Natalie Nicole Gilbert Recalls a Jenny Lewis Stunner: Pop-soul artist Natalie Nicole Gilbert told us about her Jenny Lewis experience.
Natalie Nicole Gilbert: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I attended a Jenny Lewis gig at what was then H Club, Los Angeles (just before COVID business closures brought the venue to an early end). I knew Jenny best from her acting days in a lesser known film called A Friendship in Vienna. I read somewhere that these days she prefers to be known for her music rather than acting in her youth, so don’t tell her I said so. (Also possible that was just a misinterpretation of her music video for She’s Not Me, a clever walkthrough of highlights from her acting days.)
The setting was magical, everything people think of when you tell them you’re attending a concert in California. The stage was built over a pool between two towers of the exclusive club with multiple restaurants and floors of dedicated hotel rooms. Suite balconies overlooked the stage in makeshift box seats where room service could bring cocktails. Palm trees and a dusky sunset hung overhead. H Club was celebrating its one-year anniversary (having originated in London as the Hospital Club, then expanding to this local branch). I joined primarily to have access to the original location during my travels abroad, with the bonus of reciprocal use of the home L.A. club. Like SoHo House it was known for having mostly creative types for members, so they couldn’t bring in just any artist for this audience.
Jenny expertly weaved through her setlist with both high energy and a laidback air that fit the breezy February night perfectly. I had heard some of her music by then but didn’t know her fuller catalog, which is why I’d RSVPed to get a better introduction. When she played Just One of the Guys I could see she had a perfect understanding of Hollywood. She had an uncanny way of making sad lyrics sound upbeat and to wrap humor into catchy hooks with a sardonic tone. Both her lyrics and performance told you this is someone you should add to your dream dinner guest list.
It’s not easy to win over the kind of audience in attendance that night but her songs were the perfect salve for a not-yet-spring evening. I think it was the last gig I saw before Covid kicked off and lockdowns became a common experience. I snapped some stills and video for my socials and just sipped it in like an immersive light show. It’s almost odd now to see that crowd of people in my Instagram video that night – swaying in shoulder to shoulder crowds in front of the stage. Jenny is all grown up now but she seems to have done it the right way – while keeping a lot of that childhood fun and playful spirit intact. All of us would also do well to keep that intact during and after the pandemic – that candid demeanor that acknowledges loss but celebrates the high moments as well.
Natalie Nicole Gilbert Recalls a Jenny Lewis Stunner: Natalie Nicole Gilbert’s new single “Victory” is out now.