It's hard to pin down what exactly to think of Rilo Kiley at this point in the group's career. On the one hand, as a band that has worked its way up from humble beginnings to indie stardom, honing its

It's hard to pin down what exactly to think of Rilo Kiley at this point in the group's career. On the one hand, as a band that has worked its way up from humble beginnings to indie stardom, honing its musicianship, live show and overall presence over the past nine years, the L.A.-based quartet is pretty damn impressive. On the other hand, the group's latest album, "Under the Blacklight," is, well, just fine and all, but finds it moving in some questionable directions.

That being said, the slight genre-hopping missteps found scattered throughout "Blacklight" can easily be overlooked thanks to the aforementioned qualities that makes Rilo Kiley so great. And in a live setting, though not quite as effective audience reception-wise, the new songs sound pretty good. And most get your feet moving.

So on the first night of the group's two-night stint at New York's Webster Hall on Sept. 22, Rilo Kiley dazzled (Jenny Lewis' sparkly outfit and glitter-filled balloons included), and rocked like time-honored pros.

Opening with the lo-fi "It's a Hit" from 2004's "More Adventerous," the band held the wall-to-wall crowd captive under the spell of Lewis' girlish yet powerful and affecting voice. Kudos to the rest of the band members who make the quartet so tight, but it's all about the red-headed siren when she opens her mouth, and Lewis never missed a note all night.

The set rolled along through lively, hook-friendly songs such as the guitar-propelled "Portions for Foxes," "Silver Lining" and 2002's "The Execution of All Things" stand-outs, the folksy sing-along "With Arms Outstretched" and the vibrant and soaring "Spectacular Views."

The crowd kept it shakin' on uptempo dance numbers from "Blacklight" including the shimmery, disco-influenced "Breakin' Up," funky single "Moneymaker" and through the sassy, surfer-cool of "Smoke Detector," but lost its steam for the countrified "Close Call" and the slavish Fleetwood Mac homage "Dreamworld."

During the encore, the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Blake Sennett, who donned a party hat for the occasion and quipped something about Red Lobster to a fan holding a sign. The group ended on a soft and bittersweet note with two tunes from "More Adventurous," "A Man/Me/Then Jim" and the heartbreakingly lovely "Does He Love You?"

Here is Rilo Kiley's set list:

"It's a Hit"
"Close Call"
"Portions for Foxes"
"Paint's Peeling"
"Breakin' Up"
"Dreamworld"
"Moneymaker"
"Wires and Waves"
"Ripcord"
"With Arms Outstretched"
"Under the Blacklight"
"Silver Lining"
"I Never"
"Smoke Detector"
"15"
"Rise Up With Fists"
"Spectacular Views"

Encore:
"A Man/Me/Then Jim"
"Does He Love You?"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print