Watching Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley on stage is to see someone completely aware of the spells she can cast on a crowd. A little shrug of the shoulders here, a cock of the eyebrow there, and in no time, the audience for Rilo Kiley's show at The Warfield last week was thoroughly held in thrall by Lewis' charm and blockbuster voice.
But Lewis' sly sexiness wasn't the only thing keeping eyes glued to the stage. Touring in support of Under the Blacklight, the group's first album since 2004, Rilo Kiley trotted out an almost flawless set of old favorites, new standouts, and even a cover tune of sorts. For me, it was one of those strange, rare concert experiences where the band plays virtually every song you'd hope to hear from their catalog and none of the ones you'd pray they skip. To hear more about what made the show a standout,
Under the Blacklight has grown on me in the few weeks since its release, but it's gotten mixed reviews. So I thought it was wise that the group chose to open the show with some better-known, more-beloved songs, including "It's a Hit" and "Portions for Foxes" off 2004's More Adventurous. A high-energy rendition of "Breakin' Up" from Blacklight and Blake Sennett's solo-with-ukulele version of "Ripchord" were some of the other highlights of the early part of the set.
But things really kicked into gear when Lewis rejoined Sennett on stage for a duet of "With Arms Outstretched," which quickly became an emotional crowd sing-along. The band then launched into the upbeat "Wires and Waves," a favorite of mine from debut album Take Offs & Landings, and it was suddenly clear that this was going to be a special night, indeed. "Silver Lining," still my favorite Blacklight song to date, got some help from giant balloon orbs stuffed with glitter and launched into the crowd. (A stunt involving two girls from the audience dancing to "Smoke Detector" was less successful.)
The true standout of the evening, though, was "Spectacular Views," which closed the main set and had the crowd even more rapt than the songs that preceded it. In comparison, the encore was a bit of a disappointment — though it did feature Rilo Kiley covering Lewis' "Rise Up with Fists," from her 2006 solo album Rabbit Fur Coat. But that didn't really matter, though, on a night when I'd already heard everything I could have hoped for.