My Morning Jacket Echoes The Band

I’ll echo everything the esteemed Mr. Ferrise has to say below about last night’s tour de force of an MMJ show. Both the band and the crowd (which was younger than I expected, at least from my vantage point on the floor) were wildly enthusiastic from the very beginning of the two-hour set.

I was surprised (pleasantly, actually) that they played so little material from their last disc, the eclectic “Evil Urges,” focusing instead on the very well known and loved material from “It Still Moves” and “Z.” I counted only two songs from “Evil Urges,” in fact–the roots rock standard “I’m Amazed” and the electronica-influenced “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream.” As interesting as that disc was, it was just less satisfying than some of their earlier work, and I’ve got to believe it will go down as their “experimental” disc, a la Wilco’s “A Ghost is Born,” before they return to a more straightforward rock formula.

Throughout the show, I couldn’t shake the similarities to The Band, in several important ways: 1.) The unbelievably tight groove they settled into from the beginning of the show to the end. This is a great group of musicians who are very comfortable playing with one another. 2.) While they skip around a bit stylistically, everything is rooted strongly in American music, with a southern lilt. I’d call them one of the primary standard-bearers of American roots rock at this point. 3.) The horns. As they came out to encore with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, closing out the show with Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” (!!!), I kept thinking of The Band’s classic Rock of Ages concert, with horns charted by Allen Toussaint.

They’ve got me really looking forward to the upcoming disc.

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