My Morning Jacket at the LC

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

What ever happened to My Morning Jacket, anyway? Not that they disappeared; the Kentucky twang-thumpers are bigger than ever these days. Rather, I'm referring to a transformation into soft-rock schlock that's at least as severe as what Wilco's been going through.

When I first encountered MMJ in 2003, they were on a bizarre concert bill opening for Foo Fighters and Pete Yorn in Dayton, and they blew both of the better-known acts off the stage. Jim James and company were equally adept at Southern rock shredding ("One Big Holiday") and somber shoegaze folk ("Golden"). I was mighty impressed with how they deftly walked the line between indie rock and jam band, and "It Still Moves" got plenty of spins in subsequent weeks.

By the time 2008's "Evil Urges" rolled around, the frontman had rechristened himself Yim Yames (stupid) and the band had lost its edge (sad), sounding more like they'd be competing for cruise ship gigs with Jimmy Buffett than headlining hipster-friendly music festivals. As if to illustrate the band's artistic trajectory, James literally fell off a stage and suffered a tour-ending injury while promoting the album.

As Jeff Tweedy will tell you, this is what happens when bands get popular, comfortable and old. Perhaps, like Wilco, MMJ still brings it live. If not, at least the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who'll open Sunday's show at the LC, has a sterling reputation.

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, May 2

Where: LC Pavilion, Arena District