My Morning Jacket | Band of Horses August 8, 2012 Peabody Opera House
Jim James does not have hair. He has a mane, and it is his single best asset as a showman. Better than his sleeved cape (his morning jacket, proposes RFT Managing Editor Chad Garrison), better than his drum pad chain, better even than his flying V guitar.
Yes, he can play the hell out of that guitar -- that's one reason he has attained such celebrity and his band has gathered such a devout following. But last night he and his mane proved enormous, a presence so large as to dominate even the truly cavernous stage and bombastic surroundings of the Peabody Opera House.
Across town, the fossilized remains of Slash were more of a Rock God than almost anything else going. Nostalgia is a powerful force and his is a dying breed anyway. But there is Jim James, proving we don't have to rely on the '80s.
Band of Horses is a headliner in nearly every circumstance except this one. In fact, both of these bands held down its own bill last time through St. Louis, both at the Pageant. Still, Band of Horses did not have a line down the block several hours before showtime, as My Morning Jacket did.
Regardless, Band of Horses was no afterthought. Despite its punctual 7 p.m. start time, the band had a solid audience, both in size and enthusiasm. The more contemplative new stuff, which made up most of the middle of the hour-long set, left us in a reverie. Like My Morning Jacket, BoH rarely leaves absolute silence in a song -- there is almost always a hum or wail to keep the room vibrating.
Front man Ben Bridwell turns out to be adorably affable. He introduces his bandmates with kids' show earnestness and, when his guitar fails him during the spectacular "The Great Salt Lake," he chastises it with finger wags and sheepish grins. He graciously receives the crowd's adulation: "The Jacket are in for a real treat." For a moment I thought the roar of applause would actually necessitate the rare opener encore -- the house lights even stayed down for a tantalizing minute or so. But there was a schedule to keep, and the Jacket would need every moment of its time allotment.
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