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Published: 2011/07/05
by Jeff Miller

My Morning Jacket, Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA – 6/22

Photo by Jeremiah Garcia

Hirsute My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James looked up midway through his band’s intimate, hour-and-a-half set at the usually-closed-to-the-public Village Studios in Los Angeles, and briefly paused before launching into another sweaty, classic-sounding rocker. “Those chandeliers,” he said, “were featured in ‘Miracle on 34th St.’ I wonder if we can take one home with us.”

At least, that’s what it sounded like he said: the man is prone to mumbles. But clarity was the musical name of the game during this special fundraiser for beloved local public radio station KCRW, acknowledged by James onstage as instrumental to the band’s early career and clearly not-just-another-show for the cult-beloved rockers. That much was clear not only from the intimacy of the show (not long after playing for nearly 100,000 fans at Bonnaroo, this night’s venue held only 250 people) but the setlist, which began with the entirety of the group’s new “Circuital”, weaving between poignant acoustic-driven numbers (the lovely “Wonderful”) and full-on rock ragers (“Holding On To Black Metal”‘s re-working of a 60s-era Indian jam).

Though the new songs sounded great, thanks in no small part to James otherworldly voice, thankfully no longer hidden behind reams of reverb, the crowd unsurprisingly responded in kind to the five older songs played as a mini-set at the end. “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 2” peaked with a squiggly electro-rock bout of improv, and as James conjured up sounds while glancing in a heavenly direction towards the chandeliers, the whole thing seemed like a Miracle off of Santa Monica Boulevard itself.

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