Rilo Kiley: Liverpool Stanley Theatre

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Rilo Kiley came to Liverpool last Sunday night as part of their tour to promote current long player Under The Backlight, Katie Smith had a gander…


The sterile setting of Liverpool University’s Stanley Theatre, and relatively small audience didn’t manage to dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic and devoted crowd, and the band responded by giving fans a performance as if they were playing to a crowd of thousands.
Still relatively unknown in this country yet with a string of albums and solo projects underneath their belts, Rilo Kiley are turning up their charm offensive on the airwaves with their new polished and poppy sound which gives more than a considered nod to Fleetwood Mac circa Rumours.
While hardcore Rilo Kiley devotees may be less than impressed with this move towards the mainstream, there are still plenty of dirty bass lines and sleaze heavy songs which examine the seedier side of life. Most notably last single Moneymaker which is a groove-heavy stomper about porn stars.
What makes Rilo Kiley so impressive is the unquestionable power and beauty in lead singer Jenny Lewis’ voice. Her haunting concoction of a midwestern drawl and girl group soft rock gives a sweet and pure style which can easily switch between country tinged ballads to ball breaking rock tunes.

The versatility in Lewis’ voice compliments the range and interchangeable nature of the bands sound, and many instrument swapping and vocal changing duties ensue. Each member of the band are able to move effortlessly between bass, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar. The line up changing is testament to the bands close on stage chemistry, and right hand man Blake Sennett almost steals the show with his one song solo performance.
The crowd certainly lapped it up and Lewis was more than able to command attention from the audience and her cow bell hitting, disco-stomp-a-long rendition of new single Breakin Up was a real highlight of the evening.
Album tracks such as Under The Backlight and Smoke Detector were equally well received. But it was last year’s breakthrough single Portions For Foxes, which helped catapult the band into the public consciousness which was the biggest crowd pleaser of the night.
Rilo Kiley’s current reinvention may or may not be here to stay but I say to hell with the Fleetwood Mac comparisons and embrace the breathy vocals of Jenny Lewis and all the Rilo Kiley have to offer. After all its rare to find a female vocalist who looks the part and has the talent to back it up.

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