I love theme nights. Apparently, so does Jim James.
When My Morning Jacket performed in Athens, GA, last year they hosted an ‘under the sea’ prom (Paste staffers bought 80s prom garb for the occassion), so I don’t know why I was surprised to find a Hawaiian-themed ACL stage for MMJ’s performance. Throughout the weekend bands made the stages their own with custom backdrops and sets. While Bloc Party opted for a black backdrop with “Bloc Party” in white typeface, MMJ brought us to a palm tree-laden Hawaiian beach, complete with actress/model hula dancers. James wore a long blonde wig throughout the set, which was almost as strange as watching one actress/model hula dancer hold a pineapple over her head for most of the set.
“Mahgeetah” was the opening track and I heard it from across the festival grounds. It sent me running in flip-flops (bad idea, very impractical) across the fields to the set. Other songs in the set: “One Big Holiday,” “Wordless Chorus,” “Off the Record,” and a number of tracks I can’t name without my iPod in front of me. The sound was a bit off at the beginning, leaving the songs literally wordless, as James’ mic cut out.
And as Andrew Bird promised, he made an appearance with MMJ, playing violin in front of the beach scene. That was a treat, especially since I missed Bird’s full set performance on Saturday (though every time I see Bird now I want to yell “Mr. Strings!!!”)
Though I chose MMJ over Wilco (who I saw at Bonnaroo), the XMU Satellite Radio gods were kind to me and replayed Wilco’s live set in its entirety later in the night, including Tweedy’s banter:
“Are you guys throwing tortillas?… crazy!… and underwear? Green underwear?”
Thank you, XMU.