Thursday, April 22, 2010
My Morning Jacket
Last night I was faced with quite the quandary. Do I see Levon Helm play all of my favorite old songs from The Band with countless potential hall-of-famers at God's own venue, the Ryman, or do I see My Morning Jacket, a band I know nothing about at the mangy Municipal Auditorium with all my friends? After going back and forth and really having a hard time deciding, I chose MMJ and will live the rest of my life wondering what might have been. Actually I know what might have been, I saw Levon 2 years ago but I still think that was the better show to see, musically.
I guess I missed the best part of the night, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's opening set. With a big group with multiple birthdays to celebrate, sometimes you just don't make it on time. They did join MMJ for their encore and from what I could tell, they looked to be pretty cool. The people who saw the set seemed to think it was great.
My Morning Jacket started off with some flashing lights and smoke and a huge build up which, like most of the rest of the build ups of the night, didn't really deliver much. They started with "One Big Holiday", "Gideons", and "I'm Amazed",(song title's supplied by a big fan next to me) and from what I could tell, played those songs over and over again all night. In trying to find out as much as I could about these guys before the show, I heard a lot of people say they were a "jam band". Apart from the smoke cloud and the arm flailing dancers, I would have to say they are more of a rock band that just doesn't know when to stop. Sure they took their songs out on musical strolls, but they never went anywhere. There was never that great moment when the band hits the high note and the crowd feels it and goes nuts. The only going nuts I could see was at the very beginning of each song. The whole thing was very vanilla and bland to me. They were good players and they had lots of energy on stage which is why I kept thinking surely they were going to do something special but they never did. Of course, the hard-core fans loved it but I just didn't feel anything. It was like opening presents on Christmas and getting the same gray shirt from everyone you know. Sure you love a good gray shirt, they don't suck, but, well, I guess you just expect more.
The encore included the P.H. Jazz band which could barely be heard over the stadium style guitar sounds and the caped lead singer. One of the last songs sounded like a Prince song which was kind of cool, and the Jazz band took control of the last number of the night. By the time the show was over, I had that feeling like you get at a mid-summer baseball game. It's fun and it's something to do, but I'm ready for it to be over.
If I wasn't with all of my friends and didn't meet a pretty girl, this night would have been a total bust, but at least I got to see what MMJ was all about. Although I won't be heading to a small record store in London to pick up their ultra rare b-sides LP, I respect their professionalism and their light show. Much like Avatar and Presidential elections, I just don't see what all the hub-bub is about.