Published Jun 30, 2011Let's hope that someone buffed the floor on the stage of the Orpheum. Over the course of My Morning Jacket's two-and-a-half hour performance at the Vancouver theatre, frontman Jim James performed a total of four epic knee-slides, barrelling across the stage before skidding at least ten feet along the floor. Unless it was adequately waxed beforehand, there's a good chance that the the songwriter is currently nursing a serious case of floor burn.
These knee-slides were among the highlights of a performance that was as hilarious as it was shit-kicking, giving the Kentucky rockers ample opportunities to show off their oddball showmanship and genre-bending eclecticism. The quirkiness began with the trippy, echo-laden "Victory Dance," as James skulked around the stage wearing a three-quarter-length coat with what appeared to be a glowing sampler strapped around his neck. A few songs later, the electro beat and skanking guitar groove of "Off the Record" inspired many in the room to show off their most embarrassing dance moves. This included James himself, who slung his guitar on his back to perform an arm-flailing caveman boogie, his hair flying in every direction.
The musicians didn't say much, preferring to devote their time onstage to lengthy guitar jams and occasional forays into atmospheric disco ("Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2"), falsetto-laden funk ("Holdin' on to Black Metal") and ultra-mellow R&B ("Slow Slow Tune"). The only notable between-song banter was a characteristically bizarre anecdote from James, as he compared the theatre to the home of the head-hunting witch from Return to Oz.
Despite the many moments of eccentricity, the group never ventured too far into schlocky gimmickry. They ended the night with the fan favourite "One Big Holiday," and this boozy Southern rock jam proved that the group still know when to play it straight.