Run Devil Run
On any other night this week, Felicity Huffman would be showcasing why she won a Golden Globe in Transamerica at the Vista Theatre but, last night, Jenny Lewis took over the stage performing songs from her newly released solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat.
We couldn't decide what the show most resembled. Sitting in a theatre with an all ages crowd felt a little like being in a high school auditorium on talent show night or opening night of the high school musical (which might be appropriate considering the unfathomable success of a little known Disney Channel Original Movie soundtrack last week. Rabbit Fur Coat charted at a respectable #88). That Jenny's fans feel familiar with her (she and her Rilo Kiley bandmates use myspace in truly effective ways) in a friendly way also gave off that vibe. People shouted out jokes and silly questions. Johnathan Rice had a conversation with one particularly ebullient fan throughout his set. But it also felt a lot like being inside one of the fancier tents on HBO's less successful old west series, Carnivale. The amazingly tall Watson Twins and the country, blues, gospel roots of Jenny's music had a real old school vaudeville/honky tonk vibe.
As a music venue, the Vista is kind of all right and all wrong at the same time. The sound, despite a sound guy who couldn't seem to get the system from giving feedback all night, was powerful but not overwhelming. There was not a poor seat in the house. Leg room in the aisles meant when it was finally time to stand at the end of the night and sing and clap along, we were all comfortable. The problem, though, is a movie theatre is built for a quiet audience. The din of the crowd was audible in an annoying way all night. It was distracting but not terribly so, we guess, as we were able to focus on Jenny, her exceptional voice and her amazing ability to tell incredibly poignant and emotionally raw stories through song.
If you didn't catch her at the Vista or her myspace secret show earlier this week at the Hotel Cafe she'll be back in her home town playing the Orpheum on April 1st.