Live Review: My Morning Jacket @ Forecastle Festival, Louisville KY (7/18)

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My Morning Jacket performed one of Forecastle Festival’s classic sets in 2012 – a year that the band even curated in partnership with the festival. It was going to be a hard act to follow, but the Louisville natives were clearly up to the challenge.

Their setlist had an interesting approach. They started with “Believe (Nobody Knows)”, not exactly a surprise to anyone. It’s got the arena-rock kinda vibe that’s made for opening sets like this. The first hour or so of the show followed suit with all of the songs you would expect My Morning Jacket to play: “Victory Dance”, “Mahgeetah”, “Off The Record”. And all of these songs were exceptional. It may sound like I’m being critical, but I don’t mean it that way at all. The beginning of the show was satisfying for those who were not deeply connected to the band – it served as a perfect introduction that was also enjoyable for hardcore fans.

But what followed that was really interesting. For a few minutes there was a short intermission, and the set plunged into a more experimental, weirder side full of deep cuts. In this half of the set, My Morning Jacket had the opportunity to serve up songs and ideas that you won’t find at just any My Morning Jacket. I liked the contrast between the two halves, and also thought the transition went over quite well. By that point, anyone who wasn’t sold on the band coming in should have been on board and ready to be humored by whatever strangeness the band had to offer.

The best compliment I have for My Morning Jacket is that they didn’t just satisfy through a 150 minute set, they kept the crowd in the palm of their hands. The crowd was the biggest I had seen at Forecastle since the same band’s headlining set in 2012 and they stayed all the way up until the end at midnight. It was fitting that the band finished with “One Big Holiday”, the song that first used as a tease that they would be performing this year.

You got that right, Mayor. Saturday was one big holiday and My Morning Jacket was reason enough to celebrate.

Check out photos from the set here, and the video below.

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