Review: My Morning Jacket knows how to jam

LINCOLN — My Morning Jacket knows how to get into a groove.

The Kentucky-bred band played a mix of rock styles Tuesday night that had its audience dancing — or swaying, at minimum — for nearly its entire show at the Pinewood Bowl outdoor amphitheater here.

Though better known for its psychedelic leanings, My Morning Jacket also has a Southern rock groove fed by its thumping rhythm section. Blues guitar and a quirky, indie-style sensibility feed into the band’s songs, too.

All curls and swirling hair, frontman Jim James looked like an eccentric lead singer as huggable as a teddy bear one moment and a shredding rock guitar god the next.

“Doesn’t it feel like summer camp in the woods?” James asked as he looked out on the venue.

Later, James headbanged and played blistering guitar riffs while the band jammed and filled the amphitheater with sound.

Pinewood Bowl is a scenic, near-perfect outdoor venue. The green lawn, surrounded by tall pine trees, slopes down to a large stage.

My Morning Jacket, which extended the length of many songs by rocking through long jam sessions, put the sound system to the test. The pines seemed to contain the sound without letting it bounce around a lot.

Band of Horses’ down-home sound fed well into My Morning Jacket’s set. Songs such as “The Great Salt Lake” and “The Funeral” had a similarly folky feel to the headliner’s set.

“You’re in for a great treat,” Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell said as he left the stage. He was right.

My Morning Jacket played a few songs from its 2011 album, “Circuital,” including the title track and “Holdin’ On to Black Metal,” but the band also mixed in plenty of old material such as fan favorites “Off the Record” and “I’m Amazed.”

I’m not one that’s prone to love bands jamming, but My Morning Jacket did it well. The band’s musical meanderings felt very organic, as if they were part of the songs to begin with. Too often, a full-band jam session sounds forced and self-indulgent, but it wasn’t that way on Tuesday.

The thousands gathered — many sipping silo cans of beer and sporting vintage clothes — danced a whole lot during the slower tunes. During the more fully rocking songs, they jumped and screamed and raised their fists.

A fun moment came when the band played an acoustic cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” The song was a good fit for My Morning Jacket, which added acoustic guitar, pedal steel and vocal harmonies to the classic song.

My favorite moments came during the encore, which included “Victory Dance,” “Wordless Chorus” and a crazy, crashing version of “One Big Holiday.”

The encore was a chance for the band to show off all of its styles from shredding to slowly swooning.

After more than two hours, My Morning Jacket was done. The fans, ever-grateful, didn’t look as if they could handle much more after the energetic finale. James thanked them all.

“Some of my favorite people in the world are from Nebraska,” James said. “God bless you for spending the night with us tonight.”

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