My Morning Jacket at the Pantages 6/22/11
My Morning Jacket at the Pantages 6/22/11
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

My Morning Jacket at the Gibson Amphitheatre Last Night

My Morning Jacket is unlike any other band. They demonstrated their uniqueness at the Gibson last night. They had light shows worthy of Muse, jam sessions worthy of Phish and headbanging worthy of Metallica. Yet you would be hard-pressed to argue that they sound like any of those bands.

Their catalog is so diverse, ranging from the cowpoke song "Golden" to the epic, electronic "Highly Suspicious." Yet their diversity is held together by the unmistakable voice of Jim James. They're like the Beatles in that it doesn't matter if there's a sitar playing or power pop guitar; you'll always be able to recognize a Beatles song within a few seconds. The same goes for My Morning Jacket, Louisville's greatest export after bourbon.

Hearing James' voice run seamlessly from croon to shriek is amazing. He doesn't even need a microphone; he could fill the whole amphitheatre with the sheer gusto of his operatic voice. The fact that the band can make such beautiful, dainty music and a deep-lunged scream work harmoniously is a testament to their talent. How does such an angelic voice come from Grizzly Adams?

They played nearly twenty songs. They knocked out plenty of hits from their touchstone album, Z, like "Off The Record."

James was the only showman in the band. The rest of the musicians, while they played wonderfully, had little stage presence and were pushed toward the back of the stage. James was given optimum room in the front of the stage for cavorting. He took advantage by dancing around with a childlike innocence and swung his microphone above his head, helicopter-style. He had several costume changes throughout the evening, ranging from some lighting apparatus around his chest that looked like HAL 9000, a blue towel draped over his mane of hair and a cape. 

They had some technical difficulties toward the beginning of their set, but James shrugged it off: "What can you do? We're hear to have a good time right?"

Oh, and in case you were wondering: Yes, they did have a giant stuffed black bear wearing a skirt by their amps.

Personal Bias: My idea of a great night is getting wine drunk and watching My Morning Jacket on VH1's Storytellers.

The Crowd: A full house of well-dressed twenty-thirtysomethings. A few dads.

Random Notebook Dump: To the lovely person who stole my purse: Enjoy. If you have a heart you can mail it back to our office.

Set List:
"Victory Dance"
"Outta My System"
"It Beats 4 U"
"I'm Amazed"
"Off The Record"
"War Begun"
"First Light"
"Phone Went West"
"Evelyn Is Not Real"
"Movin' Away"
"Smokin' From Shootin'"
"Run Thru"

"Wordless Chorus"
"The Day Is Coming"
"Holding On To Black Metal"
"Highly Suspicious"
"One Big Holiday"


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