My Morning Jacket came to the Fillmore Miami Beach last night.EXPAND
My Morning Jacket came to the Fillmore Miami Beach last night.
Photo by Monica McGivern

My Morning Jacket Gives Miami a Unique Show With a Dash of Psychedelic

My Morning Jacket
Monday, August 3, 2015

The Fillmore Miami Beach
Better than: Anything that's supposed to happen on a Monday.

If there is one constant regarding My Morning Jacket, it's that no two concerts are alike. It's a conscious effort by the band, which always tries to mix up the setlist, making each show its own trippy thumbprint. As if to emphasize this, every stop on the band's current tour offers a poster unique to that respective city. Monday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach, the Louisville five-piece remained true to that principle.

The opening act, Mini Mansions, were, simply put, a mini-My Morning Jacket. Hailing from L.A., the indie-rock trio stars Zach Dawes, Tyler Parkford, and Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman. The threesome walked out onstage to the tune of the Platters' 1956 classic “The Great Pretender,” a nod to Mini Mansions' 2015 LP, The Great Pretenders. The dudes churned out a series of psycho-synth numbers including album cuts “Death Is a Girl” and “Any Emotions.” 

They also performed their version of “Sherlock Holmes” by '80s power-pop group Sparks and an especially impressive version of Blondie's new-wave standard “Heart of Glass” that was equally eerie and hypnotic. It was part of a set that halfway through went all Future Islands/MGMT/Flaming Lips space rock, to the delight of the My Morning Jacket fans. It was a Doors freak-out jam awash with fuzzy guitars, howling voices, and twinkling keyboards. 

L.A. band Mini Mansions opened the show.EXPAND
L.A. band Mini Mansions opened the show.
Photo by Monica McGivern

The concert wasn't quite sold out, but it was certainly a healthy crowd and an enthusiastic one at that. A few beers were knocked around by amateur air guitarists as frontman Jim James and company wasted no time getting the crowd's fleshy windmills spinning. My Morning Jacket opened with a soaring, country-blues number that energized the crowd as it resonated through the room.

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Touring in support of its latest record, The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket then launched into “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall),” engulfing the audience in a rush of feedback, reverb, and muscular melodies true to the album's title. After, it immediately slid into the 2008 single “I'm Amazed,” engaging in a righteous groove that lasted all evening. Miami happily sailed on every sonorous gust emanating from the stage. As eclectic as the crowd was – there were abuelas, hipsters, South Beach models, hippies, a woman in pink bunny ears and a fuchsia wig, and even a few children, including one little girl fist-pumping aloft her father's shoulders – they were clearly in agreement as to the brilliance of My Morning Jacket. 

Each My Morning Jacket show is different from the last.EXPAND
Each My Morning Jacket show is different from the last.
Photo by Monica McGivern

The music was the perfect accompaniment to James' loud and colorful jacket, the dynamic stage lighting, and the smoky, syrupy head trips many in the audience were experiencing. A My Morning Jacket show could easily soundtrack a cartoon version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or an episode of The Magic School Bus where Ms. Frizzle and the gang explore the wonders of a special kind of mushroom.

My Morning Jacket powered through some of its most revered songs, not wasting any time during the two-and-a-half hour set as it wowed the room with shimmering psychedelia. In fact, the only time James really addressed the crowd was during the encore, when he sent out a message of love and understanding among all peoples, citing the nearby Holocaust Memorial and how much the band was moved by it.

Otherwise, My Morning Jacket spun a hazy web of gorgeous sounds working in unison: weeping, ethereal guitars; sultry Led Zeppelin-like blues breakdowns; and a rhythm section that should be nicknamed thunder and lightning. Every jam, from “Believe (Nobody Knows)” to “Gideon” to the encore party starter “Victory Dance” surged, crashed, and then was majestically reincarnated into wondrous flights of rock ’n’ roll fancy. It all made it difficult to argue with the common claim that My Morning Jacket is one of the best live acts in the business today.

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