Delivering On The Hype
Somewhere in the early 2000s, people started calling My Morning Jacket the best live band in the world. Over a decade later, fans say that’s still the truth. Their trance-like psych-rock sound and Jim James’ one-of-a-kind vocals have entranced audiences all around the globe including, this past Wednesday, fans at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.
The evening was nothing short of a blowout success, with fans enjoying every minute of the band’s sets, along with plenty of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The evening was a little chilly, so fans were happy to get up close and shake their groove thangs. The band's light show was particularly epic, and it made for some truly fantastic photo ops. Around the song "Wonderful", front man Jim James told the crowd about an alarming experience he had before the show. While wandering through the woods behind the stage, he came upon what Vermonters will recognize as the steamboat Ticonderoga — the Shelburne Museum's historic steamboat that is dry docked in the hills of Vermont, without a body of water in sight. He confided that he has a bit of a fear of things in places they shouldn't be, so was pretty shocked to see the intimidating ship!
Fans, in turn, were shocked by the incredible, face-melting jams coming from the stage, including "First Light", "Outta My System", "One Big Holiday", and the wildly psychadelic "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part II".
From Kentucky to Europe and Beyond
Formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1998, the band is the brainchild of frontman Jim James, the stunning vocalist who now has a successful solo career of his own. While they’ve always lived solidly in the rock ‘n roll world, their earliest albums lean country (The Tennessee Fire, 1999; At Dawn, 2001), and their newer releases are more psychedelic and experimental (Circuital, 2011; The Waterfall, 2015).
The band found early success outside of the US when they released The Tennessee Fire, which was a particular hit in Europe. After touring around Europe to rave reviews, they returned to the US where American music lovers had finally caught the My Morning Jacket bug. Today, they’ve seen two top-10 Billboard hits (“Circuital”, which reached #5 in 2011, and “Evil Urges” which reached #9 in 2008) and two Grammy nominations (“best alternative music album” in 2012 and 2016).
Making Change, Big And Small
In 2015, My Morning Jacket launched a philanthropic foundation to support the causes they believe in. According to the foundation’s web page, the Waterfall Project is “dedicated to supporting and promoting actions, big and small, for positive change in the world. As part of this effort, [the foundation] will dedicate funds, established with portions of ticket sales from US shows, proceeds from special merch items, and donations, to organizations working on the front lines of the important issues.” At Wednesday night’s show, a portion of each ticket sale went to the Waterfall Project, so we felt extra good about every song we rocked out to!
Photo credit: Justin Gural