Jenny Lewis Returns to The Opera

Although the humidity has been making the usually-slow summer concert season even snailier than usual, with a massive drought of shows and sparse audiences at those that are happening,...

Although the humidity has been making the usually-slow summer concert season even snailier than usual, with a massive drought of shows and sparse audiences at those that are happening, last Thursday’s (7/20) return of Jenny Lewis to The Metropolitan Opera House produced a crowd of several thousand – including at least a dozen grrrls seemingly in competition for a Jenny Lewis lookalike contest, myself included, in blue flares, a cropped leather moto jacket, and kerchief around my neck — for a 90-minute, career-spanning set (featuring numerous tracks from all four of her solo LPs) that had the singer/songwriter in a black and white, tasseled jumpsuit, appearing as close to a Nashville superheroine as has ever existed.

Jenny Lewis is currently touring behind Joy’All, her fourth full-length and first for Blue Note Records, which Paste called, “A kaleidoscopic pivot of the grandest proportions…Joy’All is Lewis’ brightest, grooviest and coolest album yet,” and prompted Elle to call Lewis, “the queen of one-liners.”  The 15-song set featured five of the album’s 10 tracks, such as recent single “Psychos,” including the line, “I’m not a psycho, I’m just tryna get laid,” which was featured on T-shirts available for purchase at the opera house’s merch table, in addition to the album’s lead single, “Puppy And A Truck,” as instantly-classic of a country ballad as its title would suggest, which she premiered on her 2021 jaunt opening arenas for Harry Styles.

However, Lewis didn’t shy away from her actual established classics throughout the course of the evening, either, opening with 2014’s psychedelic folk anthem “Just One Of The Guys,” and closing the main set with the title track of 2008 solo debut Acid Tongue, an alt country ballad that chronicles the experience of the singer/songwriter dabbling with actual psychedelics as a teen.  Other highlights included soft rocker extraordinaire “She’s Not Me” (also off of 2014’s The Voyager) and “Red Bull & Hennessy,” a track from 2019’s On the Line, which sounds like a long-lost tune from the Wilson sisters.

The performance concluded with a three-song encore, beginning with “With Arms Outstretched,” from Rilo Kiley, the indie rock outfit that transformed Lewis from a star child actress to a legitimate force in indie rock, and ending with Acid Tongue’s “See Fernando,” a rollicking number that sounds like it could’ve been conceived while watching a marathon of classic ‘60s exploitation films.  But the night’s most touching moment came with the encore’s second song, where the headliner was joined by support acts Cass McCombs and Hayden Pedigo for a cover of McCombs’ own “Dreams-Come-True-Girl,” with Jenny proclaiming McCombs to be one of her favorite songwriters.  The three seemed as though they were old friends, well into their journey together.  And while everyone was clearly there for Lewis, murmurs could be heard throughout the venue all night about the impressiveness of the support, with special attention paid to guitar virtuoso Pedigo, whose latest album, The Happiest Times I Ever Ignored, dropped last month on Mexican Summer.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.