Monday, February 02, 2004

My Morning Jacket Concert at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC - January 31, 2004

photo by Linda Park

My Morning Jacket roared into the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC last Saturday night and left most of the audience blown away by their tour de force aural assault and beautifully haunting vocals.

For $15 bucks, you got to hear three bands - opener Dr Dog, Citizen Cope and headliner My Morning Jacket. After experiences like this show, one swears to never to shell out major bucks for arena shows that are as bogus as they are expensive.

So is My Morning Jacket the real deal or just the flavor of the moment? Well I'd have to say they're the best thing from Kentucky since bourbon.

Touring behind their latest album, It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket played a healthy selection of new songs and a few from their catalog. Show highlights included the opener "One Big Holiday", "Mahgeeta" and "Steam Engine".

The Washington Times' Scott Galupo wrote:

"I'd enjoy watching this band perform if I were deaf. Seeing Jacket in its dirt-rock glory is a treat all its own, quite apart from hearing how tight and heavy they sound. "

No doubt, James' hair is part of the show as much as the manic energy careening about the stage, always in danger of whacking folks in the front row.

At times, you're not sure where the echoey-reverb drenched vocals are coming from. But make no mistake, Jame's voice is an experience to hear.

The Washington Post's Eric Brace writes of the My Morning Jacket as:

"a soundtrack to a postmodern Great Plains western coming off like Crazy Horse, early ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Royal Trux, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Flying Burrito Brothers all rolled into one. "

The Washington Times' Galupo writes of the sound as being like "Sparklehorse fronted by Neil Young with the kind of sweet male tenor that can alter its tone to suit the hard, stripped-to-the-bones rock of a band like Crazy Horse."

The comparison is not too far off when James puts down his electric Flying V guitar still ringing with feedback and picks up an acoustic and performs a couple of soft, delicate tunes like "Golden".

But MMJ is not just James but an accomplished reformed band with drummer Patrick Hallahan, keyboard player Bo Koster , bassist Two-Tone Tommy and lead guitarist Carl Broemel. At the 9:30 Club, the band was tight and showed no signs of having had a major lineup change in just the past couple of months.

In an interview with The Washington Post's Eric Brace, lead Jim James discusses artistic honesty:

"It's not about who you know, it's about what's in your heart," he says. "Not about what you look like or what you wear. Musical fads, big hype waves in the press, none of that is important. What's important is connecting, going out on the road and playing a great concert. I love that. Just connecting with people on that level. It's an honor and I want to go play it for them.

And when the show closed with Run Thru and the lights went up, few would have doubted the sincerity of James' comments about playing music for the sheer joy of it.

For more, see My Morning Jacket.


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