This is another one of these posts which should have gone up way earlier, but as before, I was thwarted by internet problems and going on holiday. Now that I'm back I can try to put things right. So apologies to reverend war character for putting up his review of the My Morning Jacket gig at the Astoria almost two weeks after it happened. It's still worth posting though. Here it is.
My Morning Jacket at the Astoria 22 September 2006
I first saw My Morning Jacket at ‘The Metro’, a small basement club with a capacity of 175 on Oxford Street in London . Towards the end of the show the electricity generator broke down. Jim James calmly took his acoustic guitar, stepped into the crowd and played a cover version of ‘Suspicious Minds’. He held the crowd spellbound and you knew this band weren’t going to be playing small basement bars much longer.
Fast forward a few years to the Astoria with a sold out capacity of 1600, just around the corner from the Metro. There have been a couple of line up changes since The Metro gig but MMJ are still about Jim James. They pretend they are not - no central mike, no spotlights - but he holds the stage and directs the band. Part muppet, part rock god, part southern gentleman, Jim James is MMJ. He dominates the stage and again holds the crowd spellbound. When he says, ‘You touched my heart’ we believe him; when he puts his foot on the monitor and points his Flying V at us, we believe him; when he unleashes another furious solo we believe him. MMJ are a band who fetishise the guitar - the riff is all, the groove is king.
The first twenty minutes of the show are perfect - celebratory, transcendent, shock and awe rock and roll. The band are playing the final night of a European tour - relaxed, tight and taut. Mid set the audience drift off (is 2 hours too long for a rock and roll show?) only to be wrenched back into MMJ’s world by the sound of Jim Jones’s keeningly beautiful (yes, beautiful) voice and the sight of a band whose jamming can make Crazy Horse look like a Mildly Eccentric Pony.
And then it’s over. They flew home. Slint, Will Oldham and My Morning Jacket? Louisville, Kentucky must be some town
Download: My Morning Jacket - Off the Record
Download: My Morning Jacket - What a Wonderful Man
btw, the reverend doesn't take pics at gigs, so the above photo is nicked from hoschiewan's flickr photostream. Hope that's OK mate.