My Morning Jacket Keep It Tight At Williamsburg Park

As far as outdoor venues go, Williamsburg Park is a fine place to see a show. Not as nice as Ye Olde Williamsburg Waterfront a few feet away (too much concrete, not enough natural greenery) but on a good day there's a nice breeze and food from the Meat Hook, and it's an easy walk to a ton of bars (the beer lines here are a fiasco).

But there were reasons to worry about My Morning Jacket's show there this past weekend. The venue has a by all accounts a strict 10 p.m. curfew and noise limits. My Morning Jacket are known for doing four-hour sets that sound like a hurricane of reverb-slathered vocals and guitar solos. 

At the risk of getting too Jack White,  sometimes limitations aren't the worst things. My Morning Jacket are a great live band, known for stretching a song out from "awesome" to "holy wow awesome" with intense riffing and adventurous breakdowns. But sometimes they can stretch things out a bit too much, and even their tightest songs can get a tacked on meandering outro. By sticking to a tight two hour and fifteen minute limit, the Kentucky group limited themselves to one overly jammed song, the setlist staple "Run Thru," which certainly seemed to last half a year.

The rest of the night was the band at their most concise, powering through "Circuital" and "Smoke From Shooting" with just enough additional instrumental flare. This being My Morning Jacket, they also threw in a few curve balls for fans, including a lovely/eerie acoustic take on early number "I Will Be There When You Die" (it's a sweeter song than the title would imply) and a cover of George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" that took the song in to a cleansing psychedelic climax, and a country fried shuffle through of Prince's "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man."

As for the supposed noise limits? Well, my wife mentioned she could hear the show from our apartment (I live five minutes from the venue) so apparently some limits are still meant to be tested.

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