As recently predicted right here on Shindigmusic, Jenny Lewis’s performance at George’s on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, was nothing short of incredible! If her improvised lyrics during set closer “Acid Tongue” are to be believed, she’s “been down to Fayetteville and dropped acid on her tongue.” Lewis’s performance was certainly powerful enough to possibly have been a shared/mass psychoactive experience. We got a great mix of Rilo Kiley classics, her existing solo material, and new songs (more on those in a minute). The band was tight and seamless and effortlessly tore through the set. Her lighting was very simple, but also highly effective in accentuating the psychedelic aesthetic of an understated, but large amount of Lewis’s catalog. The whole show was a trip.
And although the most important thing about Jenny Lewis is absolutely her undeniable talent as a writer and performer, she’s also a fashion icon in the indie world. So, it’s worth noting that, per usual, she looked stunning. She was wearing a belt buckle that said “FUCK” and according to her stage banter, she’s “playing in heels for the first time.” The old Ginger Rogers quote about doing everything “backwards and in heels” is still quite relevant.
Also, as we expected, Jenny previewed many songs from her forthcoming new record, which she pointed out during the set. George’s attendees were treated to “Heads Gonna Roll,” “Party Clown,” “Wasted Youth,” “Do See Doh,” and “Dogwood.” All of these songs seemed very familiar, but they were also new and exciting, which is exactly what you want from an artist as esteemed as Jenny Lewis. “Dogwood” in particular was a standout. It was a downbeat piano ballad loaded with some of Lewis’s trademark references to a seedy life of sex and drugs, very reminiscent of the ‘70s coke rock of Under the Blacklight-era Rilo Kiley. Speaking of which, former Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel is currently killing it in Lewis’s backing band, so that’s cool.
Lewis also name-checked her openers The Cactus Blossoms between songs. We here at Shindigmusic agree with her assessment that they were great and that you should check them out. Apparently, they have also played Fayetteville before, Maxine’s back in 2014 to be exact, as they themselves mentioned during their classic country tinged set. If you missed this particular show, but usually hit the Fayetteville Roots Festival or similar shows, trust us, you’ll like The Cactus Blossoms a lot.
And no, that’s not a mistake on the setlist listed below. She really did play “Silver Lining” two times with absolutely no explanation as to why. Both performances were excellent; however, each time they started the song, especially the last time, there was a very slight sense of hesitation like “wait what are we doing?” but, they just went with it and it was cool. According to her setlist (which we did get a picture of but aren’t going to share because it’s a bad, blurry picture taken on the author’s phone), the extra performance of it during the encore was unplanned.
Jenny Lewis will spend the rest of July on the road and hopefully we’ll get that new album sometime before 2019. She said something on stage about it coming out this fall and she recently tweeted “mixing my new record RN with shawn everett” so we are cautiously optimistic. We also really, really hope it’s not another nine years before she returns to play NWA. Anyway, her George’s set was as follows:
Jenny Lewis at George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, AR, Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Heads Gonna Roll
The Big Guns
You Are What You Love
Rise Up With Fists!
Just One of the Guys
Do See Doh
Portions For Foxes
She’s Not Me
The Next Messiah