Archives For Live

Go here to—->Download: MMJ @Charter One Pavillion, Chicago 8/17/10

As expected our heroes from Louisville, My Morning Jacket, blew the clouds out of the sky at Chicago’s Charter One Pavilion on August 17th staving off what could’ve been a mood crunching rain.  While I’ve seen Jim and the boys a number of times before, this show added a bit more jam to my toast which was nice considering I was still reeling from four nights of Phish.  One to remember for sure.

Opening with one of the many beautiful sections of “Rollin Back” from It Still Moves they then launched into one of only three songs recorded before 2003, “The Way That He Sings” from 2001’s At Dawn and never looked back.  It was a smoking set that, to my surprise, contained their breakthrough It Still Moves almost in it’s entirety.  While that album shows heavily in most sets it was nice to see (sorta rare to me)  “Masterplan,” ” Easy Morning Rebel,” and the always welcome but seldom witnessed “Steam Engine.”  The rest of the set was a nice mix of Z and Evil Urges with the latter bringing the most jubilation from the crowd due the cape that Jim James dons for songs performed from it.

They also played one new song, “Circuital” that sounds like a culmination of many of the sounds and attributes in their repertoire that make them so special; Jim, a touch of his falsetto, a smidgen of noise, a pinch of acoustic strumming, and a punch of shake appeal.  That one has me really looking forward to new material!

Highlights: Rollin’ Back section, Run Thru and Lay Low reprises.  With Califone opening the show, MMJ didn’t have as much time to melt our faces as they usually would so they worked in the jam sections from the latter two crowd favorites.  It was a nice touch and very friendly.  They started “Run Thru” at what I call the ‘disco Slayer’ section and “Lay Low” at the peak of the jam.  While I would’ve preferred to hear each song in it’s entirety, I was happy with what we got.

“Bermuda Highway”– This is the song that I played over and over and over my first summer of getting familiar with the band.  It is also the first MMJ song that my loving wife heard and she has been anxiously waiting to see it.  QUICK STORY I remember that Rochelle, myself, and our friends Tom and Sarah went to Louisville to see them a couple of years ago and I all but guaranteed Rochelle that they would play it.  Well. They didn’t.  After that she had planned on writing them a letter that explained that we had seen them in four states and traveled x amount of miles and all she wanted was to hear “Bermuda Highway” live.  She never wrote that letter and now she never has to.  Hearing her excitement and seeing her smile on that evening made the show even better.

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Timothy Showalter/Strand of Oaks

Timothy Showalter/Strand of Oaks

I just got home from yet another fantastic live music experience at the hands of Milwaukee’s own 91.7 WMSE.  It was the warm up show to the first annual Radio Summer Camp, a festival that is bringing great music to some of Milwaukee’s best venues from tonight (August 19) thru Monday August 24.  Tonight’s preview was a religious experience followed by rocking throwdown at Shank Hall that featured my friend and favorite new songwriter Tim Showalter/Strand of Oaks opening for the amazing Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit.

Now I know that I have written and gushed over Tim’s work before but his songs and personality continue to blow me away and introduce my slightly coffee stained chompers to whoever’s around.  He impressed me even more tonight by showing up with nothing but his beautiful voice, guitar, and some effects pedals that enhanced the already pleasant atmosphere.  It’s so unbelievable that one man can produce the sound and explosiveness of songs that were recorded with a full band.  After the show I thanked him for playing “New Paris,” my personal favorite, and he smiled with appreciation but said “Aw, they sound so much better with a full band.”  I say they sound great any way we get to hear them.  We got a touch of some new material in the form a lyrically funny but sweet sounding song about post Blues Brothers Dan Akoroyd and his closing number that he wrote after a dream he had about his grandfather.  Obviously, I loved both.   Can’t wait to hear more and see a lot more of Mr. Showalter.

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit followed and blew the roof off.  Being familiar with his work with the Drive-by Truckers and his two post Truckers albums, I’d say I was a casual fan.  But after tonight there isn’t an album I won’t cop or a show that I won’t see that has Jason on the bill.  They tore through some of his Truckers’ work and dominated newer songs to make them sound like they’d been playing them for decades.  Super tight playing all around.  If you’ve never heard him before I strongly suggest getting a hold of anything with his name on it if you enjoy good rocking accompanied by down home storytelling lyrics.  Highlights of the night for me came from “Outfit,” “7 Mile Island,” “Decoration Day,” Chicago Promenade,” and a lengthy and rocked out “Never Gonna Change” that featured the facemelting riff from “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”.

Big thanks to WMSE for throwing this whole thing together! If tonight is any indication of how the next couple of days are going to be, Milwaukee’s in for a real treat!