Anti-folk [anti]hero Jeffrey Lewis and his band took the stage at Scala last night armed with energy, good humour, and cartoons. The packed room was dead silent for finger-picked acoustic melodies while the floor heaved during fuzzed out rock stomps (including a cover of a Crass song). While some of his New York-centric references might only make sense if you visit our cousins over at Gothamist regularly, the majority of his songs are on more relatable subjects. His charming and witty tales of lovers' spats, fears of getting older, no fear of dying but wishing everyone would stop trying to explain what happens when you're dead, and the sentiments of being a struggling and/or failed artist (which even if you're not an artist, surely at some point you've struggled or thought you'd failed) inspire as many giggles as wistful sighs.
For pure comedic value, Lewis always shows films (read: comic books) that he also narrates. Last night he showed "A Low Budget Detective Flick" (still incomplete) and "A History of Communism Part 5: The Complete History of Communism in North Korea" (still incomplete). It's Lewis' quirks and sincerity that set him apart; he is a man who doesn't take himself too seriously but whose self-deprecation separates him from comedy bands. And a man who takes great risks in what he sings and what he shows his audience will always prove himself to be a true artist.
Photo by Amanda Farah.