My Morning Jacket/Elvis Perkins In Dearland: Marquee Theater, Tempe, AZ – 1/3/2007

Has My Morning Jacket ever evoked a negative word from anyone?   From a revered late night Bonnaroo performance, to countless year end best of lists for 2005’s Z, and the accolades for 2006’s live Okonokos; the Kentucky rockers probably couldn’t even fathom a “this sucks” from a Rascal Flatts fan. Since they’ve become the gateway indie band for jam fans, it’s one of the few shows where you can see heady Sierra Nevada t-shirts, next to threads that read “Listen to Bob Pollard.”  Following a hailed performance at New Years Eve in San Francisco, My Morning Jacket showed up at the stale Marquee Theater to keep their west coast vibe alive another night.

Openers Elvis Perkins In Dearland, appeared on stage like vagabond street musicians with their primitive instruments, but sounded quite intelligent and cultured. Led by the lean Perkins, he marks no similarities between rock’s two other famous Elvis’, carving his own niche of do-it-yourself fuzz folk.  With an un-orthodox lineup that features keyboardist/guitarist Wyndham Boylan-Garnett adding multiple textures; drummer Nicholas Kinsey plays a rudimental marching band bass drum.  However, it was a cover of Del Shannon’s 1961 hit “Runaway” that showed Elvis Perkins in Dearland filling the void of the care-free rock of yesterday to the eclectic folk duties of M. Ward and Conor Oberst in today’s indie rock scene.

My Morning took to the stage with leader Jim James sporting his flying V guitar and knee high boots with skeleton bones wrapping up his legs. From the opener, the crowd raised their fists to “One Big Holiday,” almost as if they donned KISS makeup and launched into “Strutter.” Diving into “Gideon,” and “Off the Record,” from Z, My Morning Jacket have as an enduring relationship with their two-year old songs, as their four year old “classics,” proving there must be something in the reverb to latch a sense of cohesion between band and fan. 

As the set wore on, MMJ dove into some of their own “oldies” – “Phone Went West” off of At Dawn and the must hear “Cobra."  The later would please their jam fans, with its funky drum machine beat, that wandered into a pseudo 80’s Talking Heads curve, shining a loose side to their otherwise southern twang.  You got to hand it to the guys, it’s hard to find a bad word to say, other than since bassist Two Tone Tommy cut his hair, he kind of looks a lot like Dave Grohl.  Leave it to the fans to decide if the short hair “sucks.”

Setlist:   One Big Holiday, What A Wonderful Man, Gideon, The Way That He Sings, Off the Record, It Beats 4 U, Wordless Chorus, Lay Low, Phone Went West, Cobra, Golden, Dondante, Run Thru, They Ran
E: Bermuda Highway (Jim and Carl), Nashville To Kentucky, Mahgeetah, Anytime

Photo courtesy of Sam Erickson at MyMorningJacket.com

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