With a belly full of Yuengling and Italian sausage, myself and a fellow fridge editor made our way into the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion located in downtown Columbus, Ohio this past Sunday evening. Our spirits immediately climbed from the bottom of the weekend well and were lifted to a level of excitement only reachable through live music. Knowing MMJ to always put on a high energy show and being anxious to hear Band of Horses live for the first time, was shaping our night up for success simply by entering the venue.
Speaking of the venue, Sunday also marked my first experience at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. The 4,500 max capacity outdoor amphitheater was packed by the time MMJ hit the stage. Concert goers can easily find a spot in the grassy lawn, but making an attempt to settle into the pit can get hairy. With a bottle neck entrance in the front and only one exit on the backside of the lawn, I wasn’t incredibly fond of the overall venue set-up. That being said, the crowd was cordial and manageable to traverse out of the pit during my singular bathroom and Jameson excursion. Friends were being made, birthdays were being celebrated, and cigs were being bummed—all good things.
Being on time for the doors opening was never in question with Band of Horses kicking things off. The lawn was also never an option, seeing as I was going to need their harmonies up close and personal for my virgin ears. Always one to be skeptical of harmonies live versus in a studio, I’ll be the first to admit I was nervous for the Horses. While I wasn’t overly familiar with the first three songs in their set, I was impressed from the start. Then when they got into a run consisting of “No One’s Gonna Love You” > “The Great Salt Lake” > “Ode to LRC” > “The Funeral,” said nerves were SQUASHED! Harmonies were above par and I found little to no flaws in their instrumental abilities as well. ”Is There A Ghost” and “Detlef Schrempf” left me just as speechless, but the big lesson from their twelve song set was that I have homework to do. Hearing songs I enjoyed live (“NW Apt.” & “Islands on the Coast”) but weren’t clear stand outs off their respective albums tells me I wasn’t listening closely enough!
With a couple of Jameson refills, my buddy and I reunited and claimed our spot for My Morning Jacket roughly 10 yards from the center stage. The fellas came out to roaring ovation and opened a twenty two song set with “Heartbreakin Man,” the lead track from their 1999 debut album The Tennessee Fire, yet another first live listen for myself. From the moment the first beat dropped Yim’s falsetto was in full force, per usual. I’m always left in disbelief with Yim’s ability to nail high notes in songs like “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” or “Holdin On To Black Metal,” leaving the crowd in an awe struck trance afterwards. Energy was peaking early as “Holdin On To Black Metal” punched everyone in the gut three tracks in (Jameson was cashed after this one).
Midway through their set, the boys snuck in two covers—”Tyrone” (the Erykah Badu cover they have mastered and dare I say surpassed her original) and one of Carl Broemel’s solo tracks “Carried Away.” Carl’s lead vocal proved to everyone that Yim isn’t the only MMJ band member afraid of going after some high notes. The message behind “Carried Away” is one that I’m sure the majority of the audience could relate, “Don’t get carried away in the past, it’s not there / Don’t get carried away in the past, it’s not fair.”
A six track encore consisting of Yim Yames solo, doing “Hopefully” to kick it off, and parts 1 & 2 of “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream” as the opposite bookend left the crowd feeling like they’d got their monies worth. But the boys weren’t quite finished yet, feeding off the crowd’s energy, they came out for a second and final single song encore with “Steam Engine.” Letting us down easy for the first couple minutes, only to have drummer Patrick Hallahan grind through a solo unlike anything I’d ever heard from him in over five live shows I’ve seen. He really is serves as the glue behind Yim and Carl’s genius.
Those close to me know, I was in dire need of a solid live music event this past Sunday evening. Not only did Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket deliver, they exceeded expectations in squashing the perfidious Sunday Night Blues! Can’t wait to see both of these HEADLINING acts again.