My Morning Jacket

Sun. Aug. 31, 8 p.m.

House of Blues, Myrtle Beach

[image-1]Lead singer and guitarist Jim James may have thanked the crowd at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues for bringing the thunder on Sunday night, but it was the guys in My Morning Jacket who stormed the stage, blasting their way through a tight setlist that included most of the songs on Evil Urges, their latest album, and some older gems that pumped the crowd into a frenzy. The band opened with “Anytime” from Z and went right into “Aluminum Park” from the new album. The fanboys went crazy for title track, “Evil Urges,” a funky tune reminiscent of Prince’s early-era hits (of all things). My Morning Jacket is the kind of band that causes writers to rifle through old songs to figure out who they sound most like — but the thing about them is, they kinda sound like a perfect amalgamation of all that has come before, whether that be the ’70s pop of Dr. Hook, the folk rock of Bruce Springsteen, the smooth sing-alongs of Jimmy Buffett, the mellow noodling of the Grateful Dead, or whatever. It’s as if they’ve sucked up the sound of 1976 and reworked it for our modern sensibilities. It’s comfortingly familiar but thrillingly new.

James, the driving creative force of the band, is a happy front man, changing guitars, humbly thanking the crowd for the gift of their adoration, and high-kicking his way through blistering guitar licks. The sound they emitted from the stage seemed way too powerful for the small House of Blues venue. It’s like seeing Pink Floyd play a stadium show in a bar. Guitarist Carl Broemer not only played slide guitar on some songs but busted out a sax during “Dondante” and added his harmonies to James’ soaring falsettos.

[image-2]On their current tour, MMJ have made a point of beginning as close to the advertised start time as possible — doing away with an opening act and playing a two hour set with a 30-minute encore. They worked their way through 25 songs, rewarding long-timers with “Cobra,” “War Begun,” and “Evelyn Is Not Real.” They even had time to play everybody’s favorites from Z, getting a rousing singalong for “Wordless Chorus.” The highlight of the encore, though, was the ridiculously rocking and funky “Highly Suspicious” from Evil Urges. Peanut butter pudding surprise, indeed. —Stephanie Barna

(photos by Stephanie Barna)