Last Night: Rilo Kiley at the Palladium Ballroom

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Rilo Kiley The Palladium June 15th, 2008

Better Than: Anything thing else happening on a sweltering Sunday night.

Almost a year since the release of 2007’s Under the Blacklight, the Los Angeles based indie-pop gang, Rilo Kiley, stopped through Dallas last night on the final leg of their North American tour. Highlighted by Jenny Lewis’ sultry innocence and the band’s crisp variations of crowd-lauded favorites, Rilo Kiley certainly delivered what was expected…plus a little extra.

Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett quietly walked on stage with their bandmates shortly after 9:30 p.m., and I’m not sure that I've ever seen such an understated band entrance.

But, I quickly realized, this subdued and humble energy was an essential essence of their live performance. Jenny and Blake, both former child actors, projected an immediate charm and ease with audience, which seemed to delight the devoted, mostly female crowd. Then the band dove right into polished and charming offerings from Under the Blacklight, delivering sweet summer anthems to the languished, yet copasetic fans. Kitschy numbers such as the toe-tapping, bubble-gum flavored “Silver Lining” and “Dreamworld” provoked the Rilo Kiley loyalists into a unified head-bopping coma. Sexier numbers such as Blacklight’s first single, “Money Maker,” kindly exploited the subterranean salaciousness of Lewis’ gentle demeanor.

She's much like a modern Sandy Olsson from Grease: petite, bellowing and fiercely delicate. Her vocal performance last night was flawless, emoting the sincerity of her story-teller styled lyrics. And her graceful demand and comfort on stage made it difficult to drift your eyes away from her direction.

With her, the band showcased many songs from latest LP, although there were sprinklings from their previous three albums. “Portion for Foxes” and “With Arms Outstretched” tickled the fans into chanting sing-alongs, but it was the newer, poppier sound that dominated most of the evening.

In the end, Rilo Kiley didn’t shake me to the core last night. But that’s not what they do best. They flutter by, leaving you with a notion of sweetness and satisfaction…a honeyed summer romance--lovely and fleeting.

By the Way: For the hardcores, Rilo Kiley is headed to Stubb’s in Austin tonight, if you feel like making the three-hour trek.

Random Detail: The banter between Blake Sennett and the audience was quite amusing. Between songs he'd smile and ramble on about various details of his day. He was funny and his stories packed a witty punch. --Krissi Reeves

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