My Morning Jacket delivers virtuoso set at the Greek



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Few artists inhabit their music like Jim James, or transfer the euphoria of making it to their live audiences. My Morning Jacket’s two-hour show on Thursday night at the Greek Theatre was a potent display of firepower staged amid smoke and vivid lights that allowed James to both commune in isolation with the adoring crowd and play off the estimable skills of his bandmates.

From the wake-up call of “At Dawn” to the dizzying “War Begun” to the guitar assault of “Smokin From Shootin” to the calamitous finish of “One Big Holiday,” the Louisville quartet careened from tender moments to massive crests, with the hirsute frontman a solemn Buddha one minute and a possessed dervish the next. It was borderline mystical.

What it wasn’t, however, was overpowering, owing to the noise limitations at the Greek. At one point, a section of fans halfway up the Greek began chanting “Turn it up!” – they would have to settle for fair-to-partly loud, and stunning visually.

As openers, youthful Long Beach rockers Avi Buffalo opened and struggled mightily to carry the cavernous Greek, and even allowing for the venue, their performance lacked the sizzle and passion of their pre-summer L.A. shows. Frontman Avi Zahner-Isenberg is still a guitar prodigy, but the departure of singer-keyboardist Rebecca Coleman – the band has added a guitarist and saxophonist and performed as a five-piece – seems to have fouled the chemistry.