My Morning Jacket, Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA – 9/7
Photo by Kevin Fuller
Marymoor Park in Redmond Washington lent itself as an ideal venue for My Morning Jacket on Friday. Encased in a natural amphitheater and surrounded by evergreen trees, My Morning Jacket played their ethereal, yet powerful brand of rock and roll to an enthused crowd.
Local opener, Shabazz Palaces played a unique blend of psychedelic infused hip hop with an inclination toward tribal percussion, but it seemed lost on the crowd. The songs meandered in an out of interesting, and never really took off with a beat that would get people off their feet. Most stayed seated.
As the last glow of sunlight settled over the hill, the shaggy haired Kentucky natives of My Morning Jacket marched on stage to a roar from the audience, and the dance floor was instantly swarmed. Dubbed as “The Spontaneous Curation Tour,” My Morning Jacket’s latest jaunt around the country allows fans to help choose the set list. Opening with a string of older cuts from the bands first two albums, the band played these slower jams enthusiastically, but things didn’t kick truly into high gear until the chugging bass line of “It Beats For U” from the band’s iconic 2006 album, Z. The song showcased how dynamic My Morning Jacket is; from Jim James’ cavernous falsetto over an appropriately pulsating drum, until the explosion of distorted and vibrating guitar courtesy of six string wizard Carl Broemel brought it to a close. From there on, the band was playing on all cylinders; jumping around stage for nearly two hours. The enthusiasm and energy exhibited by James and company was truly impressive.
Impossible to categorize, My Morning Jacket can transition from Neil Young –like country rockers to billowing psychedelic funk, sometimes within a single song. Their sonic output is so massive, yet never a mish-mash of noise without purpose. It envelopes you as a giant wave of sound, without knocking the listener over. Coupled with strobes and kaleidoscopic laser lights dancing on the surrounding fir trees, the show was a delight for all the senses.
Closing out the set with the awe-inspiring gospel rocker “Gideon” the band returned for a guitar heavy encore with additional guitarist, Johnny Quaid. Quaid, also James’ cousin, toured and recorded with my morning jacket until 2004. He added fiery guitar to the dark multi-segmented jam “Run Thru” and Skynyrd-esque twang to crowd favorite “One Big Holiday.” Thus ended a triumphant two hours of what can only be described as rock ‘n roll in all its glory; from futuristic electronic experimentation to bluesy guitar freak outs, My Morning Jacket succeeded on every level.