Jenny Lewis Rains Joy Down On The Palace Friday Night.


photos by Vito Ingerto

Writing articulate, engaging concert reviews requires talent. Good writers make it look easy, and what I lack in talent, I make up for with the delusion that I can write a coherent review. It’s also a fact that the better the artist is you are reviewing, the easier it is to actually capture the magic that is a live performance. Luckily, Jenny Lewis has more talent than a classroom full of Berkeley Music School graduates, and she unleashed it on a packed Palace Theatre Friday night. She is out touring in support of her latest release Joy Y’All, and an appreciative audience was happy to catch that joy.

Opening for Jenny on Friday night was Hayden Pedigo. He has quite the resume, musician, model and politician. The Texas native stuck to one lane at the Palace, and that was destroying the fretboard of a couple of guitars. While Pedigo said he was nervous, he appeared to be a bit subdued on stage, but was extremely engaging with the crowd. He mentioned that he suffered from stage fright, but he did a great job of burying it. He opened the set with anacoustic jam “Carthage”. And damn did he make that 12 string sing. He would switch it upbetween songs and jam with what appeared to be a Gibson Thunderbird. The highlight of the set was the “Brokeback Mountain/Elsewhere” jam that was just next level.

Jenny came out around 9:15 She was clapping along with the band to the opener “The Big Guns” a country tinged tune off of the Rabbit Fur Coat release. Swathed in red light that reflected off of the long shimming stips of foil that made up the backdrop, she was dressed in a what appeared to be a black leather jump suit. She kept the countryish theme going with an upbeat version of “Do Si Do”. She seemed particularly at home on the stage at the Palace Friday night, and stayed pretty close to the edge of the stage, that gave an intimate feel to the obviously packed theatre. And the affection flowed right back to the stage from the animated crowd. A pedal steel guitar added a mysterious edge to “Psychos”, and saw Lewis don an acoustic guitar that matched her jumpsuit. This would be the first of around 5 tunes from her latest release Joy Y’All.

Jenny and the band next rolled into a funky version of “She’s Not Me” before heading back for some “Joy Y’All. The drums reverberated through the air as Lewis belted out the tune from a platform located at center stage. She then went on, what for me, was the highlight of set. It was a five song run from On The Line. “Heads Gonna Roll” and “Wasted Youth” were bangers, but “Red Bull & Hennessy” into “Little White Dove” were next level good. It just blows me away that Lewis created “Little White Dove” from the ashes of her relationship with her Mother. What Jenny Lewis concert would be complete without a ball drop? It came during “See Fernando” on this tour stop. The audience was still playing with the balls during the 15 minute encore which included “Love Feel”, “Just One Of The Guys” and “Acid Tongue”. She has a different band backing her up this tour. Drummer Meg Coleman and bassist Ryan Madora made up the rhythm section and Nicole Lawrence guitar and petal steel duties. This lineup is a little more subtle and country tinged than her last band.

After nearly 25 years of performing music, Jenny Lewis’ talent has aged like a fine brandy, and the joy she exuded was absorbed directly into the souls of the lucky folks at the Palace Friday night.