Showtime: My Morning Jacket, Fillmore Miami Beach

I’ve become very appreciative of the Fillmore Miami Beach, the new incarnation of the venerable Jackie Gleason Theater. After enjoying a thoroughly brilliant set by Vampire Weekend earlier this year, I had the chance to see what might well be my personal favorite band, My Morning Jacket, in the chandeliered beauty.

From my cellphone (not bad!), a look at the powerful light show at MMJ.
From my cellphone (not bad!), a look at the powerful light show at MMJ.

Of all of the bands I’ve had the chance to see, My Morning Jacket is the only one I’ve traveled more than three hours to follow — I made a 10-hour trip to North Charleston, S.C. to catch the first show of their last tour. So to me, the show at the Fillmore was this year’s golden ticket.

And this show truly was golden, from the word go. As a proper fan, I checked the playlists from the last few shows on MMJ’s tour, and felt confident enough to make a CD package of what I figured to be the band’s set list for Miami for a more neophyte attendee.

Then they go and basically flip it.

And seriously flip it — playing “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream, Pt. 2” right BEFORE Pt. 1 of the same song as the show’s entre. One of the more adventurous songs on MMJ’s new album, Evil Urges, it worked well as a show opener as it allowed the audience to ease in.

Crowd pleasers like “Wordless Chorus”, “Phone Went West” and “The Way That He Sings” followed, surrounding the new album’s title track — which has a lovely dollop of Prince mixed with their usual Southern gothic sound — and the aggressive “Highly Suspicious.” 

Another change from other shows — a slightly more laid back list, with slower-tempoed songs like “It Beats 4 U” and “Knot Comes Loose” interspersed. Songs like that highlight lead singer Jim James’ voice to the fullest. 

The rest of the band’s shining moment comes during the encore, with extremely good, powerful sounds from longtime concert staples “Golden”, “Run Thru” and “One Big Holiday”. Guitarist Carl Broemel and keyboardist Bo Koster both held strong roles, but to me, the stars of these songs were the rhythm section — bassist Two-Tone Tommy and, especially, drummer Patrick Hallahan. 

Hallahan also had a huge visual role, serving as a sort of human timepiece during “Run Thru” in the band’s remarkable light show.

If you’d like to check out a great photo set from the show, check out Margarita Gonzalez’s album at Prefix. Also, enjoy Shaun Flagg’s photos from Skope… and yeah, that’s this entry as the review…