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MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
The stage set inside the cozy confines of the Tabernacle was simple, markedly stripped down from the grandeur seen on the Okonokos DVD. The Tabernacle's huge pipe organs, which grace the rear of the stage, were bathed in purple, orange, and yellow lights. Once the Jacket took stage, the lights fluttered and danced to the reverberations of the Jacket's machinations.
The Jacket sprinted through twenty tracks comprising a wide selection of their catalog, with only their debut The Tennessee Fire receiving less than even attention. The energy on stage and chemistry between James and the band was remarkable. My Morning Jacket is renowned for their kinetic performances, and their performance in Atlanta was no different, as the band members fed off each other's frenetic musicianship. James bounced around the stage, long hair flailing about. Drummer Patrick Hallahan pounded away with near perfection. The guitars of James and Carl Broemel danced with each other, echoing and racing towards crescendo. Initially, the packed crowd was subdued, a surprise for a My Morning Jacket show, but once James reached out to them several songs into the set, they were putty in the hands of the Jacket. The mainly Gen-X crowd of the Tabernacle bobbed, weaved, and danced away to the slick Southern rock of Louisville's biggest slugger.
Some critics have noted that My Morning Jacket shows, while ripe with energy, are not terribly unique, with their live songs rarely deviating from their studio counterparts. I tend to disagree, as the music felt more alive on stage than ever before. Yes, the songs are orchestrated in the same manner as their studio versions, almost to the note, but the sound is fuller live. The Jacket, renowned for their lush arrangements and echoing sound, filled the Tabernacle with layer upon layer of sound. It was loud. I don't mean in decibels, but simply the fact that there was so much to listen to. The Jacket's bombastic sound was, admittedly, slightly strange in this intimate venue. It felt like stadium rock in a club, which is what it was, and that the music needed more room to breathe.
"Gideon" and "Off The Record" received the most enthusiast responses from the crowd, as did most of their songs from their acclaimed Z. The oddest sight of the night was, without a doubt, James's clutching of a stuffed animal wooly mammoth during a spirited rendition of "Dondante." James danced around with the mini-mammoth, which made the crowd smile. After nearly two hours of enthusiastic playing, My Morning Jacket took the stage a second time for their encore. The five-song encore was dominated by tracks from It Still Moves, closing with "Mageetah."
Wax Fang, a trio also from Louisville, opened the show with some compelling psychedelic rock from their debut EP, Black and Endless Night. The evening was a unique experience with Southern anthem rock in a very intimate setting, with My Morning Jacket proving why they deserve their acclaim as masters of live music. SEE ALSO: www.mymorningjacket.com
Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.
See other articles by Eric J. Morgan.
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