Dreamworld: Amber Schadewald reviews Rilo Kiley


Rilo Kiley First Avenue, May 22, 2008 Review by Amber Schadewald Photos by Daniel Corrigan

As any concert junkie knows, sometimes bands just don’t sound anything like their album would suspect, while other times they sound so much like their recorded version, you feel like you’re at home with their CD. The best show are those that meet somewhere in the middle, as Rilo Kiley was able to showcase Thursday night in the Mainroom.

Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis. More photos by Daniel Corrigan.

An LA band with five musicians on stage, it was hard to see any but one: Jenny Lewis. In a tiny flowered short-suit, glittery tights and silver sequined slippers, Lewis not only caught the lights, but the hearts of nearly everyone in the packed crowd. A simple wink or smile from the stunning young woman drew shrieks and applause at an alarming decibel level. She spent most of the show being shy in the slyest and sexiest way possible, shaking her shoulders and flipping around her long red hair.

Playing a majority of songs from their latest album, “Under the Blacklight”, every song sounded solid, well rehearsed and yet, not too fake. Lewis’ talent couldn’t have been more obvious, and I too fell for her macaroon-sweet vocals. The guitars went from being wispy and harmonious on the CD’s title track, to harder indie-rock on “Close Call”, reflecting the band’s sound from years past.

A generally happy sounding set of songs, “Under the Blacklight” put the crowd in a rather charming mood, and looking down from the second level, the floor only bopped slightly, a few heads of blond hair whipping the faces around them. Other noteworthy new songs included “Breakin’ Up” with a lovely choral-type ending from multiple band voices and “Dreamworld”, which include primary male vocals.

During “Silver Lining”, a popular song that received one thousand junior high screams, extra large sliver balloons were sent out into the crowd, each filled with silver confetti. The size of exercise balls, the toy balls floated like feathers over the reaching hands, until during the last 30 seconds of the song when both coincidentally hit different lights in the ceiling and popped, sending the glittering bits into the mass of cheering sardines.

Rilo Kiley played a large selection of old hits dating back to the early 90s, including “Portions for Foxes” and “It’s a Hit” complete with trumpet accompaniment from some multi-talented chick stage-left (who also intermittently played keys and bass). Lewis played the Wurlitzer a couple times during the show and one of the guitar guys played the triangle and bongos in between strumming.

There wasn’t much chatter between songs, basically none, except a comment about getting drunk regardless of the early ‘all ages’ set times. Lewis also dedicated a song to her father, who was in the crowd that evening. I left the show feeling a little clueless about the personality behind “Rilo Kiley”, but in the end, it’s their music and not a bunch of gibbering we all show up to hear. -- Amber Schadewald