Jan 23, 2009

My Morning Jacket @ Metro Theatre

January=Hyperbole. That's just the way it is in Sydney this time of year. So, here we go again. My Morning Jacket. MMJ!!!! The Spirit of Rock And Roll was alive and well, living and breathing at the Metro Theatre last night. This band, this band swallowed us whole with a withering and devastating performance. Well, this band apparently does this every night, that is what they do. No wonder their reputation as THE live band is well and truly earned. Why, why was the venue not sold out? Well, your loss if you were not there.

So, I saw this long haired group of Kentuckians 5 years ago and have counted the days to see them again. In that time they released the genre breaking "Z" and then the hugely disappointing "Evil Urges". Yes, I said hugely disappointing, for I hold this band so highly that last year's new album did not do the job in my opinion. It felt laboured and forced, although the second half does have some better tunes. Having said that, when you play a set bordering on three wonderful hours your selection plate is bound to be full. So it was, we received a good cross section of their whole catalogue, including two off my favourite. The classic "The Tennessee Fire". They opened with an oldie too in the eerie "At Dawn". This song succinctly displays the wonder that is the voice of Jim James. The man can hold a note longer then a Senate hearing. All with perfect pitch. He appeared with a fancy cape too, ready to entrance us. I will get the clunkers out of the way first though. "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream" just plods along, whilst "Librarian" is fairly clunky. And yes, "Highly Suspicious" is really not very good.

But the highlights. The soaring peaks and the crushing blows. So many. "Off The Record" jumped down our throats. "The Way That He Sings" is a glowing wonder. "Lowdown" has never lost its true beauty, whilst "Golden" is apt in name. If we were in the midst of having our hearts stolen, then "Mahgeetah" just took all our organs and threw them to the four winds. Near orgasmic in delivery, it was one of many songs that was jammed into eternity. These boys sure know how to riff and wreck. They were all great, but I need to mention Patrick Hallahan especially. I think he mortally wounded the drum kit. What force and passion! He must have lost litres of fluid in the oppressive atmosphere too. That is, above all else, what makes this band so great. Besides their spectacular talent, they play like their hair is on fire. Like it is their last night on earth. Like, they will never see you again. Pretty neat, huh?

They pushed on, willing us to go with them. "Lay Low" was ferocious, "Gideon" exultant, then "Dondante" was pushed to the boundaries of sound. Built up and broken down several times, it ended with Carl Broemel delivering a sax solo. Sublime. The end of the first set closed with a surprise. "Cobra" was pulled out and slayed us, before it morphed into the middle section of "Run Thru". Holy cow, I was going off the deep end. Riffage from heaven (if such a place exists). After two hours we still wanted more. The encore gave it to us. I especially loved "Phone Went West", a monstrously good song. Then they finished us off with the double punch of "Anytime" and "One Big Holiday". The latter is quite possibly the ideal rock song to hear live. It just bursts with such energy and life. Life. I was jumping and hollering, like everyone around me. It is truly a wonder to hear live. They then departed, having gave us their all. Despite sometimes being a little too loud in the mix and the steamy conditions in the room, we had all witnessed a band of men who play the live arena like no one else. No one else...

Set List
At Dawn
It Beats For U
Evil Urges
Touch Me I'm Going To Scream
Off the Record
I'm Amazed
The Way That He Sings
Lowdown
Sec Walkin'
Golden
Thank You Too
Heartbreakin Man
Mahgeetah
Lay Low
Gideon
Librarian
Dondante
Smokin' From Shootin'
Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Part 2
Cobra>Run Thru

Wordless Chorus
Highly Suspicious
Phone Went West
I Think I'm Going To Hell
Anytime
One Big Holiday

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