March 14, 2007

Your ideal prom date: My Morning Jacket

This is such a fantastic idea that I wonder why no one thought of it sooner: A 2-night-stand concert series at the famed 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia — high school prom style.

As My Morning Jacket wrote about the event when it was announced, “The first time we walked thru those hallowed 40 Watt doors we said to ourselves, ‘this place looks perfect for a prom!’ And now the dream will be a reality. The theme is a futuristic/retro under the sea vibe – costumes (tuxes, suits, robots, mermaid and lobster costumes, anything prom/ocean related) are not only encouraged – they are MANDATORY!!! NO ONE will be admitted without proper attire!** There will be cake, balloons, fishnets, classic cars, chaperones, spankings, and a whole lotta shakin goin on – 2007 style upin this bitch ya’ll.”

Think of all the wonderful garb you could bust out of the closet for a night like this, and surely have waaay more fun than your own prom, with a fraction of the heavy petting.

Oh What A Night (Dells cover) – My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
From Paste Magazine

For the first night of its March 6-7 “Prom” at Athens’ 40 Watt Club, My Morning Jacket donned some new evening jackets—pastel-colored ones, with matching pants, ruffled shirts and, in keyboardist Bo Koster’s case, a top hat. Oh, and at least for the first few songs, silver plastic pompadour wigs.

Opening with a note-perfect cover of The Dells’ 1956 doo-wop hit “Oh, What A Night”—basically the title track for the two-night stand, dubbed Oh What A Night Under The Sea—the Jacket performed a set heavy on tracks from their latest studio recording Z before a tightly packed room, most dressed in either prom kitsch (poofy-shouldered dresses, ’70s-style tux T-shirts) or nautical attire (two spot-on Captains sans Tennilles, one behind the bar).

Everything about the unusual show screamed “event,” from the boisterous, capacity weeknight crowd to the faces in it: Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, Boston band Apollo Sunshine, which had just visited Paste’s offices earlier in the day, and R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Peter Buck and touring member/Minus 5 frontman Scott McCaughey. (McCaughey explained that R.E.M. had convened in Athens to rehearse for the upcoming Rock Hall of Fame induction.)

At the encore, Jacket frontman Jim James crowned a prom king and queen and had them dance onstage to a deadpan reading of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” with lyrics altered to sound more like a high school backseat fumble. Then the band uncorked King Harvest’s obscure (but spot-on) 1973 hit “Dancing In The Moonlight” before powering through three more originals and calling it a night just past 1:30 a.m.

If only our actual prom night had been this wonderful, we might actually have signed up for a account.


LISTEN: In addition to a stellar setlist of MMJ tunes, both of these sets are laden with retro-slow-dance covers.
March 6th show is here

March 7th show is here
(includes similar goodness to the 6th show, plus covers like Johnny B. Goode and Crimson & Clover)

Fine photos (duly noted) by Kory Johnson and Daniel Peiken, from the MMJ site linked above.

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  • the Empty Bottle in Chicago used to do these quite often going back to the early 90′s.

    Anonymous — March 14, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  • Thanks for reminding me of my regret over not seeing MMJ in January…

    JJ — March 14, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  • Ever hear the prom Soul Asylum played on behalf of students whose town was destroyed by a natural disaster? They open the show with A.C.’s Schools Out and pretty much nail it. It was released a few years ago.

    But I’d rather get MMJ.

    No Name — March 14, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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