Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Morning Jacket: Live at the Palace

The up and coming group My Morning Jacket (aka MMJ) closed out their fall tour with their annual performance in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on this past Thanksgiving eve. This year’s sold-out concert was held at the magnificent Louisville Palace on November 23rd 2005. The Palace is a renovated theatre from the late 1920’s with lots of ornate decorations in the Spanish Baroque motif and excellent acoustics.

MMJ consists of singer-guitarist and songwriter Jim James, bassist Two-Tone Tommy, drummer Patrick Hallahan, keyboardist Bo Koster, and guitarist Carl Broemel. Koster and Broemel are recent additions to MMJ replacing founding members Johnny Quaid and Danny Cash.

The band opened the two hour, 20 song set with three back-to-back songs from their newest album Z: Wordless, It Beats, and Gideon. The band’s sound was tight and focused from the get go as they tore into One Big from 2003’s It Still Moves. Based on the large amount of sing-along voices coming from the crowd this was one of MMJ fan’s favorites. The guitar breaks featured Carl and Jim performing dueling leads with excellent backing from the rest of the band.

Wonderful, from Z was next followed by Lowdown and I Will Sing from At Dawn and It Still Moves respectively. I Will Sing featured more of Jim James’s excellent electric guitar work. It seemed like each time he picked up his Flying V guitar the band’s sound would just explode and rock really hard. The acoustic number Golden followed with its haunting steel guitar riffing expertly layered under Jim’s vocals. The quirky Sooner from the Darla Records compilation CD.

The last track from 1999’s Tennessee Fire, I Think I'm Going To Hell came next. More haunting guitars with Jims’s lonesome voice providing the perfect counter-point to the weeping guitar track. Three more tracks from Z followed: Lay Low, Off the Record and Dondante. Lay Low’s pulsing drum beat and soaring guitar contrasted with the previous track and brought the audience back to life. The up-tempo mood continued with the growling intro to Off the Record and more blazing solos courtesy of Jim and his Flying V. Dondante brought the temp back down showcasing Jim’s fantastic vocals backed by a simple drum-bass guitar skeleton. The song built into a frenetic crescendo with the MMJ trademark dueling lead guitars again making an appearance.

Dancefloor from It Still Moves returned to the bouncy, danceable beat that is the hallmark of MMJ’s more accessible tunes. Dancefloor was followed by bone fide hit Anytime from Z which closed the band’s official set list.

The encore opened up with a pair of acoustic numbers with Jim on stage by himself. I Will be There from Tennessee Fire and Bermuda from At Dawn.

The rest of the band joined Jim onstage for At Dawn from the album of the same name. A pair of tunes from It Still Moves, Run Thru and Magheeta closed out the set ending the concert on a straight-on rock note.

All of MMJ’s hometown fans got a early Christmas present this year with an excellent concert from an very talented band.

You can access a recording of the concert from the web site. You can either download the individual songs in various digital formats or listen to the entire show as an Internet Radio Stream.

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