My Morning Jacket is a stellar live band and they didn’t let the crowd at the St. Augustine Amphitheater down. Jim James and company grooved, rocked, funked and jammed through an eclectic set of songs from It Still Moves through Evil Urges and sprinkled in 3 or 4 new songs. They exploded with ear-splitting volume on the opener, “One Big Holiday” and shook the foundations of the quaint little amphitheater. MMJ has the ability to move from serene to explosive on their albums and do so with even more force live. Jim James is the type of frontman that takes over the show with his voice and his guitar, making the attack more visceral. He howls and screams and snarls, all while shredding his axe, playing with distortion and effects, and brandishing the guitar boldly in the air or slinging it around madly. This is a musical rock ‘n roll frontman at his best – non-verbally declaring “this is my guitar, this is my dick, suck on it.”
“Run Thru” (interlude jam)
As for the venue, the St Augustine Amphitheater is truly a hidden gem. It is old and mainly supports the elderly community in the area with plays and shows, but recently someone brilliant has had the idea to bring rock bands in. It is small (around 5,000 at the most) and intimate, yet twice as loud as anything at the lame Ford Amphitheater. The night was made better with easy entry, easy parking, a laid back staff, full liquor, decent beer, and easy exiting. It is close enough to the beach to get a consistent sea breeze moving though the place. MMJ played under a full moon and the slightest sprinkles of rain came at two different moments. The moisture held the fog from the fog machine lower and thicker, lingering on the stage and in the crowd. This worked with the lights and added to the some of the psychedelic jam outs. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band opened the show and joined MMJ on the encore for three songs including covers of New Orleans native Al Johnson’s “Carnival Time” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up.” At times it seemed the breeze was choreographed with the music and James filled the air with an expansive howl, a gentle wind would rise up and blow through the crowd carrying thin wisps of rock fog and marijuana smoke into the night air.
“Highly Suspicious” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
“Move on up” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Curtis Mayfield cover)