Friday, December 01, 2006

MMJ Live @ 9:30 Club: Concert Review

Monday night Mrs. Hops and I saw My Morning Jacket (MMJ) at the 9:30 Club. The show was absolutely brilliant and we both had an awesome time. But the show was more than just your average fun night out at the 9:30 club, it was really quite memorable.

Things started off a bit worrisome as we got to the venue a bit later than usual and didn’t get our typical spot on the balcony like we like. However, we’d eventually get on the rail as the guy next to me made some space. My luck definitely turned around when I went to buy a beer. The bartender (an Orioles fan) noticed my Yankee hat and tried to talk some shite. I responded with some quick banter. My witty remarks scored me a free shot of Jameson as both toasted to our mutual dislike of the Red Sox. I didn’t need that shot, but really how could I turn it down?

On to the show. The openers were a rock and jazz based jam band trio called The Slip. They were really tight and put out a nice sound. The only played about 5 songs (which took almost 45 minutes) but it left me wanting more. I downloaded their album the next morning but haven’t had time to really digest it yet. Oh, and they wore animal costumes on stage, kind of like the raccoon from Super Mario Brothers 3. I hope to see them again as headliners.

Speaking of headliners, MMJ got on the stage around 9:50 behind a large curtain that cover the whole stage. After a few notes the curtain fell to reveal the band, fronted by Jim James in hilarious Moon Boots with skeletons on them. I can’t tell you how badly I want a pair now. The band opened up with an energetic version of “Anytime” (the first song ever played on All You Need Is Hops) that got the evening off to a great start. They continued with a bunch of songs from Z before finally switching to “O Is The One That Is Real”. Since the band is touring off their live album, Okonokos, they were completely free to play whatever they wanted and did so. They featured a song off of every album and one EP.

The highlight of the show was their live version of “One Big Holiday” (featured on Episode 3) of All You Need Is Hops. I can’t tell you how amazing this song is live. Let’s put it this way, it’s on the same level as Born To Run, Sympathy for the Devil and All Along the Watchtower as some of the greatest live songs I’ve ever heard. Yes it’s that great. I could just hear that one song and feel I got my money’s worth. I don’t care if they played it the next 20 times I saw them, I’m still going to go crazy when the play it. I think that pretty much encapsulates the spirit of the band. In some ways they channel Springsteen’s honesty on stage. They just won’t the crowd to have fun and feel they got their money’s worth. At one point front man Jim James thanked the crowd for coming out on a Monday night. He recognized we could have stayed home but instead decided to “live our lives” and come out and “rub up against some sweaty bodies”. I believe he hoped we would have a "hootin' good time". Despite being out and out rockers they showed range with an amazing 10 minute version of “Don Dante” and an acoustic “Bermuda Highway” (featured on 5 of All You Need Is Hops).

Overall, it was a really fantastic show. You should absolutely see them when they come to your town, you won’t regret it.

Full set list:

off the record
wonderful man
O is the one
x-mas curtain
lay low
one big holiday
Bermuda highway (acoustic with slide guitar)
i think i'm going to hell
wordless chorus
it beats 4 you
dance floors
run thru

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