Rilo Kiley - Islington Academy London

American band Rilo Kiley headlined London's Islington Academy on the day their new album "Under the blacklight" was released.
The album is a follow up to the fairly successful "More adventurous" collection which saw the band gain a larger audience in the UK due to singles "It's a hit" and "Portions for foxes" receiving a large amount of airplay.
The band have streamed "Blacklight" on their My Space page and the response from fans has already been mixed.It's a natural progression from their previous work but needs a few listens to appreciate the "new" Rilo Kiley.
Having sampled the album on a few occasions I was looking forward to seeing how the new tracks worked on stage and if they would fit in with the older songs in the set.
I discovered Rilo Kiley a couple of years ago when I caught half their set at the O2 Festival in London.I really enjoyed it so looked forward to seeing the band live again.
Unfortunatly the group took a break soon after their Summer shows to let singer Jenny Lewis promote her album with the Watson Twins "Rabbit Fur Coat" and also so guitarist Blake Sennett could do his own thing with his band - The Elected.
I was able to see Jenny live a couple of times but that just made me want to see Rilo Kiley more.
The venue was sold out well in advance and the capacity crowd were anxious to see the headliners.Support Eugene McGuinness played to a relatively unappreciative audience but the roof was raised when Rilo Kiley appeared on stage.
The band seemed eager to please, playing their two most well known tracks in the UK - singles "It's a hit" and "Portions for foxes" in the first three songs, with the first offering from their new album "Close call" sandwiched inbetween.
An "oldie" was unleashed next."Paints peeling" from RK's "The execution of all things" album went down a storm with the audience.
Three tracks followed from "Blacklight" showing the album's diversity as the disco funk of "Breaking up" made way for the Fleetwood Mac esque "Dreamworld" followed by current single "Moneymaker".
The band seemed to be in good spirits and Jenny was fairly chatty onstage.
At one point Blake mentioned that this was only the fourth gig they had played in two years, with the Islington crowd the best so far.Jenny butted in with something about the first three shows being turds!
They may have not played live much but they certainly sounded as they had rehearsed a lot.Jenny's voice was on great form and Blake was rocking out somewhat, relishing the chance to be onstage again.
Alongside the regular band members Rilo Kiley were joined by two female backing singers who also helped out on a variety of instruments.I believe they were called Orinda and Kristen but I may be mistaken!
Having promoted a few songs from "Blacklight" the band rewarded the audience with a song from "Take offs and landings" - "Wires and waves".
Jenny left the stage, giving Blake a further chance to shine as he serenaded us on a ukulele with "Ripchord" from the band's "More adventurous" album.
A further five tracks from "Blacklight" graced the set next, including "Smoke detector" with an intro sounding like an undiscovered early Beatles classic.Jenny mentioned that she had made a dance to go with the 60's style wig out but it wasn't up to much in my opinion so she'll have to work a bit more on her moves!
Jenny announced the band were going to play a cover.When they launched in to "Rise up with fists" from Jenny's solo album it was a great moment.It was certainly a livelier version than the one she recorded with the Watson Twins anyway.
The band's final song was "Spectacular views", the closing track from "The execution of all things".I felt it went on a bit long and ended up bored by the lengthy guitar jam at the end which saw Jenny hiding under the keyboard!
My interest may have waned slightly but I was still desperate for an encore.I had managed a sneak peak at the set list while in the photo pit and noticed my favourite Rilo Kiley song "Does he love you" missing from the set so I was hoping for an appearance of it during the encore.
Jenny appeared with the band's two backing singers and performed to a backing track their "karaoke" version of "Give a little love".It was my favourite new song of the night, with Jenny's voice sounding wonderful during the verses, channeling the spirit of Karen Carpenter at times!
The rest of the band returned to the stage.My luck was in as the opening keyboard refrain to "Does he love you" was struck up.I truly love the song and it's certainly one of my favourites from any band in recent years.It's a slowish track with a huge build.The live version was stunning, with Jenny pouring a lot of emotion into her delivery.
Although the band were happy with the audience's reaction I did notice moments of restlessness during some of the newer numbers.
The audience may have found too many new songs a bit much to take in at times but by the time the band return to the UK again everything pulled from "Blacklight" will no doubt receive a warm welcome alongside the old favourites.
I was happy with the set myself as I'm not a huge fan of the two albums before "More adventurous" so I preferred the new songs anyway.

Rilo Kiley are playing a few more dates in the UK.
You can find out where by visiting their My Space

Category Gig Review

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