March 24, 2011

My Morning Jacket: A Game Changer

My Morning Jacket is that rare contemporary band that's built their reputation and immense following without one hit single. A band with a unique sound that—instead of being pigeonholed—is accepted and lauded by a wide range of fans: metal heads, folkies, Dead Heads, Southern rock enthusiasts, the alternative and indie crowds, and even a few soul fans. The Net Generation may have missed out on the stadium-sized rock shows of the 1970s, but thankfully, we have a more than capable substitute in Yim Yames and company. In celebration of the band's sixth studio album together, Circuital, I thought I'd share two live cuts that helped shape my adoration for the band.

My Morning Jacket - "Phone Went West" (Bonnaroo 2003)

At Bonnaroo in 2003, I stumbled into a small tent where a group of crazily long-haired gentleman were beginning the last song of their set: it turned out to be the 9-minute-plus "Phone Went West." It was just past noon and the Tennessee sun was only beginning to heat up, but there was a wild energy in the air. Whether it was the setting, the song, or the drugs, I'm not sure. But the audience—half deliriously cheering, half eyes glazed over in wonder—was caught in a moment with the band as their wild heads of hair charged through the air with reckless abandon alongside shattering electric guitar chords. When the moment was over—and it was a long one—people looked around at each other, mostly in disbelief. A friend grabbed the festival's schedule out of my hands: "Who the fuck was that?"

My Morning Jacket - "Get Down On It" (Bonnaroo 2008)

A midnight set time. Bonnaroo. A band with a growing reputation for being one of the best live groups in the world. I drove 13 hours to Tennessee for this concert. And despite the group of teenagers behind me that had ingested a few too many fistfuls of hallucinogenic mushrooms, it was worth every hour on the road. The set was 3 and a half hours and 35 songs long. The band played every great song they'd ever recorded, brought guests like Zach Galfinakis and Kirk Hammett of Metallica onstage, and performed a set of covers that sent music snobs everywhere into cardiac arrest: "Oh Sweet Nuthin,'" "Hot Fun In The Summertime," "Across 110th St.," "Cold Sweat" and "Get Down On It" by Kool and the mother fucking Gang. That cover was so spot on it even made the hippies dance right.

Are you a fan of MMJ? Share your own concert experiences in the comments. And make sure to sign up here to get the first new song from Circuital in you email inbox on April 12th.

My Morning Jacket - "Phone Went West" (Live 2002 930 Club)
My Morning Jacket - "Friends Again" (Live 2010 Municipal Auditorium)
My Morning Jacket - "Off The Record" (Live Acoustic 2005 BBC Studios)
My Morning Jacket - "Make It With You [Bread]" (Live Acoustic 2005 BBC Studios)

My Morning Jacket

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