Jenny Owen Youngs is young, oh so hipster, and she’s got something to say to you. Which may or may not be a joke, depending on whether she’s singing or talking. Her songs are sweet, thoughtful, and melodious love songs (mostly), but as soon as the music stops, all seriousness gets set aside. Even her introduction of her band-mates (her drummer has some bold eyebrows, apparently) and comments on the insane heat at Rock and Roll Hotel (exchanging moist DNA with the crowd) were delivered with the kind of deadpan wit that I love. Especially with the kind of heat we were dealing with, we needed a little humor to keep punches from being exchanged instead of just sweaty DNA. Jenny’s newer stuff, off her album “Transmitter Failure,” really rocked me on Saturday. The faster, more upbeat pace of those songs, especially when she sang in her lower register, really set her apart from the myriad other folk solo-girl acts. It also definitely didn’t hurt that she had Bess Rogers, who Jenny mentioned plays with Tegan and Sara, backing her up with some vocals and guitar action.
When Jenny did slip into those slower songs, I found that they often meandered a little too much for me and seemed to be imitating some of my other faves from Hotel Cafe like Meiko and Priscilla Ahn. That does make sense, because Jenny was part of the Hotel Cafe Tour last year, but I think she has something really great and different with the more rockin’ sound. She actually slipped up at one point in the night and thanked Hotel Cafe instead of Rock and Roll Hotel. Oops!
At the end of Jenny’s set, Jukebox the Ghost (who she was opening for on Saturday and is currently touring with) came up and covered one of her songs, which was great. My one major complaint was that she didn’t play her cover of “Hot in Herre.” Come on! Turning the temperature down to “surface temperature of the sun” would have been an improvement. I can’t think of a more appropriate song!
Jenny is on Twitter, if you want to check out more of what she has to say, and if you’ve never heard of her before, I recommend “F*** Was I,” her single that was featured on Weeds and pimped by Perez Hilton.