My Morning Jacket w/ Fruit Bats @ SB Bowl 10/11
What can I say, this last Sunday was beyond mind-boggling thanks to My Morning Jacket & Fruit Bats gracing the Santa Barbara Bowl with their eclectic presence. As i’ve mentioned before, the SB Bowl is one of my favorite things about where I live, if not #1. Let Your Ears Decide has been fortunate enough to shoot at the bowl a handful of times this season, but this time around, I (Emz) would be shooting instead of Sasha. Needless to say, I was equal parts nervous and ecstatic to witness a concert from “the opposite side of the barrier.” It wasn’t just any other concert, it was Fruit Bats and MY MORNING JACKET. You heard me. Fruit Bats (yes the band from Chicago that went on hiatus a few years ago, but they’re back and better than ever) opened the evening right as the sun started to set, which I consider the golden hour. Why, you ask? It’s the period of time where you truly experience the visual transformation of the bowl and the intimacy is at its highest. Eric D. Johnson and the rest of FB supplied the folk-rock vibes that allowed everyone to get in the right mindset for the remainder of the night. Hey Fruit Bats, it’s nice to have you guys back. Fruit Bats currently on tour supporting MMJ, but afterwards will be playing a handful of dates with Joan Shelley, grab your tickets for both rounds of shows here!While a handful of individuals and I waited in the photo pit for the headliner(s) to take the stage, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the surrounding voices inches behind me. These weren’t just your everyday conversations from a couple of Joes. These were interactions exchanged between die-hard fans that instantly formed a bond between the individuals who were complete strangers 5 minutes prior. Some were younger, and most were slightly older than myself, but spoke in large numbers of the MMJ shows they’ve attended among other moments that immediately made my ears perk up in excitement. (For once, I didn’t feel like I was the only one who’s ever let loose in a conversation due to the enthusiasm that I embodied inside about an artist/act with someone I’ve only known for 10 minutes.) This tour was titled “The Waterfall Tour” in support of the band’s first album in 4 years titled The Waterfall (via ATO Records) which is a body of work that stretches in ways the previous records didn’t. MMJ fans hadn’t felt a drought for that long though, lead vocalist & guitarist Jim James released his first solo album Regions of Light And Sound Of God back in 2013. Needless to say, there was quite an appetite present from those who were on the opposite side of the barrier, yet remained respectful and content until it was showtime.There’s truly something unique about the way Jim James carried himself that night that gives me the chills whenever I attempt to thoroughly describe his presence. This is old news to many of you who’ve ever watched them perform live or via interview that you may have read/watched somewhere. I’ll keep it simple: Jim James is truly a virtuoso when it comes to music in a way that has an everlasting affect on you, whether you were a fan or not. Was I intrigued by his wicked outfit (if you wouldn’t mind lending me that silk cloak Jim that would be rad) or the fact that his sunglasses didn’t move a centimeter as he swung his curly hair around the stage while knocking out hits from The Waterfall as if they’ve been playing them for years. Not to say that I was ever in doubt about the concert, but I never imagined my experience with My Morning Jacket would ever go the distance that it did last Sunday evening. While wrapping up the first song of the night “Believe (Nobody Knows)”, the legend himself made his way right towards me and at that moment time stopped. Could it be that I was the only female in the pit or the fact that my hair was tied up in two sloppy buns? I’ll never now,. After the first 3 songs I finally turned around to finally capture the environment behind me, and I couldn’t help but think “wow, this is real life.” My Morning Jacket is more colossal than a “jam band” and larger than life. Do yourself a favor and see them live (and if you already have, then keep doing what you’re doing because you’re doing it well.) It may or may not change your life, but I’ll be the spoiler – i’m just letting you know the former will take place. Grab The Waterfall on iTunes here.My pre-show jitters were replaced with feeling intrigued and overall inspired from what my eyes had just absorbed. Next time you find yourself driving north/southbound on the 101, make a pit stop to see a show (but not between the months of November-March as when that is the Santa Barbara Bowl is closed.) Who knows, you might just find your favorite venue that you never thought existed. As always, thank you to Jessica Puchli and Nederlander Concerts for making this happen! I don’t think I’ve ever had a more inspiring Sunday then I did that day.