Wednesday, March 7, 2007

MMJ: Jacket Required

My Morning Jacket was the best concert I saw last year. And I saw alot of shows in the '06. The sold out 9:30 Club could not contain the shear massive-ness of their sound. I knew that I was seeing something special that night, a band on the verge of becoming a force to be reckoned with on the live circuit. These guys will be playing arenas very soon, as I'm certain that anyone who sees them perform will bring three friends with them the next time they come to town.

The following is a review of the first of two nights that they played in Athens, GA this week:

For the first night of its March 6-7 “Prom” at Athens, Ga.’s 40 Watt Club, My Morning Jacket donned some new evening jackets—pastel-colored ones, with matching pants, ruffled shirts and, in keyboardist Bo Koster’s case, a top hat. Oh, and at least for the first few songs, silver plastic pompadour wigs. Opening with a note-perfect cover of The Dells’ 1956 doo-wop hit “Oh, What A Night”—basically the title track for the two-night stand, dubbed “Oh What A Night Under The Sea”—the Jacket performed a set heavy on tracks from their latest studio recording Z before a tightly packed room, most dressed in either prom kitsch (poofy-shouldered dresses, ’70s-style tux T-shirts) or nautical attire (two spot-on Captains sans Tennilles, one behind the bar).

Everything about the unusual show screamed “event,” from the boisterous, capacity weeknight crowd to the faces in it: Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, Boston band Apollo Sunshine, which had just visited Paste’s offices earlier in the day, and R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Peter Buck and touring member/Minus 5 frontman Scott McCaughey. (McCaughey explained that R.E.M. had convened in Athens to rehearse for the upcoming Rock Hall of Fame induction.)

At the encore, Jacket frontman Jim James crowned a prom king and queen and had them dance onstage to a deadpan reading of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” with lyrics altered to sound more like a high school backseat fumble. Then the band uncorked King Harvest’s obscure (but spot-on) 1973 hit “Dancing In The Moonlight” before powering through three more originals and calling it a night just past 1:30 a.m. If only our actual prom night had been this wonderful, we might actually have signed up for a account.

Source: Paste Magazine

Watch the preview for their live concert DVD, Okonokos:

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