Jim James Solo Acoustic

After September's DJ/My Morning Jacket/Jim James triple cancellation it was a pleasant surprise to see this re-scheduled solo gig pop up on the MMJ website, particularly as they were about to start a big US tour. Things only got weirder when the chimp contingent got to the venue - above The Enterprise pub in Camden. The room was tiny (around 100-150 max) and totally empty. Doors opened at 7 and we got seats at a Goodfellas-style table, literally right in front of the six inch high stage. The venue was totally empty for ages, and the rumour was that the record label had block booked most of the tickets - presumably for press purposes. That kind of sucked for all the people who kept coming up looking for tickets, but to be fair it did fill right up at nine on the dot, and a couple of desperate fans were invited in for free...

Jim James shuffled on with a keyboard/sample/drum machine type thing (apparantly called an Omnichord), and took off one shoe (making fists with his toes after a long haul flight?). The crowd was hushed instantly as he started off playing only the omnichord, building it up into a layered rhythm before unleashing his amazing voice. The small size of the room and the closeness of the stage meant that half the time he could be heard louder off the mic as he soared and reached all the high notes... always sounding like he should crack, but never even coming close. While the 90-odd minute set was made up of both old classics and a lot of songs from the forthcoming My Morning Jacket album Z there was never a moment when the crowd was less than mesmerised. Seeing one person create such a delicate sound, but still whip up a storming finale for tracks like The Bear, was unforgetable and the sound is still ringing through my mind several days later.

New track Dondante was a particular highlight, given extra poignancy by Jim's introductary explanation of waking from a dream with this song for a dead friend in his mind. The Bear and Bermuda Highway were awesome, as well as newer tracks like Anytime and Off The Record. Covers of Eels' 3 Speed, All The Best by John Prine and Dylan's You're A Big Girl Now finished things off.

After seeing a lot of gigs recently, this was far and a way one of the best. If you don't own any MMJ, please get some. If you do, keep an eye out for this gig as there were rumours of it being taped....