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Rilo Kiley worth the wait

MATT ROBLES/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Jenny Lewis, lead singer of Rilo Kiley, performs at Club Congress Tuesday night. A large gathering of fans, including many UA students, crowded the stage at the downtown venue.
By Brannon Larsen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 28, 2004
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Rilo Kiley's latest album, More Adventurous, could be categorized somewhere between country and indie glory, an articulate piece of work blushing with confidence and a remarkable amount of twang - which is a definite good thing. If you've heard their older albums, Execution of All Things and Takeoffs & Landings, you won't be surprised by the new record, with singer Jenny Lewis sounding like a modern-day flashback to Dusty Springfield, with a sprinkle of Madonna's sultriness just for good measure.

Rilo Kiley played Wednesday night at Club Congress along with the Elected (a band featuring two Rilo Kiley members), Tilly and the Wall (think Sleater-Kinney but with tap dancing). Both opening bands were impressive, and neither could stop talking about Rilo Kiley's upcoming set - the job of any good opening set.

By 11 p.m., Rilo Kiley came on stage to an anxious crowd, full of people who had been waiting since as early as 6 p.m. They played the first five tracks from their new album before a guitar issue forced their first break. Bassist Pierre de Reeder, also known as "Duke," had a tuning problem. He warned me something like that might happen when I spoke with him before the show.

"We sometimes get up there and we don't sound right, despite the sound check or whatever we did to prepare, and so early into the show we stop, tell everyone to wait with us, and adjust. It's actually kind of fun. It makes us feel like an actual live band," said Duke.

I asked Duke about the differences between this latest record and The Execution of All Things, released two years ago: "I think we were just more confident during the recording. We we're working with the same people, the same studio (in Los Angeles), even the same instruments. We really just came into it all with more of that 'we know what we want to do' attitude."

That confidence was evident throughout the night, especially during the second half of the show where they started blending some tracks together without a break in the middle. You could see Jenny and Duke smiling at each other the whole night, probably because they knew how excited the audience was to be there. The audience sang almost every song, especially the tracks from More Adventurous, without ever missing a step.

"What surprised - well, not really surprised but excited us - was what we were able to accomplish with this album. We sort of did everything we had set out to do, so in that sense, compared to our older records, it's a little more accomplished," Duke said.

He also couldn't stop talking about the new Bright Eyes recording (don't run out to buy it, he got an advanced copy), a band he admires who will be touring Europe, along with Rilo Kiley, early next year. "It's a pretty amazing album. We've all been listening to it on the road and it's kind of putting us in the studio mood, like we want to go back and record some more."

For now though, Duke said, Rilo Kiley is just happy to be touring and seeing such excited fans. "We get stoked anytime we play in front of young people, the fact that they know our music already is pretty amazing. We just love doing this, and coming to Tucson is always great because it's so close to home." All the members of Rilo Kiley live in Los Angeles. Their latest album, More Adventurous, was released Aug. 17.

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