So what would be a great show to follow up the double billing of The Black Keys and Cage The Elphant on Monday night? The answer is, My Morning Jacket. Last night the boys from Louisville, Kentucky were on fire, unleashing a fury of musical mastery on a hipster ridden crowd. Had I not just seen been blown away two days ago by Dan and Patrick and Matt Shultz and his crew, the MMJ show would have been my favorite show of 2011, hands down.
I walked into the venue after the openers had already vacated the stage. The feint smells of theatrical smoke and Stella Artois lingering in the air. The theater itself was filled with an eccletic gathering; from hipsters and hippies to music afficiandos and casual fans. All eager to see Jim James (lead singer) and Carl Broemel (lead guitarist) take over the room. The proverbial and physical stages were set, we all lay in anticipation.
The lights extinguished and the quintuple that is My Morning Jacket took front and center. After a second or two, to grab their instruments, they tackled their first song; Victory Dance. It was on. I stood before the band in awe. Their sound was larger than life. No album or recording equipment couold do justice to what I was experiencing. James has this manner of singing where he has his tongue hanging from his mouth. It adds this unique curl to the tone. Add that to the simple fact that he is a hard working, crowd pleasing, passionately over-the-top mad musical scientist, and you sir have yourself an epic front man.
I will have to admit that prior to seeing them last night, I was a casual fan. I have a couple albums, and listen to them occasionally, but after seeing the genius they produce life, they have converted me into a obsessive devotee. This sentiment is something shared by their fan base as a whole. Much like Pearl Jam or the Grateful Dead, this group earns their stripes by playing their asses off night after night.
Jim is also a bit of a cooky character, which adds mystery and a little bit of that is-he-mad feeling to his persona. During the set, he would drape a navy blue wool cape over his body, something he is well known for. Then skulking around the stage while his intense gaze peered between the opening. This man is eccentric, and I, along with the audience, were eating up every moment of it.
The music that echoed through that theater last night was majestic and powerful. Regardless if you have heard any MMJ songs before, if you have not heard them live, you simply have no idea about what they produce. The vocals projected by Jim James were so intense, that I literally had chills through a good seventy five percent of the show. Broemel adds to it all by injecting sexy guitar, which works off of James in this incredible back and forth. They would break into a jam during a song and it would flow into vocal versus guitar spread, that would leave you drooling.
At the end of it, they sadly had to leave the stage. The groupd laid our a solid two hour set, that left the fans, and myself, dying for more. The road crew came out and started divvying up the setlists. I unfortunately missed out, but as I retreated from the stage, suddenly a drumstick came flying my way. A few steps later, I turned to see a drum skin floating past my head, it was my lucky day after all. With a smile on my face I exited the theater. I had just been converted into a devout My Morning Jacket fan. Halfway down the street I turned the drum skin over, to my surprise their was a setlist taped to the inside. All I can say is, what a night.
Outta My System
Off The Record
You Wanna Freak Out
Way He Sings
Smokin From Shootin
Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt. 2
Day Is Coming
One Big Holiday