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Rilo Kiley @ Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 10/15/07

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You can tell when a performer has that "it" factor about them, that indescribable thing that makes them irresistible to watch. Jenny Lewis, front woman of Rilo Kiley, most definitely has "it." The looks, the voice, the charm and the confidence and it helps when you have a band, especially a guitarist and musician as talented as Blake Sennet, behind you. Monday night's return of Rilo Kiley home after months of touring showed a band that has grown and matured since they first played the small clubs and halls in LA.

Lewis knows what she’s got and she makes no attempt to hide it as she saunters back and forth across the stage. The former child actress is "cute-sexy" enjoying every moment of her band's music and wearing a contagious grin to prove it. Her voice is as strong as ever, with the newer material featuring strong elements of sexuality and money (as well as the combination of the two).

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Playing in support of the just released, major-label debut, Under the Blacklight, the band cruised through new hits "Moneymaker", "Silver Lining" and "Breaking Up" all polished groove laced efforts that strongly feature the suburb guitar work of Sennet, and showcase great percussion work. Other tracks came from their previous effort, More Adventurous and a few from other albums for good measure.

Many criticized the band for their move to a major label, going as far as to call them sell outs, but the band's sound has only evolved from their previous albums while remaining the uniquely original qualities that first put them on the map. Sennet and Lewis play off each other, both using each other’s strength to drive the band. Sennet even takes lead vocal duties on a few tracks, "Dreamworld" being a standout.

I had not seen the band prior to this performance, but was strongly impressed with their musicianship and handle on their songs. Not only that, it was apparent that they had a great time playing in front of their hometown crowd. While the venue was a bit on the impersonal side, the band made the cavernous auditorium feel less alien and brought you into their music.

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All Photos by Joey Maloney/LAist

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