Sunday October 18, 2009 / 7:30pmAn Evening With Monsters of Folk
How was your experience?
Pick up was at will-call, and we arrived and parked at 7:20. The Greek seats 5700, and was only about half-capacity. The lines at will call were atrocious - we waited about 20 minutes before getting our tix. They went on stage exactly at 730 and had already blasted through at least 5 songs by the time we sat down. Overall, the show was well-done. The crowd was polite, subdued, a little sleepy, but generally fit the mood pretty well. The band mixed a lot of their own work with the better songs on the album, so we got a nice showcase night of music. Jim James is by far the most experienced and confident musician on the stage. He soothed through "Look At You", and some early MMJ stuff. The band wavered between songs in their catalogue, Bright Eyes played a few, M. Ward, smokey voiced and whispered his stuff, but James was by far the highlight performer. "Smokin' From Shootin' " took the show to a different plane, reminiscent of what MMJ is capable of doing live. While MOF can't compare to the transcendance of MMJ's live performance, the band did a great job of supporting Jim's roaring guitar solos. Conor Oberst even chimed in on a verse while he plinked away on the piano. He spent a lot of time swapping spots with Ward on the keys, while James switched between his Les Paul and a Rickenbacker bass. At points it sounded like James' amp wasn't miked, because it cut through the acoustic set and filled out the venue's ambience with a distinct reverb you normally wouldn't notice on a direct mic. The drummer had some trouble keeping time with his foot pedal, and there were moments when I could distinguish the thumps from the bass. They have a lot of upside as a group, but I think they need to let James and Oberst take it in their direction. I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5. Wish I had the setlist, but don't.