(photo courtesy of Patti Farfan)
Rilo Kiley is one of those bands that seem to be popular because of their high profile music exposure on shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” but surprisingly a lot of supposed music fans have never heard of them. On the contrary, the show at Riv was pretty much sold out so at least the dedicated fans turned out.
Download: Rilo Kiley - "Close Call"
It’s easy to see why so many people (guys and girls alike) have a crush on Jenny Lewis. The former child star isn’t drop dead gorgeous, but she has a commanding stage presence and radiates a more sensual than sexual demeanor. She didn’t speak much until the end instead allowing guitarist (and former paramour) Blake Sennett to banter with the crowd becoming the fulcrum of the group.
The quartet opted to open their show with an older song, “It’s a Hit” off their breakthrough More Adventurous and one of best songs on the album. The choice immediately gained the audience’s attention with its buoyancy. The band’s current fourth album exploring the sex industry, Under the Blacklight, has garnered Lewis and crew Fleetwood Mac comparisons. “Close Call” off the new one resonates with Lewis’ “woos.” She performs in a glittery, sequined top and leggings doing her best Loretta Lynn. “Portions for Foxes” is performed next, another gem from their last effort. The familiar tracks have the most affect on the crowd as Blacklight is still fairly new. They fall into three of their latest songs in a row including the first single “The Moneymaker,” “Dreamworld” competing with Mac’s “Dreams,” and the countrified “Breakin’ Up.” Sennett and Pierre de Reeder have a tendency to dual off together jamming during the interludes while Lewis sways on. Sennett appears solo strumming a ukulele on “Ripchord,” fucks up a little but restarts the song. He then introduces his brother, seemingly the band’s roadie. The group break into some tracks from their sophomore record, The Execution of All Things, including a rousing rendition of "With Arms Outstretched "in which handclapping ensues. During the new song “Silver Lining,” balloons full of confetti drift through the audience and eventually burst proving Rilo Kiley indeed know how to entertain. In a special treat, Lewis and Sennett respectively sing from their solo works: “Rise Up With Fists” from her solo debut Rabbit Fur Coat, and Sennett’s side project The Elected. The set ends on the epic “Spectacular Views” from Execution. Lewis screams out the lyric “so fucking beautiful” while the rest of the band jams along and draws out the instrumentation. Once again Sennett and De Reeder rip on their instruments as a grande finale light show follows. The gang come back for two encore songs. Lewis speaks for the first time about doing a reworked version of the Bay City Rollers cover “Give A Little Love.” They finally end with “Does He Love You?” as Lewis croons to the audience and blows kisses as she walks off stage.
Going through their set, one sees how the band has transformed from their alt-country proclivities in earlier works to classic rock sensibilities and now more pop music. The night wasn’t anything mindblowing, but it was solid, consistent, and entertaining through the duration. Whereas many live bands hit peaks and valleys during their set, Rilo Kiley gave an enthusiastic and confident performance living up to expectations.
Photos courtesy of Patti Farfan, click here for the complete photoset