My Morning Jacket, Delta Spirit

Categories: Last Night

Last Night: My Morning Jacket, Delta Spirit
Verizon Theatre
December 7, 2011

Better than: Watching My Morning Jacket on Palladia's Storytellers while your neighbor's dog barks nonstop.

Mike Brooks
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My Morning Jacket has been praised as one of the best live bands currently working. Ask anybody who was at the Verizon Theatre last night and he or she will probably not disagree with you. If you asked how the venue's sound was, unfortunately, that's up for dispute.

Verizon's a big place, and the sound's supposed to travel all the way to the back wall, but that doesn't really qualify why some of My Morning Jacket's set was marred by punishing bass frequencies.

You're not reading EQ magazine here, but when songs like "Outta My System" and "Lay Low" were dominated by sub bass hits, the rest of the instruments and vocals were almost completely buried. Even audience members with earplugs felt like they were in the Battle of Britain.

Things would even out sound-wise, but whenever bassist "Two-Tone Tommy" Blankenship hit his low E or drummer Patrick Hallahan hit his bass drum, it felt incredibly jarring. You're supposed to enjoy these guys, right? Especially when they play for over two hours?

Once again, the five-piece played a very lengthy set (21 songs, to be exact), one that not only showcased their past four records, but obscurities as well. With favorites like "Golden," "It Beats 4 U," "Gideon," and "One Big Holiday," there were also tunes like "Heartbreakin' Man" from The Tennessee Fire and "Cobra" from the Chocolate and Ice EP. Plus, somehow they found time to play many songs from this year's Circuital.

If the band tends to play like every song is the last one of the night, well, that's what they do best live. And what's important to note is how fluid and natural material from Evil Urges and Circuital sounded live with their older brothers and sisters from the first four albums. Sure, on those newer releases, there is less reverb on Jim James' vocals and more keyboard/electronic tinges added to the sound. Yet sonic departures seemed to work out with the material closer to the reservation.

James, whose looks could fit in at a Molly Hatchet concert or a Lord of the Rings' convention, did very little talking throughout the night. Six songs in (with a black towel on his head, no less) he asked, "How you guys doing?" Talking to the crowd again only before their final song of the night, everything before was the band's usual rockin' magic.

Opener Delta Spirit played to a mostly empty venue, yet the California five-piece engaged those who watched. During their 45-minute set (which began at 7 o'clock sharp), they previewed new material from their forthcoming album while including a cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." With four-part harmonies, their songs were jubilant and spirited, rarely slowing down until the final tune of the night.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: This was my third time seeing My Morning Jacket. I first saw them when they opened for Guided By Voices at Trees in 2002 and was quite taken by them. An "indie rock Lynyrd Skynyrd," my friend Stephen decreed. I missed them when they hit up the Gypsy Tea Room a few times, but I saw them again at the Palladium back in 2008, aka, the night they covered "Tyrone" with Erykah Badu.

By the way:The second song into My Morning Jacket's set, you could smell a ton of pot throughout the pit area. Thankfully it was not skunk weed.

Random note: Patrick Hallahan came out and played with Delta Spirit on their fourth song.

My Morning Jacket's set list
"Victory Dance"
"Outta My System"
"It Beats 4 U"
"First Light"
"I'm Amazed"
"Heartbreakin' Man"
"Off the Record"
"Slow Slow Tune"
"Smokin' from Shootin'"
"Steam Engine"
"Lay Low"
"Wordless Chorus"
"Holdin' on to Black Metal"

"The Day Is Coming"
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2"
"One Big Holiday"

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My Voice Nation Help
Michael Quintanilla
Michael Quintanilla

Weird Review.  Who comments on the pot smoke at a concert?  And even if you do, smelling a ton of pot is pretty goofy way to describe a heavy small of canaibis. You come across like an 8th grader who just saw their first joint.  In any event, we arrived in time to see Delta Spirit.  Trashcan and Bushwich Blues were definite standouts.  They were impressive.  I'm told they were equally impressive in Houston, last night.  Hopefully they come back after they release their new album.  I'd love, to seem them at the Granada.

I hear you on the bass.  We were in the pit (by the dude smoking pot, no less) and the bass was definitely thumping.  I thought it was gonna blow the door off the hinges.  My ears hurt the next day.  The set list has changed since I saw them at Red Rocks.  It was nice to see/hear the tweaks. 

I'll say this.  Say what you will about Palladium, the energy from that show was higher than the energy at this show.  I say it's venue related.  As my friend says when he talks about Verizon (Nokia).  It a place for a good time, not a great time.

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin

Verizon sound was disappointing as usual.  You would think a purpose-built high dollar arena would sound better.  Eric is right.  We forgot our plugs and seriously regretted it.  The bass was way out of line where we were (front portion of the seating section, center stage).  Bass was super boomy and loud.  Band would be singing and playing softly to start a song and then a single bass note would literally make my hair blow in the "bass breeze".  We actually left 20 minutes before they finished because we just couldn't take it anymore. 

The show of course was amazing.  They are a very talented live act.  Definitely a harder sound these days.  Some parts were downright metal and it was great. 

A+ to MMJ for a great show.  C+ for Verizon on the sound- generally good but super, overwhelming, totally inappropriate and unnecessary bass.  I felt like I was in a Cadillac with 4x 15s in the trunk.  That would be fine for a house or hip hop show but for My Morning Jacket?

And finally an F- to whoever crashed on 635 causing massive traffic delays and making us miss the entire Delta Spirit set.  I'm sure it was excellent.

Your Evening Coat
Your Evening Coat

I think they got the bass thing figured out. i mean, MMJ does a pretty thorough sound check, i'd imagine they'd kill it if they wanted to, no? otherwise i thought the sound was terrific.

had a great time at the show. I actually do enjoy Verizon. i like that a band such as MMJ can stretch out their stage, lights, screens, etc. and the stadium-style seating is great for viewing. i'm so done with freakin shows at the Palladium, no sights, 30 min to get a beer, sucks.

i saw them as headliners in 06 and 08 in portland and seattle...and honestly this show was every bit as enjoyable.

Delta Spirit...i dont really dig them too much. Pink Floyd? ok, i mean that's cool...i guess? just seems kind of silly to me. which is what i thought when i saw them in Chicago last summer, just kind of ranty and into themselves...topped off with childish lyrics. idk, i might be the only one.

Nick R.
Nick R.

They played Masterplan. Awesome.

Wash's ashtray
Wash's ashtray

I got there at 8 thinking Id see Delta Spirit and MMJ would go on 9ish.  Obviously I was wrong.  Kinda bummed I missed them.  The sound at Verizon/Nokia/NextStage is always a crap shoot.


I saw this show the night before in Tulsa. I am a huge fan of Delta so I was stoked for them and I think they were perfect openers. They rocked and set the place up to get blown away by MMJ.


Verizon is an odd place. When Elvis Costello was there, sound was amazing, but with Van Morrison and jackson Browne, it was hit and miss. Why is that?

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

different soundguys. where you're sitting in the room. How many people in the room. It all factors in.

Cliff Wright
Cliff Wright

No apologies necessary, just giving you shit.

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