On June 17th, 2008 I drove to Montreal and joined all my friends at a My Morning Jacket show in a weird room called Le National. Despite the fact that almost everyone I know falls somewhere between liking MMJ and being absolutely bonkers for them, I just do not get it. So this was yet another in what will prove to be a seemingly endless series of concerts that I attended in an attempt to become a fan.
I remember encountering the band outside behind the venue smoking cigarettes before the show. I made a joke, they laughed. Inside I bellied up to the bar and sized up the place. The front of the venue was a small, narrow room that served as the bar. Through a door at the back of the bar was the room MMJ (as the cool kids call them) would be playing in; a proper theatre that was small and quite nice.
And unlicensed. No drinks allowed through the door that separated the two rooms..
We were all packed into the theatre when the show began and after two or three chunks of thick, grinding alt-rock I was off to the bar to busy my idle drinking hand. I spent the next forty minutes bouncing between the bar and the band before the bar won out. It was an outcome that was rather inevitable, and I’ll freely admit the band didn’t have much of a chance. I had a good time overall and enjoyed quick visits with my rabid MMJ-head friends when they would duck into the bar for a quick libation. Aside from the alt-thumping coming from the doorway at the back of the room the band became a non-entity – to me it was just another night out at a bar.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I’m happy just to be there for the party.