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Review Thu Aug 19 2010

Review: My Morning Jacket @ Charter One Pavilion, 8/17

My Morning Jacket (photos by Andy Keil)

My Morning Jacket has always put on shows appropriate for the large venues and audiences that've finally caught up to them. Back when they were plowing through mid-sized venues like Metro, their performances looked like arena rock shows. It wasn't in the lights or the backdrops, but the presence. Every time they played it felt like an event, like you couldn't imagine how anyone in the vicinity could have better plans for the evening. They naturally command attention in showing that there's nowhere they'd rather be than on that stage right then.

It's been almost two years since My Morning Jacket's last proper album, Evil Urges, so there was little incentive for the band to draw heavily from it at Tuesday's Charter One Pavilion show. (It wasn't until nearly halfway through the set that they played a song from it.) The first hour was dominated by tunes from their 2003 breakthrough It Still Moves that best mixed the ingredients of their psychedelic-leaning southern rock. The second hour was a decent split of Z and Evil Urges with a couple older songs and two new ones thrown in. (On the latter new one, singer Jim James ceded lead vocals to guitarist Carl Broemel. I don't recall any other song where James isn't leading.) Both songs, while not as raucous as some of their best, have clearly been honed to fit into the polished post-Evil Urges aesthetic.

Jim James gives you wings (photos by Andy Keil)

Over the years the band has tinkered with their songs live and developed alternate arrangements that lend support to the "My Morning Jacket is a jam band" proponents, as they frequently extend into riff city or a cluster of soundscapes. But even with Jim James howling while wearing a cape or swiping an Omnichord, the band never veers too far from the recognizable traits. They might turn up the dial for a hook ("I'm Amazed") or divert from an ending ("Mahgeetah"), but never do they lead a crowd to think, "They're just messing around up there." Connecting "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Part 2" and "Lay Low" with a looped "Good Intentions" soundblast caught my attention, but it was pulled off quite well for a set closer. Of course, the final encore trifecta of a long "Off the Record", an energized "Steam Engine" (so much better live than on an album) and their monster "One Big Holiday" was really all anyone would need to hear that My Morning Jacket's the type of band that must be experienced live to be fully appreciated. And I don't see how even the most curmudgeonly person could not appreciate their rise to fame on a night like this one.

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buddha / August 19, 2010 4:29 PM

finally a good review of the show (see the tribune's for a real stinker). thanks for telling like it was, what a great experience and a great night...

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
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Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
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Theft Liable to Prosecution
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UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
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