Monday, September 8, 2008

Here's Looking at you

MY MORNING JACKET - HOB, Myrtle Beach, SC; Aug. 31, 2008

Evil eyes hid ominously in the shadows as Jacket marched on stage and strummed their way into the opening of a massive set full of the zealous and wild sounds of Evil Urges. The album has garnered mixed reviews, deservedly so. It’s a frustrating album from a band thought be putting out the finest material of their career, not toss away songs. But regardless LTME’s opinion of Evil, Jacket still melts the stage live.
Jim James is a rock icon.
He embodies the true essence of a lead man. Flamboyant, confident, bold, weird, brilliant and talented as hell. The difference in a lead man like Jim James and say Bono is that the rest of jacket are just as essential to the live show as is their front man, often times more crucial than he.
My Morning Jacket is a perfect unit of sound.
They are about the tightest band in the world. They play rockin’ songs without overshadowing the sound with loudness or unneeded solos. They appreciate the importance of the layered sound and stay in time perfectly to execute their songs to a degree that always makes them sound better live than on the album.
Obstinately, My Morning Jacket is the premiere rock outfit in the US, southern or otherwise.
Theoretically, My Morning Jacket is among the most important bands in the modern era of rock n’ roll.
Technically, My Morning Jacket is the most engaging live act in the US.
Obviously, My Morning Jacket kicks ass.
This is the second go round I have had with the band, and it met and possibly surpassed expectations. I am openly obsessed with this band (that little picture on the far right of my header, that’s Jacket playing live). Seeing them at the height of the Z tour ranks among the greatest shows I have ever witnessed. This was a pretty amazing show as well; there were just some different circumstances that played a role in this one.
Rolling into Myrtle about 35 minutes before the door opens and having dinner as the groups top priority was not the best way to start the night. But I had just travelled from Athens, GA, so we needed to sit for a minute, catch our breath, grab a bite and drink a cold beer. It’s just a shame that 500 other people got settled in the venue while I ate a shitty Philly cheese steak.
Once inside, my brother and lady friend were content hanging out in the balcony, not in a vantage point of the actual band, rather catching some glimpses of the act on a fuzzy monitor that hung off the side of the wall. I go into a mild panic attack.
This is not an event to be heard, it is to be felt and lived.
I had to find a better spot.
Missing the first few tracks, I scrambled my way around the balcony and lower levels peering in and around the masses, eyes desperately scouring for a void in the sea. I found a temporary focal point, no panorama, but a sneak peek all the same. I hurriedly grab the others and bring them to rest their eyes on what I was seeing. They were not seeing things as I was. Another move was in order and my eyes chased the floor as a dehydrated dog laps at an empty bowl on a hot day.
We found a spot where we could all see, at least well enough.
Sharing turns at the front of our triangle of vantage and rotating around on the stairs and making runs to the bar, we took in as much Jacket as we were able to set our eyes on. I think I made two believers in the process. One, a fan for a while via me finally saw the might of the act he previously felt would be mellow and folksy live. The other realized, well at least took a major stride towards realizing, that I don’t go to shows with noodling hippies. She’s still not sold, but we are making progress.
The energy, the showmanship, the insane lighting!!! The set list was stellar. Heavy on Evil, as it should be in support of the album, they still touched on It Still Moves, TN Fire and the cream of the crop from Z. In the finale these eyes soaked up the one two punch of Evil’s closer then into a smashing Run Thru with a somewhat unexpected Holiday closer. This was a rock show by all accounts. I am a redeemed believer in the Jacket again.
Jacket may have had their evil eyes perched to loom over the crowd, but all eyes were on them as we heard and lived a special show.
Long live Jacket and long live the craft of a true rock show.

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