Friday, July 18, 2008

Rilo Kiley, June 18 at the Greek Theater

I had just seen Rilo Kiley at Coachella but I had to see them again when the opportunity presented itself. They were so amazingly perfect and glorious at the festival, I had to see them with a full show. Of course, that could lead to a problem: What if they weren't as good the second time, would that tarnish the memory I so recently had of them? As it turns out, I needn't have worried. Though their set had been more concise at Coachella and this time didn't have the newness of being the first time I had seem them (except for the truly first time I saw them, opening for the Breeders in '01 on their first album, making me a lifelong fan) but it was a great set. And speaking of the set, interestingly, they played a lot of the best, really good songs off their new album early in the set ("Money Maker," the first single from their new album second, and "Breakin' Up," the best song off the album, fourth) and then got to some of their more obscure but fan-favorite songs later on, making it seem like the set-list was backwards. It's not like they've had any true hits; they're a band that survives on just having good songs on really good albums, more than having recognizable tracks from the radio or in movies. I would guess that the dedicated audience should now be just as familiar with the new album (out for almost a year now) as they are with the rest of their catalog, you'd think the bandmembers would have the confidence to order their set so they build up to their best stuff. Then again, I was obsessed with Under the Blacklight and that's what I most wanted to hear; while I love their entire catalog, I really most wanted to hear the new stuff (usually the opposite of what the audience wants). Not that I have any complaints about what they played (though a run-through of "Go Ahead" would have been welcome), just that I'm used to a climax in a show and this show peaked early and leveled-out, and after hearing my favorite songs within the first 20 minutes, I was looking forward to them topping that but they merely matched it. One odd thing was that the place was only about 4/5 full (if that). I don't think it had anything to do with Rilo Kiley being good -- or even great -- enough to fill such a place, they're just not as big a name as a group needs to be to sell it out. The Cure, R.E.M., and the White Stripes have played the Greek on recent tours. But nearly any show at the Greek is a beautiful thing, being a mid-size (5,000 seats) venue surrounded by trees and a gorgeous early-summer evening. It's so nice, even the performers comment about it, and they're from L.A.(in the case of Rilo Kiley). Lavender Diamond opened the show and they/she didn't move me so much but I remember the singer's voice was lovely.

Rilo Kiley's set-list:
"Close Call
"The Moneymaker"
"Capturing Moods"
"Breakin’ Up"
"Does He Love You?"
"The Absence of God"
"With Arms Outstretched"
"Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You"
"It’s a Hit"
"A Better Son/Daughter"
"Silver Lining"
"I Never"