Monsters Of Folk at Orpheum Theater

Monsters Of Folk is Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, and M. Ward of himself. I saw it at the gorgeous Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. It has been around since 1929, and use to host vaudeville acts. Here are some pictures. All the members of the band where dressed in suits, and much of the show the crowd sat for. The atmosphere was “Professional”. Given the young hipster age of the crowd, this may have been a bit unusual for them. Most of the time I felt like Monsters Of Folk were saying “we’re the modern vanguard of exceptional artistic indie-rock music”, and rightfully so for the most part. It was a very serious, quiet affair, until the last 7 or so songs where the band “kicked out the jams” a little. And, finally the crowd rose to its feet. After each song, the lights would go dark, and you’d often find one less or one more member of the band on the stage when the lights came up. They would do a M.O.F. song or two, then a few M. Ward songs and then a few Bright Eyes songs, etc etc. It was a very seamless transition. The band can play, and the sound was just about the cleanest, most professional sound I’ve heard during a concert. There wasn’t a bad note, mic feedback, or misstep to be found. Jim James truly has one the the most beautiful male singing voices I’ve ever heard live, and I’m thrilled they played “Golden” by My Morning Jacket. M. Ward can play guitar like a motherfucker, which he made plain with opening song “Man Named Truth”, a Monsters Of Folk song. And, I’ve never been big on Conor Oberst, but live his tortured, cracked emotional singing takes on a resonance that I grew to appreciate more. The highlight for me was “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)”, which was even more sensual live. Those trip hop beats and harp sample are undeniably sexy. Which is saying something, because these are not sexy dudes. This is likely a once in a lifetime thing, so I’m very glad I went.

This is a pretty good quality video of the song.

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