My Morning Jacket pour on the sweat at the Kool Haus
It took three long years for My Morning Jacket to return to Toronto and the Kool Haus. And although the band has only released one album since its last show in here, they've come a long way in terms of mainstream exposure.
The Kentucky rockers have become regulars on the festival circuit, they've played pretty much every late night talk show, and are consistently featured in major music publications despite being an independent band. MMJ's popularity, one suspects, lies largely in the fact that they play epic live shows (they once played a 4 hour marathon set at Bonnaroo), and Monday night's performance at the Kool Haus was no exception.
The pairing of "Victory Dance" and "Circuital" off of the band's latest album (also titled Circuital) was a strong opener, catering to fans more familiar with the new material, which it seemed like most members of the audience were.
Jim James was a spectacle unto himself throughout the performance. Wearing a giant noise making device around his neck à la Flavor Flav, and donning a black cloak and sweat towel on his head, he had all the swagger and charisma of the late James Brown.
The band dug deep into their extensive song catalog and pulled out "The Dark," a hard-hitting rocker off their reverb-steeped album The Tennessee Fire, which was met with immense excitement by those who recognized the old tune. The progressive disco of "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2" had everyone busting out embarrassing dance moves, and major headbanging ensued during the rollicking "Mahgeetah."
After two sweaty hours MMJ left the stage, only to return to play a six song, 30 minute encore which included the ironic "Holding On To Black Metal," the completely absurd funk of "Highly Suspicious" and the ubiquitous set closing "One Big Holiday" (which may very well be one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time). The show may not have been four hours long, but the band played an insanely energetic and sweaty set that will surely be remembered by many as their favourite of the summer.
Photos by Courtney Lee Yip