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The Fall Cornucopia:
Kentucky quintet delivers diverse set

My Morning Jacket
Riverside Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 3, 2008
My Morning Jacket My Morning Jacket My Morning Jacket

Story by Brett W. Taylor.
Photos by Joe Hargreaves

My Morning Jacket made a highly anticipated return to Milwaukee on Friday night in front of a full crowd at the beautiful Riverside Theatre. The band is quickly becoming superstars, expanding their fan base with a fantastic word of mouth live show, and becoming media darlings throughout the last year. With the release of the diverse Evil Urges leader Jim James has continued to re-define what the core sound of the group is about.

As the band evolves, the new experimentation was evident all night. James pulls from an eclectic group of influences: folk, metal, psychedelic jam band, and folksy alt- county. Musically they are adept at combining all of these styles to make My Morning Jacket one of the most entertaining and exciting live rock shows touring. Many of the up-tempo and psychedelic numbers benefited from an expertly produced light and set. The lights seemed to dance and flash in synch with every beat and complicated break during the longer jams. Strobe lights were used to hypnotize the audience only to break right back into the chorus of the song.

Despite the lavish light spectacle, singer James truly shines when the group is stripped to the essential ingredient of their sound: his vocals. James voice soars throughout the theatre when singing slower acoustic numbers such as "Sec Walken," or the ode to the bookworm wallflower; "Librarian." A charismatic James sings "take off your glasses and let down your hair for me" highlighted only by a single blue spotlight. Lead guitarist Carl Broemel showed diversity by offering both loud in your face Jimi Hendrix riffs, or adding pedal steel to the acoustic numbers, even evoking Pink Floyd, by providing a saxophone solo to the surreal "Dondante" from 2005's Z.

Is the audience on board with this musical mash up? If the balcony at the Riverside is any indication: yes. During the bands funky "Highly Suspicious" from Evil Urges the high energy crowd was dancing so much I could actually feel the balcony bouncing and swaying with the music. It would be hard to find a single song that is such a diversion from the neo-southern reverb rock that defined them a decade ago.

In the end, the increasingly attentive crowd was raised to their feet with an exuberant encore of "One Big Holiday" from the bands It Still Moves (2003) album. At that point My Morning Jacket had worked the emotional crowd into a frenzy, leaving the crowd feeling as if they had just seen something truly spectacular.
Milwaukee Setlist:
1 Evil Urges
2 Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt 1
3 Off The Record
5 Dancefloors
6 It Beats 4 U
7 Thank You Too !
8 Golden
9 Evelyn Is Not Real
10 Sec Walkin
11 Mahgeetah
12 Lay Low
13 Gideon
14 Dondante
15 Librarian
16 Smokin From Shootin
17 Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt 2
18 Run Thru

19 Wordless Chorus
20 Highly Suspicious
21 Cobra
22 Anytime
23 One Big Holiday

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Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Nov. 2006

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