“I’m Amazed” at My Morning Jacket
Last Saturday on the first of August My Morning Jacket took the St. Augustine Amphitheatre by storm. They’re on tour to promote their new album entitled The Waterfall. For having never seen these guys before they definately are within the jam band category. These guys do what jam bands are suppposed to do, which is to incorporate different genres inot their songs. Primarily.they’d be classified as a rock band, yet it does and doesn’t fit their discription. If your looking for a band that sounds like Pink Floyd meets Frank Zappa and Led Zepplin, than this just might be the band for you. The show didn’t only belong to Jacket, but rather to both them and Mini Mansions. Mini Mansions were very techno oriented, which was fine if your a techno fan. It was hard to see the techno aspect that both bands shared. Openers shouold have some similarities to the headliner because then there’s an understanding of why the headliner chose that opener. Jacket’s piano player, Bo Koster, played a few tunes where the piano sounded very techno inspired. Once he did so the relevance between Jacket and their opener was much easier to understand.
These guys took hold within the second tune of the show which was “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)”. This song sounds as though it has two parts to it. Doing a song like this shows that James, as well as the rest of the band, gave real thought to every new song they create, making sure it sounds remotely different from the last. “In its Infancy” shows the trippy side of this band, which just adds to the Zappa, Floyd, Zepplin feel. Besides “In Its Infancy”, Jacket performed other new tunes such as, “Believe (Nobody Knows)”, “Tropics (Erase Traces)”, “Spring (Among the Living)”, and “Compund Fracture”. “Compound Fracture” is quite a different track for this band because it adds the genre of funk to their mix.
The genres of music that were most apparent throughout the evening were, rock, island/Caribbean, as well as fusion jazzz. The island influences were the most suprisng. This is a style of music most modern groups forget about, yet these guys seems to take it and mix it really nicely with their loud rock ‘n roll. The fusion jazz aspects were appaarnet for a track entitled, “Dondante”. “Dondante” grew into this full on ten minute jam with Carl Broemel (the band’s lead guitarist) going all at it on the sax, thus leading the band inot this great fusion jazz jam. This was definately the moment of the evening because it was so drown out and most of all, groovy. Here’s Broemel, who’d been playing guitar and pedal steel guitar all night, but suddenly he comes out and blows the crowd away with his sax playing. During this jam all the cards were on the table. It’d be nice to see if Jacket had any other songs done on sax. If they do, it’d be great for them to incorporate more of this fusion jazz style into some more of their material, as well as into some more of their shows.
While there’s much to be said about My Morning Jacket, there’s also something to be said about Jame’s song writing. See there are two broad categories of song writing. You have human life and nature. James writes about human life while incorporating nature lyrics into his songs. For instance “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)” is an autobiographical song, but James refers to his stream of thoughts as being like a waterfall. He’s not writing about a waterfal directly, but the nature theme is still there. If you take a song like “Evil Urges” (which they performed last Saturday) this isn’t always the case. “Evil Urges” is written about human nature’s ability to commit violence. He sings about human violence as though violence itself is internal and hard for us as a species, to control. The idea to take songs about human life and mix them with nature references is quite brilliant. James’s writing really emulates an almost John Denver feel because of all these references.
The show ended with “One Big Holiday”, which is a rather bass heavy song. This fantastic bass playing was all do to Tom Blankenship. It was nice to be at a show where everyone around seemed to be a true My Morning Jacket fan. There was a woman at the end of the show who had a complaint that she couldn’t here James sing any of the words. This, of course was because of the loudnesss of the band. Regardless, this woman’s complaint is toatlly fixable. All that needs to be done is to listen to all of Jacket’s albums and become familiar with their material. Then this viewer will be aware of what is to come next in each song.
Having never sen these guys before I found them to be quite intreging and would go seem them again. I had an idea of who they were, but like most bands you see live, your opinion of the group changes. This band, in order for them to show what they can do needs an hour and a half or two hour show. I think they picked a really diverse range of songs to play last Saturday. These guys played to their fans, but at the same time they played as though no one had any idea of what they could bring to the table.