My Morning Jacket 09/21/08
Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Note: This piece made it’s original debut on mtvnews.com.
For most of the decade, every jaded junkie brown nosed rock critic scumbag has declared My Morning Jacket saviors of rock and roll. MMJ front man Jim James has been dubbed the second coming of Christ more than Jesus himself at this point. Usually I tend to ignore most of these jaded junkie brown nosed rock critic scumbags, but for whatever reason, I happened to give My Morning Jacket a chance earlier this year when their latest CD ended up in my lap for free, and boy did it pay off. Over the last few months, I have become obsessed with the 5 piece hybrid-rock band from Kentucky. So I gathered up all the coins in my couch, turned in some recyclables, and sold my kidney on EBAY in order to purchase a pair of tickets for their concert this past Sunday night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Even with the band starting nearly 30 minutes after the noted ticket time, trendy HIP(pie)STERS (you know, those folks with hippie like tendencies, only they shower, hold down full time jobs and buy their clothes from such retched places like Abercrombie and Fitch) slowly found their way into the outdoor venue and into their seats. With beer in one hand and plates of cheese/crackers and sodium rich lunch meats in the other, the crowd was ready to be taken on an epic rock and roll journey.
Opening with the title track from their latest record – Evil Urges the band launched into a 2.5 hour set that featured a solid selection of new numbers as well as many MMJ classics. The greatest thing about My Morning Jacket is the fact that it is next to impossible to describe their sound. They are a true hybrid of American Rock & Roll music. On Sunday night, the band ran the gauntlet touching on a little bit of everything for the just shy of sold out crowd. “Off The Record” & “Phone Went West” brought a strong reggae vibe, while “Highly Suspicious” brought the funk to crowd. Having played many a Bonnaroo festivals, MMJ can jam with the best of them, using older numbers such as “Dondante” & “Run Thru” to explore uncharted waters. Fear not fans of mullets and Trans AM’s, MMJ can bring the metal too. If the crowd was not so stoned on dope, I am sure pits could have broken out for songs such as “I’m Amazed” or the show closing “One Big Holiday”.
To say My Morning Jacket can do it all is a huge understatement. The majority of the set was a full on attack on the senses. After starting with a bang, the band nearly put the crowd to sleep with a string of slow songs like the new numbers “Thank You Too!” & “Sec Walking” sandwiched in between older slow jams like “The Way That He Sings” & “I Will Sing You Songs”. However, looking back, this lull was needed as when the band climbed out of the valley they dug themselves into and started to rock out again. Front man Jim James is truly a mad scientist, one moment wailing on guitar, only to hide behind his trademark cape the next. I have always been more interested in music over lyrics, but with the messages of equal rights for all (Evil Urges), the death of periodicals as well as being a victim to the mirror (Librarian) and of course, Peanut Butter Pudding Surprise (Highly Suspicious) I may just end up voting for Jim James over those other tools this November. After a mind bl0wing set, the band came back to play some of their biggest “hits” during a lengthy encore. James joked with the crowd about the hidden treasures on Los Angeles, and how everyone knows about the Hollywood Sign and Statue of Liberty as tourist destinations in this city (no, that is not a typo), but how it’s really all about the hidden treasures in this city. “Golden” was really the only large crowd sing along during the evening, and “Wordless Chorus” had James hitting notes that I doubt Mariah Carey could hit.
While, the entire show was amazing in my eyes, the one two three closing punch of “Highly Suspicious”, “Run Thru” and “One Big Holiday” not only kicked my arse, but the asses of everyone who made it inside. Feeling as if it was 1988 and I had just taken a Mike Tyson bl0w to the dome, I returned to the stacked parking lot with a smile that reached from one ear to the next. My Morning Jacket is truly the perfect mix of American music from the last 100 years, and now that I have had my first taste of what this band is capable of doing, I know I will be back for more.