Show Review: My Morning Jacket @ Austin City Limits (5/1/16)

jamesOften when it comes to the Austin City Limits Television program, performers can come across as coy or taken aback at just the honor of being invited. With 42 seasons running, the tapings do hold a certain special quality all their own. For My Morning Jacket however, this was just another show in a new leg of their extended tour. Another show of which they absolutely commanded from the final introductory syllables from Terry Likona’s mouth.

After 3 tapings for MMJ proper, 8! now for the infallible James, and 7 classic studio albums in their collective belt, ACL is old hat these days the legendary Kentucky quintet. MMJ owns ACL and everyone willingly accepts this fact. When longtime photographer Scott Newton is jamming out between shots, you know there’s something special going on. Typically he’s all business in the trenches.

On almost the year anniversary of the latest LP, the Waterfall, a brisk northern wind cascaded upon the throngs of awaiting fans lined up as far as the eye could see along 2nd Street. The Roll Call was in full attendance hoping for a chance to witness what has become one of the most consistent on-stage performances of our modern era over the past decade.

One likes to picture Jim James backstage before a show, calmly and strategically teasing his mane and spraying it until just the right fluffiness. There’s something magical in those curly locks; the secret to his power perhaps. Believe me Mr. James, we’re onto you. Draped in his traditional Saved By The Bell inspired, 1990’s era kimono and sunglasses as big his glorious hair, James is a caricature of the modern rock star. His stage presence and confidence cannot be easily paralleled. He is the modern master of the stage.

The opener of Circuital got the show under way, highlighting what makes MMJ special. Few bands can flow so effortlessly between the soft and sultry tothe massive and raucous without a hitch. James’ howling voice raised to the rafters, “going nowhere, quickly”. On the heels of their second leg of the most recent tour which included 2 nights at the Austin Music Hall in November, the band showed no signs of rust.

The Waterfall’s opening track, Believe, quickly followed as the sound continued to grow. It’s these type of performances that helps us to realize just how good the sound mixing is at the Moody. James’ voice carried effortlessly over Carl Broemel’s distinguishing riffs. The band spent most their time between their newest and 2011’s Circuital, before throwing in a new song entitled Throwback.

Seizure inducing strobe lights pulsated during Tropics paired with Bo Koster’s synth melodies before James settled in for the loving and longing ballad, Only Memories Remain. A few selections from 2003’s It Still Moves helped round out the set including personal favorite, Master Plan, but the insatiable crowd demanded more and MMJ delivered an extensive five song Encore to appease them. Seas of heads bobbed in unison on Wonderful, while Get the Point echoed back to days ACL’s singer-songwriter past. Fittingly enough Magheetah put the evening to bed as I leaned over asking my lady if she was ready to go. Unfortunately for a school night, the answer was indeed, yes.

Set List:

  • Circuital
  • Believe
  • Outta My System
  • Spring
  • Slow Slow Tune
  • Throwback (New Song)
  • Tropics
  • Only Memories Remain
  • Master Plan
  • In Its Infancy
  • I Will Sing You Songs

Encore:

  • Wonderful
  • Get the Point
  • Victory Dance
  • Compound Fracture
  • Mahgeetah

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