My Morning Jacket, Somerset House, London
Thursday 28 July 2011
Live, My Morning Jacket are awesome – you could play them against Foo Fighters with no doubt at all as to who would be the winners. They begin with a five-song assault that seems to cow even the weather on a day of repeated downpours – the cloud gods only dare to release more water once the two-hour set has finished. In between, Jim James whirls like a dervish in a raincoat and a Rebekah Brooks wig, glowing sampler round his neck before switching to guitar. His fellow lead guitarist, Carl Broemel bashes, tugs and bends soaring licks from his own axe.
This band are all about guitars and tunes. Yes, Bo Koster's keyboards create a huge soundscape, and Patrick Hallahan's drum sound mirrors his own red-shirted, larger than-life performance, but it is all in the service and the celebration of the noise of the electric guitar, and the way it can allow great pop tunes to transcend their form. James and Broemel are not post-modern, or ironic, or apologetic about the noise-monsters they wield. They are not constrained by the expectations of genre. They are not fourth-generation cock-rockers. They just wig out, with joyous abandon.
Their ace, or course, is James's gorgeous songs. The set is constructed around their sixth and latest album, Circuital, which Andy Gill in this paper described as maybe their best, and the last, Evil Urges, which I perhaps still marginally prefer. On record, the shifts in mood and tone can be dislocating – they can sound like Scissor Sisters or Neil Young; in one song the vocals are falsetto, in another they are gruff, in another they sound like Nick Drake. Gill called this "patchy" but to me it recalls the best albums of the Sixties and Seventies – Bowie, Beatles and so on – where artists were exuberantly open to possibilities. In any event, live, power replaces dislocation. Anthem follows anthem as daylight admits defeat and the Union Flag wraps itself ever tighter around the flagpole behind the stage at this beautiful courtyard venue.
The end of the set approaches with James and Broemel on their knees. When James returns for the encore – itself a mini-set – he is in a cape, and with a white towel over his head, looking like Igor from Young Frankenstein. My Morning Jacket are, indeed, a monster. They could take over the world. And the world would be a better place for it.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word, TV review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest account of a woman enduring a still too common fate
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils