Indie pop couple Jenny and Johnny rocked SOhO on Monday night. The duo played an hour-long set of tracks mostly lifted from last summer’s album I’m Having Fun Now. Jenny and Johnny’s live show stayed true to the title of their record as they clearly had a blast on stage and brought the audience along for the ride.
Shaggy-haired pop artist Miracle Parade — the moniker of Los Angeles-based performer Christopher Pappas — opened the show, moving the crowd with the ’60s-inspired “Sweet Tooth.” Pappas kept the audience entertained in between songs as he joked about sleeping on a Santa Barbara beach next to a dead seal. He evoked the Beach Boys through vocal harmonies with his backing band, creating an ethereal sound. Miracle Parade got most audience participation during his last song, “The Dying Physicist,” and had us singing the track’s chilling final melody along with him.
Jenny and Johnny took to the stage afterward. First Johnathan Rice appeared in a vintage Mickey Mouse T-shirt under his black leather jacket, while the petite Jenny Lewis emerged with her trademark red hair and heels, looking all dolled up. Jenny’s simple remark, “Hit it, Johnny,” opened the show. The duo began the concert with “Committed.”
Sharing vocals on “Scissor Runner,” Jenny and Johnny exchanged glances and smiles with each other. They sealed the deal with the performance when they played their guitars face-to-face — the audience could feel the love between the two.
Jenny later sang “Just Like Zeus,” a track that she said was about a “couple of skanks” she met. The song features quips aimed at a two-timing man, but during the performance she playfully aimed them at Johnny as he played his guitar.
In a night of dedications, Johnny dedicated the mellow “Switchblade,” a track about poverty, to the kids on State Street that “sure as shit couldn’t afford anything [he] could.” Jenny later dedicated the surf’s-up track, “Big Wave,” to California. Johnny also sang his political anthem, “Animal,” which Jenny backed with her beautiful vocals.
The Coachella-bound duo performed Johnny’s own “We’re All Stuck Out in the Desert,” a song they taught the audience that had us singing back, “And we’re gonna die!” Johnny delivered his big lines with soul.
The best part of the night was when Jenny played her track “The Next Messiah” in all its almost-nine-minute glory. She let her feisty side out as she delivered defiant lines about bringing down a man’s ego. It was amazing to hear Jenny’s big voice come from her small frame. Pretty much a jam session song, Jenny and Johnny tore up the small SOhO stage together with their guitars in hand.
Ending their set with Jenny’s “Carpetbaggers,” the duo wrapped up their show. They thoroughly entertained the crowd throughout and gave colorful interpretations of their tracks with the live performances. The two were just adorable together. Although we enjoyed the one night stand, we’re hoping next time they at least leave a number we can call the next morning.