Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Morning Jacket with Tails

This past Thursday I caught the second night of My Morning Jacket’s two night engagement with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston as part of the Pops’ genre-bending “Edgefest” series. In my own mind, collaborations between rock bands and symphonies will forever be defined by the gaudy drama of Guns ‘n Roses November Rain (which, admittedly, was bitching). Absent, however, from MMJ’s gig with the Pops was any of that over-the-top-ness. Rather, the collaboration was understated, artful, and thoroughly enjoyable.

To be sure, during a few numbers it felt and sounded as if two groups were simultaneously sharing the stage rather than playing together. During those songs the Pops woodenly moved through their arrangements of MMJ songs while MMJ played as if it were business as usual, disregarding the array of musicians behind them on the stage.

But these were outweighed by more moments of intertwined brilliance. The two groups were largely conscious of one another and worked to play together and off of one another. Often the strings or the brass would pick up the lead guitar line or the melody. The most satisfying moments occurred when the Pops filled in the space carved out by Jim James’ airy vocals, as in “I Will Sing You Songs” from It Still Moves. The Pops brilliantly filled the space between James’ vocals and the rest of his band without ruining the haunting emptiness that makes so many MMJ tunes compelling.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Mugshot said...

I wonder what it takes to put together a concert like that -- if the groups rehearse together a lot, or if the pops musicians grumble about having to play with a rock band. I have a few questions: About how many pops musicians were on stage? Was there a conductor?


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