The Slip and My Morning Jacket in Indianapolis
Matt Erler
November 30, 2006
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On November 25, avant rock trio The Slip joined indie rock band My Morning Jacket at Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis for a stellar show.

The Slip recently had a song featured on “Guitar Hero,” which is strange because the band’s guitar histrionics aren’t exactly cock-worthy like Van Halen and Lynyrd Skynyrd, mainstays on the guitar simulation game.

The Slip is much more restrained than that. But the Slip can play. All three musicians can multit-task, which helps endow the band with a multi-layer atmosphere. It serves them well.

Sometimes the band’s experimental dalliances do the band an injustice. Its longer songs are boring, drawn out effect-laden exercises. Otherwise, the Slip show a lot of promise.

My Morning Jacket’s set at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2006 was probably the best show I’ve ever seen. The band had a lot to live up to at Clowes Memorial Hall Saturday, a fact reinforced by the organizer who introduced the band as America’s Best Live act. The band delivered.

The band’s set was underscored by the fact that since the band signed to Atlantic’s ATO Records its sound has gradually changed. The set list was heavy on “Z”, the band’s most experimental record. Yet despite, “Z”s experimental nature, the record is its most disciplined record, focusing more on the strength of its songs than its musicianship. The jams on “Z” were more structured than on “It Still Moves.”

The difference between My Morning Jacket circa “At Dawn” and “Tennessee Fire” is drastic and was on full display at Clowes.

The band manages to retain its hippie persona and image while veering into pop structures and less into long extended jams. My Morning Jacket does both well, especially live.

Opener “It Beats 4 U, driven by drummer Patrick Hallahan’s propulsive, driving beat is one of My Morning Jacket’s best songs. Live, it doesn’t lost any of its bone-chilling effect, especially during the transition between chorus and verse. Jim James’ voice is as reverb-tastic live as it is on the records. He’s a brilliant singer, really.

But Holy Hell, this band can play. Most bands lose a lot in the transition from album to a live setting. Not My Morning Jacket. James voice is all the more impressive live than on album, when the possibility of auto-tone is removed from your mind – this guy can really sing.

“Gideon,” “The Bear,” “Cobra,” and concert staple “One Big Holiday” are all vicious pieces of supporting evidence that serve as reminders as My Morning Jacket’s unimpeachable status as the best live band in America.