Juliette & The Licks
Sat May 21
1 SW 3rd

It's not immediately damning to me that Juliette Lewis started a rock band. I like Juliette Lewis, and always vote "hot" over "not" whenever it comes up over lunch and copies of Us Weekly.

Touring in support of Juliette & The Licks' first full-length, You're Speaking My Language, plenty of people will go see Lewis for the sake of celebrity and because she thrashes around in spandex rock babe gear--myself included. I mean I saw Natural Born Killers in the theater when I was 14 (didn't get it at all, immediately wanted to buy a gun), and Lewis had style and presence that deposed Drew Barrymore as my favorite Hollywood bad girl.

You could make the argument that this should be about music, but I disagree. The endeavor's marketed to profit from Lewis' celebrity status (see the band name, see the album cover with Lewis flicking her hair dramatically in wide, mini-skirted stance in front of nameless musicians), and mostly everyone just wants to see what a conquest of Brad Pitt looks like in real life.

However, as far as the music does go, it's incredibly derivative, a hodgepodge of butt-rocky, raspy, generic ROCK. Lewis described their influences as "everything from Talking Heads to Patti Smith to the Pretenders" (as if these are disparate or remarkable). I'm particularly anticipating the live versions of the ballads, because I know she'll be great at nailing just the right passion poses and because shit like "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" still gets me all moist-eyed.

All in all, it doesn't seem like Lewis is straying from her acting career. Think of it like you're on a movie set, and she has the role of the sexy rocker chick who maybe has a secret or some connection to a missing prostitute or something, and the detective is tracking her (played by Brad Pitt?), and the band is just like every other manufactured-for-film rock band, creating a backdrop for a character and image that you have to admit, is something to see.