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Rilo Kiley/The Brunettes
June 15, 2005 - Showbox - Seattle, WA
by Katie Sauro

“B-A-B-Y, I love to call you baby… my sugar, my honey, my B-A-B-Y baby...”  And thus began another sugary-sweet set by New Zealanders the Brunettes, complete with YMCA-like arm motions, a horn section, and harmonizing vocals.

Dressed in black and white and armed with an arsenal of instruments, five of the seven members of the Brunettes took to the stage in all their pop-perfection glory, emanating 60s kitsch from every fiber of their being.  Their songs varied between folk and pure pop, with guitarist Jonathan Bree and keyboardist/clarinetist Heather Mansfield switching off on lead vocal, amid oohs, aahs, handclaps, and whistles.

The cute and quirky band’s set was filled with cute and quirky pop songs, like “Loopy Loopy Love,” “Talk to Jesus,” and “Polyester Meets Acetate,” that took basic folk tunes and tweaked them, adding synths, triangles, xylophones, glockenspiels, and horns for a more modern sound.  They played many songs from their newest EP entitled
When Ice Meets Cream, released a few months ago on Lil’ Chief Records.

Their set was fun, and the hipsters and indie kids in the audience, most of whom had never even heard of the Brunettes, lapped it up.  They had the crowd smiling and clapping along, laughing at irreverent references to Kevin Bacon and the Olsen twins (as well as strangely creepy Olsen twins masks the band donned during their final song), and dancing to the blissfully happy music.

Speaking of pop perfection, headlining the show was L.A.-based band Rilo Kiley.  Their set spanned all three of their records, and included crowd favorites like “The Good That Won’t Come Out,” and “Pictures of Success,” as well as “It’s a Hit” and “Ripchord” from their newest album,
More Adventurous.  Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett, and company were incredible, playing a set full of energized folk, power pop, and even some acoustic country twang.

Rilo Kiley’s final song of the night brought out all members of the Brunettes, first band of the night Feist, as well as Lewis’ partner-in-crime from the Postal Service, Ben Gibbard, for a brilliant acoustic cover of an eighties classic, Pete Townshend’s (The Who) “Let My Love Open the Door.”

I was a little upset that RK didn’t play one of my absolute favorite songs, “Science vs. Romance,” but it was a night full of talented musicians, fun music, and Olsen twin masks, so who can complain?

The Brunettes and Rilo Kiley, as well as Feist, are currently finishing up the last leg of their U.S. tour.  Rilo Kiley will be touring the U.K. and much of Europe this summer.