Last night, lights from My Morning Jacket’s stage pointed out and up toward the Marymoor sky at a 45 degree angle. For twenty-two songs, the band from Louisville, KY strapped themselves onto one of the beams and rode it into the nebulae. At this point in time, My Morning Jacket is one of the finer tuned American (Southern) rock bands you will see or hear. They are in complete control of their road tested songs and psychedelic blues-based jams. Dynamically, they range from distortion-raucus-hopping-loud, to elongated, improvised, particle calmness. Rarely was there a moment without sound, as the Z heavy set transitioned from song to song via beds of ambience or fretted loops. Within the calmer moments, is where the band (for me) is at their best. Where the song separates from itself on drawn out, slow motion lines. My Morning Jacket pauses these sections, and levitates them over the crowd within molecules of scenes. Notes are brought down, swayed, and muted, as the sound expands: someone somewhere in a city picks up their phone and hears waves crashing on a beach – someone somewhere on beach picks up a shell and hears sounds, streets, and engines of a city.
Jim James is commanding. A mountain man with a mountainous mane and a rich, resonant yodel-throated mineshaft of a singing voice. He dawned a coat as a cape/cloak, and headbanged with authority – a full upper torso headbang, a hurl from the waist.
Between James, drummer Patrick Hallahan, and guitarist Carl Broemel, there are pastures and pastures of hair. A high point was the snare punctuated, thought-locomotive, “It Beats 4 U.” James refrained, “Words will come and words will go / Don’t you know my heart, it beats for you, sooooooo, in time.” The song concluded with a guitar loop panning from speaker to speaker, then dissolved into transition. The band quickdreamed, waking up in the meter of the next song “Anytime” as it began.
MMJ’s stamina impressed. They don’t just jump around for the first couple songs, they jump around the entire set. Broemel broke out a sax and blew tasteful distance and drone. I debated whether or not My Morning Jacket are a jam band, but I don’t think they are. My Morning Jacket is a rock band that can jam. And speaking of which, the Skynyrd-esque, Flying V, three-guitar finale (additional guitarist onstage) put out a foot stomped fire. The brawny, cyclical, Skynyrd-type guitar pounding that My Morning Jacket does so well. We all need Skynyrd-type guitar pounding from time to time.
The show was a benefit for YouthCare, who provide services to homeless youth. It was also part of the band’s Spontaneous Curation Series, that lets fans help put together the set list.
ROLLIN BACK INTRO WAY HE SINGS THE DARK CIRCUITAL XMAS LAYLOW STEAM ENGINE OLD SEPT BLUES WAR BEGUN OUTTA MY SYSTEM MASTERPLAN IT BEATS ANYTIME MAHGEETAH VICTORY DANCE WORDLESS TOUCH ME PT.2 GIDEON — AT DAWN WONDERFUL OFF THE RECORD(NO ENDING) PHONE RUN THRU