It’s poetic that Jenny Lewis was with Phoenix and Beck on tour and that their closing pit stop was at the Kia Forum on Monday night.
I am a self-professed Jenny Lewis superfan, and over the years we became friendly because of our mutual enjoyment of the sport of boxing, a sport I have managed to work in for several years. The one time I got to spend quite a bit of time shooting the shit with Jenny was on the rooftop of the Fonda Theatre after a Phoenix show that was part of a multi-night run at the intimate venue. She was with a favorite LA-based singer-songwriter of mine Pearl Charles. At one point Jenny pulled out a joint and asked “Can I smoke this up here?” I said, “You’re Jenny Lewis, nobody is going to stop you. She passed me the joint (I believe it was even her own brand of joints?) and I hit it and I turned and could see my group of friends I came with giving me a look like “Dude this has to be a bucket list item.” It was.
The next night there was an HBO fight at The Forum that we both were attending, and wouldn’t you know it but her seats were right next to the seats I got comped for a friend of mine. We spent the whole fight night hanging out and watching the fights. Since then I’ve been able to interview Jenny about her boxing fandom and even get her tickets to a couple of big fights in Vegas. Nowadays, she’s touring in support of this year’s excellent Joy’All album, which has more of a Nashville flavor to it than her previous solo works, more in line with her debut solo effort Rabbit Fur Coat from 2006.
Jenny was the second performer at The Forum on Monday night after Sir Chloe, and though her set was brief, it was spectacular. Three songs from the new record were played including my favorite “Psychos”. Three came from The Voyager including “Head Underwater”, a song I remember her playing on tour many years before when she was supporting her second album. Fingers crossed that she returns to LA with a headline show of her own so we get 90-plus minutes of Jenny Lewis songs, because 45 minutes felt like a tease.
Up next was Phoenix, who are touring in support of their own awesome record from last year Alpha Zulu. Few bands blend pop and rock as good as these guys and there’s a reason they’ve been able to headline festivals for the last decade plus without people getting tired of it. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix remains a seminal album of my youthful days of being a broke pretend-college kid. It’s insane that record is almost 15 years old. Five tracks from that record were played including standouts “Lasso” and “1901”.
What was awesome was that Phoenix dusted off an old favorite of mine “Everything Is Everything”, one of the first two songs that made me a fan of theirs. It was the first time the band had performed it in the US since 2010.
Closing things out was Beck, who hasn’t put out a new record since 2019 but carries the deep catalog of hits that he doesn’t need a new album to get fans to come out. From opening with “Devils Haircut” to closing with “Where It’s At”, it’s no surprise he is one of the few holdovers from the 90s movement that is still not only going strong, but selling in big venues like The Forum. Perhaps it was because he was ahead of his time in the 90s.
Though traffic was nuts thanks to Taylor Swift next door at SoFi Stadium, those that came in for the show were treated to a tripleheader that meshed quite wonderfully. Phoenix and Beck continue their tour with a new slew of openers, catch them if you can
Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Eric Han