My Morning Jacket - Somerset House 17/07/11
Photographer: Valerio Berdini
Noah has assembled his arc and is ready to board the first beast as London today is literally raining cats and dogs as Kentucky’s My Morning Jacket, a long way from the warm mid-west, headline the last show of Somerset House’s Summer Series.
Support act, Sub-Pop’s The Head And The Heart are the vision of their name as they pound the floor with their feet delivering every word with pained sincerity. The Seattle six-piece fend of the foreboding clouds with uplifting bluegrass and earnest harmonies gaining a few fans along the way.
As ominous organs fill in the enclaves of the dimly blue-lit courtyard the clouds finally clear and The Jacket take to the stage to fitting opener, ‘Victory Dance’. Wearing a sound effects box like a medallion, lead singer Jim Jones bounds around to the track’s deafening drum beat and a rhythm driving so hard and so loud it rips space for a new organ in your chess. Plunging into a hellish red glow for ‘Gideon’, as the Who-like ricocheting riff bounces off the Tudor walls and Jones’ vocals grow to an unbridled call, it becomes clear that the Summer Series was made for bands like My Morning Jacket.
Drawing heavily from latest album Circuital, tonight’s set still seamlessly weaves in fan favourites from Z, Evil Urges and It Still Moves. The country waltz of ‘You Wanna Freak Out’ dances effortlessly into unbridled funk of ‘Off The Record’ and ‘Golden’s’ Laurel Canyon melodies, as we head into dusk, melt into the lazy moan of, ‘Slow Slow Tune’. The band are alarmingly tight throughout the set; grinning manically and forming a tight circle around the drum kit for each of the many extended outros. Jim interchanges between galloping around the stage with a slow-slung flying v to a slow swagger with a towel draped over his head, like on the fragility of Carpenters-esque ‘Movin’ Away’. Drummer Patrick Hallahan, with a kit Jon Bonham would rise from the grave for, provides the stand-out moments tonight ashe stands drenched in sweat raising his arms aloft like an traffic controller doing the robot during, ‘Smokin From Shootin’.
Although, the new tracks stand-up in their own right they quite never reach the awesome magnitude of when the band are at their dense spaced-out best. Literally shaking from the sheer volume of his own voice, Jim words race against the building Sprinsteen-like euphoria of, ‘Anytime’ and final song ‘Dondante’ is simply epic; the drunken beats pulsate like a broken heartbeat as Jones’ fragile falsetto haunts the courtyard before exploding into a howled roar as the track spirals out of control.
Emerging in the spitting rain the band play an encore of ‘Wordless Chorus’, ‘The Day Is Coming’, and ‘Holding Onto Black Metal’. As Jim said earlier “this place is truly fucking epic as they said it would be. It’s really fucked up” and as sing-along to ‘One Big Holiday’ plays out across the Southbank you can’t help but think he’s right.
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