Jenny Toomey's show at The Dame last night was well worth the hour-plus drive and $8 admission (even if that worked out to approximately a dollar per song). Accompanied by Franklin Bruno on piano (mostly) and Jean Cook on violin, Jenny did a short set alternating songs from 2001's Antidote and 2002's Tempting: Jenny Toomey Sings the Songs of Franklin Bruno. The Antidote material sounded much better live—if anything, my complaint about that album is that it seems a little overproduced and too "smooth." Live, it was more raw and passionate. The stuff from Tempting—which I was hearing for the first time—is a bit unusual, recalling, dare I say it, classic showtunes more than anything else (the CDDB listing I pulled when I added the album to my iTunes library today classified the album as Easy Listening). But if post-punk indiepop has taught us anything, it's that no style is inherently uncool, and this stuff was definitely not uncool. "Your Inarticulate Boyfriend" deserves a prize just for its delightful title, and the rest of the album maintains a tone of clever but embittered wackiness that is endearing. I would have liked the set to go on all night, but as first openers, Jenny et al. played less than an hour. Since it was a school night, I only stayed for a few songs by Fruit Bats and missed headliners Iron and Wine completely. Given the small sample size, I'll refrain from comments on either.
This was also my first trip to the Dame, a new entry into the Lexington club scene, and I was quite satisfied. It's cut from the same mold as a million other small indie-oriented clubs. In fact, I had feelings of deja vu more than once during the evening. But to my knowledge, Lexington hasn't had a venue catering to this scene for some time, so it's a welcome addition. Jenny was pleased enough with the sound quality to mention it during the between-song patter, so I guess they're doing something right in that department as well. For a Monday night, the crowd was more than respectable, though I suspect many there didn't realize who Jenny Toomey is, but such are the injustices of this fallen world.