As a relatively new Bethlehem transplant, I am still in the process of discovering new arts and culture venues in the Lehigh Valley. I recently had the pleasure of attending my first concert at the Musikfest Cafe in Artsquest. Although not a huge concert-goer (an ironic fact, considering I now live within minutes of Musikfest), I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Jenny Lewis live on Wednesday, June 13th. The performance was everything I could have hoped for and more, beginning with the ambiance. The stage reminded me of a 1960’s teenager’s dream bedroom, including soft, fuchsia lighting, patchouli-scented incense, and psychedelic piano—painted for Lewis by an elderly man who also gifted her a pair of rad bell bottoms. The crowd pulsed with excitement, singing along to some classic favorites, including “You Are What You Love,” from her 2006 album, Rabbit Fur Coat.
Known as an indie rock and Americana artist, Lewis’s music explores everything from relationship troubles, to working-class family dynamics, to spirituality, to my personal favorites, her catchy political commentary. She performed one of her more popular pieces, “Just One of the Guys,” in which she playfully explores the constrictions of gendered expectations of motherhood, singing, “No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys/ There’s a little something inside that won’t let me/ No matter how hard I try to have an open mind/ There’s a little clock inside that keeps tickin’” (Lewis, 2014). These lines convey the difficulty she experiences hanging out with her aging male friends, who seem unconcerned about their biological clocks, whereas the speaker is concerned that she’s seen as “just another lady without a baby” (Lewis, 2014). Lewis also performed a few of her newer pieces, including “Party Clown,” which will be featured on her forthcoming, currently untitled album in 2018.
The show ended around 10, but the audience hadn’t had their fill yet, calling Lewis and her band back with chants for an encore. The band graciously agreed to play a couple more songs, as the audience happily swayed back and forth and thoroughly enjoyed Lewis’s dulcet voice for a little longer.
Jenny Lewis will continue her tour in several cities. Please see her website for her tour schedule and further details.