Rilo Kiley, Pearl Jam 

Live Reviews

click to enlarge Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis woos the crowd at the Music Farm
  • Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis woos the crowd at the Music Farm

Rilo Kiley
Fri. June 13
The Music Farm

I went through a Saddle Creek phase in high school, and I still have a collection of T-shirts to prove it. When I was 15/16, the music and emotions of Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, and Cursive satisfied my post-pubescent angst. Rilo Kiley was prominently featured on the mix CDs I made in those days — one of the only "girl singer" bands I listened to at that time. But I grew out of it. I wear those T-shirts to bed now instead of out in public. And five years changes things. Rilo Kiley isn't on Saddle Creek anymore. My hair got shorter, Jenny Lewis' got longer, and we both developed a more mature sense of fashion.

Honestly, I don't think I would have gone to their show at the Music Farm if I hadn't gotten in on the press pass list. Sure, The Execution of All Things is an oft-played part of my vinyl collection, but now that they can charge $25 for tickets, they've gotten just too big for my britches. And when a band has a status of raging popularity like Rilo Kiley's, one whose promo pictures display them constantly pensive at best, it wouldn't be unexpected for them to be total assholes. Douchebags, even. The kind of band that runs through its set with no more than a "hello" and a "thank you" to the crowd. The kind of band that doesn't smile. The kind of band, I learned last night when Lewis greeted the crowd with a rowdy "Hey y'all" and Blake Sennett joked about humidity and Disneyland, that Rilo Kiley isn't.

Lewis is undoubtedly a performer. Parading around the stage while singing "Does He Love You?," her heart breaking behind the sweet smirk on her lips, it was almost like watching some sort of Broadway triple threat (if it weren't for the obtrusive microphone in her hand). Later, devoid of pretense or attitudde, she put that mic down in the act to sing along with the sizeable crowd to the song "With Arms Outstretched."

And her fellas — Sennett, Pierre De Reeder, and Jason Boesel — were right there with her, having a blast in their button-ups. The show finished when Lewis walked off the stage at the end of the encore, leaving her bandmates, facing each other in a lit pyramid, to pivotally jam out the rest of their closing song and prove that Rilo Kiley isn't just another version of "Jenny Lewis and ..." I think it was the best part of the night. —Susan Cohen

click to enlarge Vedder and the guys: mixed reactions in Columbia
  • Vedder and the guys: mixed reactions in Columbia

Pearl Jam
Mon. June 16
The Colonial Center, Columbia

"Well, it's been over a decade since we've played in this state. We've got a lot of catching up to do." Vocalist Eddie Vedder has it right. The last time Pearl Jam played in our state's capital was 1996. The show at the Colonial Center in downtown Columbia on Monday was the band's only stop in the Carolinas. Needless to say, three hours of rocking out was very much appreciated.

Vedder joined Tennessee indie-rock band The Kings of Leon during the opening set for their final song just before Pearl Jam took the stage.

Pearl Jam played more than 20 songs, including most everything fans love from the '90s. The band even played a few requests at the conclusion of the show. It was a non-stop evening as the band only took a few short breaks. That is, until Vedder hit his soap box.

As always, when he has a moment to voice his opinion on things, Vedder mentioned the war in Iraq and the rising gas prices. He encouraged people to speak up about what is going wrong in this country today. And after receiving a few hoorays and a handful of boos, he ended his speech with a witty quote, "I won't apologize for what I've said, but I will thank you for listening." Then he continued to rock out until the event staff was ready to call it quits. The staff brought up the house lights, but the crowd continued to sing along. You couldn't have asked for better energy from Pearl Jam or the crowd. I can guarantee that after the display of southern hospitality in Columbia Monday night, Pearl Jam will not wait another decade to return.—Caitlin Baker


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