shy soft spoken Jenny that mesmerized me in 8th grade.

My personal mantra and Rabbit Fur Coat fave “You Are What You Love,” painted a picture befitting its audience. Lewis, cleverly changed “calling you back” to “texting,” kept the rest of the song unchanged while listing off the empty trappings of the indie scene (i.e. beer, thrift stores, and music). Acid Tongue’s “Carpetbaggers,” which inspired the girl beside me to raise her oversized Anne of Green Gables carpetbag and cherry lollipop would have been radder if Elvis Costello had been there for the second verse. Luckily, Lewis’ live-in sweetheart and band mate Johnathan Rice did just as well. “Bad Man’s World” was decent but much like “I Never” and would be better left in the hands of someone more soulful like Diana Ross or the almighty Aretha. Despite her lack of soul, Jenny nearly started a Pentecostal like revival with Acid Tongue’s gospel infused “Jack Killed Mom.”

After a jump off repeat of “Jack Killed Mom,” the final line sounded a bit like a cow call, with Lewis throwing her head back to yell, “Maw-ah!” After sipping bubbly straight from its bottle, Lewis, smiley and a bit tipsy played an acoustic cover of Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining” while show goers sang along, slow and out of key like that one MTV Unplugged featuring Chris Carrabba. Throwing in a few unreleased tracks like “Big Wave” and “Just Like Zeus,” Lewis took cheap shots at fellow redhead Lindsay Lohan, jokingly confessing the inspiration behind the song. “It’s kind of about getting the Clap from Lindsay Lohan,” Lewis paused as her audience (minus me, a devoted Lohan fan) laughed. “Just kidding, that’s rude.” Moving past her catty and senseless quip, Lewis finished up with “The Next Messiah” swaying her hips while singing ‘bout her daddy and givin’ out her love. Afterwards Lewis left the stage backed by fervent applause, returning soon after for an encore which made me wish I could travel back in time to see her in ’03.


See Fernado
The Charging Sky
You Are What You Love
Pretty Bird
Bad Man’s World
Jack Killed Mom
Trying My Best To Love You
Silver Lining (Rilo Kiley)
Just Like Zeus (unreleased)
Handle With Care (The Traveling Wilburys)
The Next Messiah
Acid Tongue
Big Wave (unreleased)
Born Secular

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