Way back in 1995 I saw Cypress Hill as part of the original Lollapalooza tour. About midway through the set, B-Real started to kick into the second verse of some song … only to begin repeating the first verse. A few lines in, he realized his error, and stopped the song. “Sometimes when you smoke a lot of weed, you forget shit.” Cypress Hill started the song over, did it right this time and played one of the most energetic sets of the day.
I thought of that when Jenny Lewis and her band stopped Late Bloomer, a track from her newest disc, The Voyager, on Thursday night in Indy. It was their first time playing the song live, and there was some confusion at the end of the second verse. The band, Jenny and the crowd had a brief discussion about what was to come next, and when the correction was agreed upon, Jenny and the band started again and finished to great applause.
That’s what the live show is about: Figuring out how those perfect, clean, heavily tinkered with songs from the album translate in the less-than-perfect real world. Some artists throw fits, argue or yell, creating tension in the group and between the group and the audience. When artists handle it with aplomb, such as B-Real and Jenny did, it sets a relaxed, enjoyable tone.
As a whole, the show was terrific. I’ve always through Jenny has a pretty voice, a flawless voice that plays nicely off the lyrics about flawed individual. What I didn’t realize is how strong her voice is, and live that surprised me more than anything that happened on stage. She and the band played a majority of the new album – Late Bloomer, Aloha & The Three Johns, She’s Not Me, Slippery Slopes, Just One of the Guys, Love You Forever, etc. – tossing in a few from Rabbit Fur Coat (including my favorite from that album, Rise Up With Fists) and Acid Tongue, and even a Rilo Kiley track (the powerful A Better Son/Daughter).
If you didn’t walk in a fan, you sure walked out one.
Other notes …
* The Apache Relay opened and weren’t bad. But I’m confused as to why they needed their third guitarist-slash-second keyboardist. He didn’t seem to add anything to the mix other than another body on an already crowded stage. They also didn’t seem to go off script much. If you’re going to have that many instruments up on stage, someone should jam or go off at some point. Decent, but a bit tepid.
* I got the distinct displeasure of hearing someone absolutely butcher the sound for Perry Farrell’s vocals during Jane’s Addiction’s set a while back at Old National Centre. Last night, Jenny’s voice kept getting buried in the mix. I’m not sure how you hid the voices of such two powerful singers, but I sure as hell wish that would stop happening. Beginning to think it’s not worth it to go to Old National to hear a band, because you aren’t likely to hear the singer.