ACL Live Review: Jenny Lewis

Ex-Rilo Kiley singer goes full-on pink except for her tequila goblet

As Friday’s sun set on day one of ACL Fest and the sweltering temperatures dropped a few degrees, Jenny Lewis walked onto the Vrbo stage across Barton Springs Road and set a whole new vibe for the evening.

Photo by Gary Miller

Clad in a pastel, sequined jumpsuit, sunglasses that could've been nicked from Elton John, and blown-out, bumped-up hair, the former Rilo Kiley frontwoman determined to transport the sweating, exhausted crowd somewhere mellower – where each word and note mattered.

Channeling Dolly Parton if she had been raised in Laurel Canyon, Lewis remains the master of aesthetic. Every instrument onstage was the same pastel pink as her microphone and clothes. She herself splayed out on a pastel pedestal like a Vegas lounge singer, using a smirk and a blue goblet full of tequila to express that she’s always worth paying attention to.

Most festival sets are high in energy, feeding off the massive crowds, but Lewis wanted to take this at her own pace. She strolled through “Heads Gonna Roll” and “Wasted Youth,” and then almost lost the crowd entirely though “Happy.” That’s when the Jamaican remix of “Voyager,” followed by mid-Aughts favorite “Silver Lining” by Rilo Kiley got them bounding back.

As the moon rose, the small audience – Lewis endured the misfortune of going against Guns N' Roses for half the set – stoked up their cheers, applause, and playing keep-away with giant pink and blue balloons that wafted through the air. The hour-long set ended with a joyous rendition of Rilo Kiley’s “I Never” and the band playing hard as Lewis strolled offstage.

As effortless as she manifested to begin the performance, that confidence left her audience thoroughly moved and entertained.

Jenny Lewis

Friday, Oct. 4, 6:30pm, Vrbo stage

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Jenny Lewis
SXSW Music News: Jenny Lewis Makes Surprise Appearance on Rainey Street
SXSW Music News: Jenny Lewis Makes Surprise Appearance on Rainey Street
Netflix embed follows up Father John Misty with Rilo Kiley singer

Rachel Rascoe, March 12, 2019

ACL Live Shot: Jenny Lewis
ACL Live Shot: Jenny Lewis
Live, the onetime Rilo Kiley frontwoman is no rerun

Neph Basedow, Oct. 6, 2014

More by Isa Jones
ACL Live Review: Lizzo
Crowning the queen of ACL Fest 2019

Oct. 14, 2019

ACL Live Review: Banks
Lizzo's warm-up plies thigh boots, insane dancing, and deep pipes

Oct. 7, 2019


Jenny Lewis, ACL Fest 2019, Rilo Kiley, Elton John, Dolly Parton

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle