My Morning Jacket @ The Orpheum, Vancouver, June 29, 2011

There are, in my opinion, a few things that really set a “great” band apart from the “good” ones.  One of them–and arguably most important–would be their live show.

This being said, when you go see a My Morning Jacket concert, prepare yourself.  Mentally, physically, emotionally.  Definitely come prepared.

I’m about 50 words into this review and I’m sure there are people already assuming that because MMJ are one of my favourite bands around, I’m being completely biased.  Please allow me to assure you, this isn’t the case.

Once the lights dimmed in the Orpheum theatre, the patient crowd erupted in cheers for the highly anticipated main act.  As the band members filed onstage to their respective instruments and locations, I had a tingling in my belly that this was gonna be a special night.

That “tingling” was spot on. 

They were off with 3 quick tracks (Victory Dance, Circuital, Outta My System) from their just-released album Circuital and then rocked a fantastically heavy version of Off the Record.  

Now here’s the proof that I’m not being biased:

After those first 4 songs (which weren’t even the best of the night, in my opinion) my amigo Brian, who has only heard a few select tracks from MMJ, turns to me and says something along the lines of: “Oh my god, these guys f***ing rock! I thought this was going to be a lot more folk-y.”

Not that “folk-y” would have been a bad thing, but this was far from it.  And so much better.

Needless to say, Brian made a good baker’s dozen of these comments throughout the show, and I was continually nodding in stunned agreement.  It’s not that I thought this would be a bad show, not for a moment, but I didn’t realize how damn good it would be.

The sound and dynamics that were created by 5 dudes on stage was epic and surreal. Carl Broemel‘s array of stunningly beautiful guitars (Les Pauls, Gretsch-style semi-hollow bodies, Les Paul Jrs) was equalled by their amazing tones, with reverb soaked leads and punchy, crunchy rhythms.  And boy can that he sing back-up!  He can also make you cry with his beautiful pedal steel and croon like a pro on the saxophone! (Obvious statement: man, that guy is talented!)

“Two Tone” Tommy was working the bass like a man possessed, pounding steady rhythm lines when needed, and dancing up and down the fret board melodiously when rhythm was covered.

Patrick Hallahan was so solid on the drums, he was nothing shy of a musical human anchor that kept the tunes tight and oh-so groovy.  In fact, if not for his phenomenal groove drumming, my neck would likely be much less sore today.  If you aren’t inspired to pick up a drumstick or two after watching him go for 2 and a half hours, well… you may wanna check your pulse.

And then there was Jim James, or Yim Yames, or Jim Olliges Jr., whatever you prefer to call him.  The front man, the face and sound of My Morning Jacket.  The predominant songwriter and showman, the rhythm guitarist, the lead guitarist, the man of the odd keys, the man with the voice.  That voice.  What a voice, it is.  It’s not necessarily a classically perfect voice and can be a little pitchy at times, but it is My Morning Jacket.  The heart and soul of it all.  And I don’t think the crowd would have had it any other way.

That voice carried the main set through about 20 songs including I’m Amazed, Golden, The Way He Sings, Dondante, and my personal favourite, Mahgeetah, (I’ll post the full set list at the bottom of the review), and then returned for 4 more, including their arguably biggest hit, One Big Holiday to finish the magical night off.

Remember what I was saying earlier about the separation of the “good” bands with the “great” bands?  Well, these indie/groove/rock/metal/folk heros from Kentucky have, in my books, shot up from the “good” list to the “great” one.  I loved them before, but after what I witnessed last night, I have an overwhelming sense of respect for My Morning Jacket.

The love is that much stronger, too.


Set List:

MMJ Setlist Orpheum Vancouver (page 1)













MMJ Setlist Orpheum Vancouver (page 2)


~ by DR on June 30, 2011.

One Response to “My Morning Jacket @ The Orpheum, Vancouver, June 29, 2011”

  1. Magheeta is my fav too! This concert was one of the best-all-time-ever-EVER! I cannot speak highly enough of their live act. Roadtripping to Colorado to see them at Red Rocks. I MUST hear Steam Engine ring out through the valley.

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