By Casey Thompson
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The capacity crowd at the Glasshouse in downtown Pomona cheered
exuberantly as indie pop superstars Rilo Kiley took the stage
The night began with opening acts Michael Runion and
Whispertown2000, two Kiley-esque groups that exhibit the same
country/folk roots and superb melody writing acumen as the
With songs ranging in style from rock to country to doo-wop, the
two local bands got the crowd moving and shaking before Jenny Lewis
and company eventually took the stage, occasionally collaborating
with each other – and later, appearing with Rilo Kiley.
Jangling tambourines were a favorite for both, along with
frequent instrument switching that showed off the multiple talents
of the band members.
While the opening acts had plenty to offer in the way of
enjoyable, sing-along-ready pop music, the night clearly belonged
to L.A.’s own Rilo Kiley.
The crisp, competent playing of guitarist Blake Sennett, bassist
Pierre de Reeder and drummer Jason Boesel provided the foundation
for Lewis’s distinct vocals.
Like the supporting acts, they occasionally swapped instruments,
with Lewis playing bass on funky rocker “Moneymaker.” She, Sennett
and de Reeder took turns on keyboards as well.
Some technical difficulties with Sennett’s Telecaster early in
the set forced them to play a few slower numbers that probably
would have come later in the evening. The country numbers did
little to slow the pace and energy Rilo Kiley infectiously
transmits with every note, however.
Lewis’ sultry alto penetrated almost every moment, with Sennett
lending backing vocals to most, and lead on a few, songs. Though he
used to share almost half of the lead vocal duties on their earlier
work, Lewis has become the focal point of recent albums.
The set list included songs from the last three albums,
including the double entendre of “Breakin’ Up,” the soulful fun of
“I Never” and their biggest hit to date, “Portions for Foxes.”
An extended jam on “Portions” closed the show following a brief
encore break. Arguably one of the catchiest songs ever written, the
band used it as a jumping off point for extensive vamping and
A band clearly in charge of its musical direction, Rilo Kiley
seems to truly enjoy everything it does. Lewis was totally in her
element throughout the show, chatting with the crowd and inducing
massive sing-alongs. Attribute it to the band’s inescapably catchy
writing style or the fact that it has so much fun performing, but
fans in attendance just couldn’t seem to keep from smiling.
Playing at a small venue like the Glasshouse before heading off
to Coachella just goes to show that despite their conversion to
major label status, the members of Rilo Kiley really seem to enjoy
their position at the top of the indie rock heap. Their fans
wouldn’t have it any other way.
Allen Chen/Poly Post
Rilo Kiley sells out Glasshouse without selling out
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