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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CMJ 2010 Day 1: Jenny and Johnny and Wild Nothing at Irving Plaza

On our first day of CMJ, we started the night out a bit late and sadly just missed Times New Viking, but we were just in time to grab a drink and catch the Wild Nothing set. The four-piece jumped right in, performing tracks off their debut album called Gemini, released on Captured Tracks. The band’s bassist was handling the hooks just as well as well as Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division, running nice grooves up and down the fret board. The dueling guitar work was nice, kind of reminded me of a more ethereal version of the band Real Estate. The bassist and guitarist wore beards, while the singer, Jack Tatum, looked clean cut, like a prep school kid. The drummer had a clean-cut surfer look. The band had a nice sound heavy on the New Order/Joy Division influences with punching drums and bass, but the voice and guitars had the Pains of Being Pure at Heart vibe, maybe with some Interpol thrown into the mix. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the band’s set. It was very smooth and consistent. However, the songs "Chinatown," "Confirmation," and "Summer Holiday" really stood out.

The lovely Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis has now teamed up with Johnathan Rice, and they play together as Jenny and Johnny. They released their debut album I’m Having Fun Now back in August. They took the stage and opened with their song "Committed." "This song’s about some Cali snakes!" exclaimed Jenny Lewis as they then jumped into "My Pet Snakes," the first tune to feature Lewis on lead vocals. After the song, she said, "Do you think in ten years there won’t be any strip clubs in New York City? Everybody needs a little smut sometimes!" Besides playing bass and guitar and keyboards, Lewis joined in with the drummer on a mini-drum kit on the side of the stage on the next tune.

Jenny took on lead vocals and rocked out "Big Wave," which really seemed to get the crowd going. Next she said, "I’m going play a new song for all the girls out there, called ‘Just One Of The Guys.’”

Rice then shouted out, "If this song isn't blogworthy, I don't know what is!" as drummer Jason and guitarist Tiko left the stage and he and Jenny performed the tune "Animal" as an intimate duet.

The band members rejoined the group as Lewis said, "Doesn’t it seem like 2008 was so long ago? This next song is an oldie from 2008," and they busted into "Carpetbaggers," a tune Jenny did on her second solo LP, Acid Tongue. It originally featured vocal parts by Elvis Costello, and here Johnny filled in. They ended the show with another tune off Acid Tongue called "The Next Messiah." They almost played their new album, I’m Having Fun Now, in its entirety, except for one song, "While Men Are Dreaming."

Jenny and Johnny Set list:
Scissor Runner
New York Cartoon
My Pet Snake
Just Like Zeus
Straight Edge Of The Blade
Big Wave
Just One Of The Guys
The Next Messiah

Word by Kevin Serra Pics by Clovis IV