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My Morning Jacket, w/ Joshua James, at Twilight Concert Series; interview with MMJ & James

Published August 1, 2012 6:18 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Generally considered one of the best live bands of its generation, Louisville rock band My Morning Jacket will perform for the first time in Utah in five years Thursday.The band is headlining the fifth installment of the Salt Lake City Arts Council's Twilight Concert Series, which despite charging $5 for the first time in its quarter-century history, has drawn more than 20,000 concertgoers to Pioneer Park the past two weeks.Thursday's show marks the start of My Morning Jacket's new tour leg in support of its 2011 album "Circuital," and in a Tribune interview My Morning Jacket's keyboard player Bo Koster said the band will debut a new lighting system at the Salt Lake City show, as well as beginning the first tour based around a concept the band calls its "Spontaneous Curation Series.""We've worked out all of the kinks," Koster said Wednesday about the "Spontaneous Curation Series." "We want to make the tour's shows special and unique for everyone."The "Spontaneous Curation Series" allows its fan club members and concertgoers to help determine some of the band's set list each night. (See sidebar for details.) "We want to show everyone the full breadth of the band," said Koster, alluding that any song from the band's six albums is fair game.With the new lighting design, Twilight Concert Series founder and director Casey Jarman said Thursday's production will be the largest in the series' history."{The visuals] are always something we've cared about," Koster said. "We always want to make the stage unique. It's another way to be creative."Despite the buzz, ticket sales for this concert have been relatively soft compared to the previous two weeks' installments, said Dustin Hansen, general manager of Graywhale Entertainment. Graywhale will be selling tickets at its six locations from 10 a.m, to 5 p.m. Thursday.Hansen estimated that a total of 1,500 tickets will be sold by the end of Thursday. However, walk-in traffic has always provided the bulk of the audiences; Nas on July 19 drew more than 24,000 (with 3,200 tickets being sold through Graywhale) and Band of Horses on July 26 attracted more than 20,000 (with 2,200 tickets sold through Graywhale).The slow rate of sales has been puzzling, Hansen admitted. "This is the one I thought would be a knock-out," he said. But the people who have bought tickets are the most excited he's seen so far this summer, he said.The addition of American Fork-based folk-rocker Joshua James as opening act has also attracted attention from James' sizable Utah fan base, Hansen said. The show will mark the first time James will be selling his forthcoming album, James said in a phone interview.Jarman said he had been trying to book My Morning Jacket for many years. "This was the first show I booked," he said. "I couldn't be happier."My Morning Jacket was created in 1998 in Louisville, Kentucky by singer, songwriter and guitarist Jim James, and in 2003 the band released its major-label debut "It Still Moves." Noted for its diversity of styles, the band ranges from psychedlic rock 'n' roll foot-stompers to more reflective, folk-based songs. The hirsute James is the focal point of the quintet, with an airy voice that often reaches a falsetto drenched in reverb. While it is now a headliner despite having no radio airplay or chart-topping hits to speak of, the band has become known for its long, intense live shows while touring alongside Pearl Jam and Neil Young. One concert lasted four hours.Tonight's show, Koster said, will be at least two hours long.This coming Friday, My Morning Jacket will headline two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, with ticket prices ranging from $53.35 to $60.50.In comparison, $5 doesn't sound too bad.

Twilight Concert SeriesMy Morning Jacket with Joshua JamesWhen • Thursday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m.Where • Pioneer Park, 300 W. 300 South, Salt Lake CityTickets • $5 at Graywhales until 5 p.m.; $5 at gate

My Morning Jacket will begin the first full tour of its "Spontaneous Curation Series," letting fan club members and concertgoers assist them in selecting each night's set list through Twitter. The series will also feature the band mining all of their studio recorded albums and rarities, adding to the spontaneity and uniqueness each night Via Twitter, @mymorningjacket will send out tweets before every performance with further instructions on how to submit songs for encores at each show. As the band begins making their set list each night, they will choose a collection of songs based on all the entries. Follow @mymorningjacket for further details and announcements on how to participate in the "Spontaneous Curation Series."

Joshua James info:

It's a rare event when a local musician performs at Pioneer Park's wildly popular Twilight Concert Series, but American Fork-based folk-rocker Joshua James will open for My Morning Jacket in one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer. "It was a mighty shock," James said in a phone interview about getting the call for the booking. "It's a little nerve-wracking." While his songs have recently been featured prominently on the popular TV show "Sons of Anarchy," James is looking forward to releasing his new album, "From the Top of Willamette Mountain," in October, but he'll be selling the new CD at his Twilight show. James has attended past Twilight Concerts and is happy with the new admission fee, because in past years the park "gets way too packed with shenanigan-makers." Then he paused and said he wanted as many people as possible to see him perform. "Let's make ours free," he said. Sorry, no go.