Friday, September 19, 2008

how my morning jacket made for an almost perfect night

my morning jacket
the greek theater, berkeley, ca
september 19, 2008

this is not my first rodeo with this louisville-based outfit. i caught them a couple of years ago at the fillmore as the guest of my friend dylan, who produced their first album (and was the impetus for their lyric, "met a bad man from california"). we went backstage with them and met them. happy to report that they're cool chill dudes - a complete dichotomy from the sonic and explosive performance they had on stage.

saw them again at the fillmore a couple of years later, and loved them even more. but this would be the first time i'd see them at the greek, which just seemed to be tailor made for them: exquisite, outdoor, misty, and a little weird. in another words, it's a great venue for jim james' ethereal voice to carry and infiltrate - just like how thom yorke's voice did a couple of years ago in a soul-shattering performance that every one i know who was there is still talking about.

tonight was the same - although not quite. when MMJ gets into their slow stuff, i don't really get the impression that they're sold into performing it. i mean, they have to, in order to take a break and keep the flow going. and i know that they're sold on it when in the studio. it just doesn't work live.

but when they get into the hard stuff, holy mother of god. it's the best of the allmans, lyrnyrd, gov't mule and stillwater at once. it's tight hooks and his piercing voice. it's the stuff that gets your head going one way and your body in another. and when they end with "one big holiday", well, you just don't want to leave.

by the way, he's not quite there yet, but jim james is closely inching towards the realm of mick jagger/jack white/dave grohl/billie joe armstrong, of frontmen that you just can't take your eyes off of. i think it's the slow stuff that's holding him back. he's just not selling it.

but other than that? hot damn.

the one thing that could have made it perfect, however, would have been if they covered pink floyd's "wish you were here" - in fact, it would have been a perfect song for their talents - and dedicated it to the first lady of steveohville, who got me the tickets but was kept away by bedrest. love you, honey. thank you.

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