My Morning Jacket @ Uptown Theatre, KCMO

For a long time I’ve been terribly depressed that I had never seen My Morning Jacket live, but for a long time that wasn’t my fault. The band just never seemed to have a tour that included Kansas City.

Last February, I was given a small taste of the amazingness that is Jim James when he performed a few solo numbers in between group numbers with Conor Oberst and M Ward. Although Oberst was the headliner, James stole the show in those few songs. And to think he just showed up for fun; he wasn’t even on the bill! This small sample just made me even more eager to witness the full band as I could only imagine how much better that would be if James alone could sound that good.

Fortunately, MMJ finally decided to include Kansas City in their tour plans and they more than made it up to the city for skipping us for so long by putting on a spectacular show and by pairing up with a local radio station to offer a sound check party.

Now, I’ve been to sound checks before and they have been less than stellar, but MMJ didn’t just do a sound check: they did a show with lights and everything. The band played through five or six complete songs and in between, James would ask the intimate group of about 15, if they were enjoying it or had any questions for the band. Once the sound check was over, the entire band came down to shake hands with the audience. It is nice to see a band be that respectful to their fans. I think James best described the experience when he said, “Sound check parties are always poppin’.”

To see a sound check that was filled with as much passion as a real show, I knew the rest of the evening was going to be great. The venue was packed for the actual show, so it was quite a turn around from what I had just experienced and MMJ took the stage to an ecstatic crowd, skipping the usual formality of having an opening act. I guess when you are as good as MMJ, you don’t need to worry about having some other person warm up your crowd: your fans come ready.

They kicked off the show with the title track from their new album Evil Urges and were accompanied by a light show that rivals that of Muse. The backdrop had two very creepy eyes that would turn blood red at varying times. Enough about the light show, I was there for the band of which I was enamored with from the first moment that James tilted his head back and let out a yell.

Next, they played their radio hit from the previous album “Off the Record,” which seemed mild until the band finished with an intense jam session that had James spinning around the stage. Every member of the band was a blast to watch as they rocked out, but James stood out in his phenomenal stage presence. The guy seriously covered every square inch of the stage. When the stage wasn’t big enough for him, he would create his own playing space, climbing out into the crowd and even disappearing on one song before reemerging on a balcony above the crowd, ripping into yet another impressive guitar riff. The balcony was an impressive feat since the only way to get up there is by a small ladder, which would be extremely difficult to do with a guitar.

The set had a great balance of old and new songs, folk and electronic, and James’ normal register and falsetto. After playing through a two hour set, the guys still had the energy to put on a five song encore.

I don’t think I can say “amazing” enough to describe this show and I would definitely try to see them. However, if you are prone to seizures you might want to sit this one out. The lights do get a little intense.

Set list:
Evil Urges
Off the Record
Gideon
The Way He sings
Touch Me Pt. 1
Masterplan
I’m Amazed
Thank You Too
Sec Walkin
Two halves
Laylow
Aluminum Park
Mahgeetah
Just One Thing
Look at You (ACC)
Golden
Phone Went West
Steam Engine
Smokin From Shootin
Touch Me Pt. 2
//
Wordless Chorus
Highly Suspicious
Anytime
Run Thru
One Big Holiday

My Morning Jacket: website | myspace

Written by: Bethany

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2 Responses

  1. That encore alone makes me jealous.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged my morning jacket My Morning Jacket @ Uptown Theatre, KCMO saved by 12 others     logostrikebeta1 bookmarked on 08/21/08 | […]

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