Words & Images by: Jake Krolick
Rilo Kiley :: 09.25.07 :: The Trocadero :: Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia turned dirty Hollywood for Rilo Kiley's sold out appearance. It was one of those nights where mothers held their daughters tight with a daunting fear of them being eaten up and spit out on the steamy streets. The gender-bending indie crowd dripped lusty hormones as Jenny Lewis let loose her tantalizing tinsel town glam on the old burlesque stage.
| Jenny Lewis - Rilo Kiley :: 09.25|
Rilo Kiley sold out The Trocadero riding bare-back on the success of their fourth album, Under the Blacklight (released August 21 via Warner Bros.). The L.A. foursome has been no stranger to the indie rock scene since they emerged in 2001, but it's the latest release that has catapulted them to that next level of stardom.
As difficult as it was to get the hipster crowd moving, the band has a true sense of how to perform and it wasn't long before we were able to sneak a peek through the glory hole into the world of Rilo Kiley. Fronted by former child actors Lewis and Blake Sennett (guitar, vocals) with Pierre de Reeder (bass) and Jason Boesel (drums), the band pumped out a fan's wet dream of old favorites and new hits. Lewis strummed casually through the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts sounding "Close Call" as pubescent screams and shouts of love echoed throughout the room. Her eyes danced across a sea of anxious dolled-up coeds as she took in the stares of affection from girls and guys alike. Her flirtatious moves came off a little too rehearsed, making every effort to wink or wave her little pinky as she slid around the stage or demurely leaned into the microphone.
| Jenny Lewis - Rilo Kiley :: 09.25|
Once you got past Lewis' sparkling silver hot pants and steamily staged antics, you were left with the music. Her harmonies with Sennett were at times charming in a way that resembled Fleetwood Mac. Lewis' ability to slip into the background and give her bandmates a chance to show off their nimble musicianship was gracious. Sennett executed some fancy ukulele play and many a shimmering guitar riff that brought to mind Nels Cline of Wilco. The enthralled audience eagerly sang along with older songs like "With Arms Outstretched" and "Does He Love You" – an impressive feat when you consider how snugly Lewis packed those songs with lyrical twists and turns.
Lewis bore her teeth as she uncovered the seedy underbelly of western society, and more specifically, an unbecoming portrait of life in Los Angeles. Sex was the driving force here. Heck, even my photo pass oozed nasty as it sported porn star Faye Runaway's picture. It sat dodgy and wrong when Lewis asked if there were any 15-year-old boys in the audience before she sang "Fifteen" to one red-faced teenager. What did sit right in the live setting was a splendid little transition between "A Man/Me/Then Jim" directly into the loop from the beginning of "Under the Blacklight," which brought the house lights down and the strobe lights up. From here, the disco turned to song as Lewis led the band through "I Never" complete with crowded assisted clapping. The band felt tighter, less showy and more direct, which produced the best moments of the entire show.
| Rilo Kiley :: 09.25|
Rilo Kiley's fans have a strong tendency to fall in love on the spot. Perhaps it's their beaming faces or easily swayed MySpace minds. Maybe it's just the band's uncanny knack for designing nuanced pop songs and performing them with flair. Lewis led the band into surprising territory, and one couldn't help but wonder if she was thinking of something else (like her burgeoning solo career). Rilo Kiley has made their name in indie-rock circles with songs that are cultured, perceptive and melodically clever. However, this performance pimped something else that reeked of an all-night party at L.A.'s Viceroy. Even so, as the crowd walked out onto Arch Street, no red-feathered critic could sway their excitement. Only one thing came to mind, "Beverly Hills, What a Thrill!"
Check out Rilo Kiley - Live at the Trocadero by Jake Krolick
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