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My Morning Jacket “Okonokos: The Concert” DVD Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

The DVD begins and the world is transformed, a first person experience as a man with a mission, on an evening like no other, a socialites dream somewhere in a mansion in the deep South. An estate lost in the backwoods, one which you arrive to as your horse drawn buggy calmly smoothes its speed to a gentle stop. As you prance up the stairs that lead to the house’s entrance you are greeted by the doorman, who awakens as you dance towards him, generously opening the door for you, welcoming you to the evening in all its grandeur. Inside the gathering room you are greeted with a fancy of the elite surrounded by the finest of defeated animal pelts, hides and mounts. You begin to make your way from one side to the next, each side greeting you with less and less generous acceptance. As the frowns elevate each attendees nose to a point where you no longer feel the slightest bit welcome you notice a llama that has also joined the party.

The others don’t seem to take notice as you lead the llama out of the room, out of the house and towards the dreary swamp that surrounds much of the bordering woods. As you are drawn closer and closer, you hear bass thumping and the sound of a large crowd. The llama grunts as the two of you enter the bright light, the bright light of a concert in the woods, a concert being performed by My Morning Jacket. As the performance begins one is left to ponder, as a viewer of this odd introduction, whether its creators have either an abnormal level creativity or an uncanny supply of drugs. I don’t believe that it would be out of place to suggest that there is a little bit of truth to both of those questions.

“Wordless Chorus” opens the show with a tremendous feeling of presence that is cast from not simply the band but the entire showcase that is being presented, the set, the stage and the lighting, all provoking a sense of patient urgency from the crowd. All the while you, the mustachioed man in the top hat, still accompany the llama in the crowd, though your presence still makes little to no sense to anyone around you, but the music goes on.

Throughout Jim James and company wade through their lengthy catalogue, bouncing between obvious crowd favorites and the occasionally lost, oft-empty jams. Sometimes with saxophones, sometimes with raging Kentucky hair-jams, My Morning Jacket seems a little unsure as to which direction it looks to go though the crowd justly loves every second of it. Seasoned fans will love the visual accompaniment to the double disc audio set of the same name, but will find a few key discrepancies in the set list.

The man, top hat still intact, leads the llama out of the light, and back through the dark forest as the concert comes to a close. As the dusk settles they are mauled by a bear which kills the man and frightens the townspeople. Despite the music, the allure of the band’s unfashionable roots-based fans and the unique stage setting this still makes no sense. Be warned, this is Okonokos.