My Morning Jacket - The Wiltern - 9/12/12
My Morning Jacket
Timothy Norris My Morning Jacket
The number of bands building a name and reputation off their live performances has begun dwindling at a startling rate. With Bruce Springsteen and U2 inching closer to performing in wheelchairs, My Morning Jacket seems to be one of the last remaining holdouts when it comes to going beyond giving fans what they paid for the cost of a ticket. In fact, one of the band's most popular releases is the two-disc live album Okonokos, released in 2006 after the success of their breakout album Z.
In a live setting, the Louisville-based five-piece manages to break free from the southern rock distinction reserved for them by critics. They played a career-defining four-hour set at Bonnaroo in 2008 and they're one of the only bands I've seen with the ability to transport you to a different headspace with nearly every song. Finished promoting their latest album Circuital, My Morning Jacket is taking a fan-centered approach to their latest tour, deemed the Spontaneous Curation Series. Prior to their three-night stand at the Wiltern, it was announced that fans would be able to submit requests for the opener and encore through Twitter.
After a cover-heavy set at their opening show on Tuesday, Wednesday's show seemed to be truly dedicated to the mega-fan, the band drawing from albums as far back as their 1999 debut The Tennessee Fire. Iron and Wine opened the show with an intimate solo performance, as an antsy crowd settled in and opted to use most of his set as background music. For those paying attention though, what they got was an impassioned set full of fan-favorites, stripped down without all the glitz and glamour of the usual seven-piece backing band.
Aside from being an amazing songwriter, Sam Beam is also quite the performer, projecting an air of solace and mystery on songs like "Flightless Bird" and "Such Great Heights." Even after forgetting the words to New Order's "Love Vigilantes," he was able to redeem himself by joking "This is the best job in the world. I can fuck up and people will still clap." After rousing applause, he ceded the stage to My Morning Jacket, who jumped on stage after a 25-minute changeover. The changeover itself, complete with about eight different guitar and drum techs fiddling with various pieces of equipment, is actually a testament to the growth of the band, who've come a long way since starting out in bars and nightclubs throughout the South.
Timothy Norris My Morning Jacket
Their opener "Rolling Back" sprawled in to a moody, six-minute long jam that faded seamlessly into "The Way That He Sings." Watching My Morning Jacket perform almost feels like a cleansing of the soul in a way. With lofty metaphors dealing with life, love and death heavily embedded in their lyrics, the band somehow manages to sell the emotion behind each song and not come off corny. Having seen the band close to ten times, I can say that they only keep getting better and last night was no exception. The band has the rare ability to traverse various genres throughout their sets, and while last night started off a little jam-heavy with newer songs like "First Light" and "Aluminum Park," things quickly settled down when they dipped in to their back catalog for "Picture of You" and followed it with the audio equivalent of Xanax, "Slow Slow Tune."