Show Review

Jenny Owen Youngs, Live @ The Basement

John Oswalt
“I just wanted to let you know, it’s OK to sing along.”

So Jenny Owen Youngs said to a crowd that quickly heeded her advice…especially when she broke into a solid version of “Hot in Here” by Nelly. Though not her own, this is just one of the crowd-pleasers that Youngs broke out for a fervent Columbus crowd that she has entertained at least three times in the past year and a half at the Basement.

Her headline shows have been stripped down affairs musically, consisting of her guitar lead and a drummer. This show was no different, using her accomplished songwriting and ample guitar skill to carry the night, along with some banter to compliment her sometimes darkly comedic lyrics (“Just sterilize the scalpel and let’s get this over with” she declares in her opening number “Clean Break”).

The 75-minute set was heavy on songs from her most recent album, Transmitter Failure, though she was kind enough to break out a couple new numbers from her upcoming release. The crowd was receptive but sleepy, at first, as she led with some slower songs. Attention sure did kick up, however, when her fan favorite, “Fuck Was I,” hit the room. This seemed to get Jenny going as well, and the show’s energy up even further with the aforementioned Nelly cover. She was on a roll then, going into the second half of the set with her faster-paced rock numbers, exemplified by her excellent rendition of “Last Person.” Her best effort, however, came on the final song of the set, an unnamed new song with a gentle and steady pace, giving the audience the best guitar riffs of the night. It made me none too pleased with the Basement’s policy of kicking folks out at 11pm on weekdays.

A frequent visitor, Youngs said that “the Basement was one of her favorite places to play in the whole country.” The crowd confirmed that she would be more than welcomed back soon.