After My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James took us on a psychedelic journey with his mystic solo set at SXSW back in March, we were expecting greatness from our favorite purple three-piece-suit wearing rocker at Hangout Music Fest. Well, be careful what you wish for, because J.J. blew our freaking minds during his set on day one of the three-day Gulf Shores, Alabama festival.
The 80 degree temps on the shore where James rocked a nine-song set on Hangout’s main stage didn’t temper his explosive performance in the least. In true legendary fashion, James jumped from Flying V solos, to drum bad-assery, to some beach sax during a performance that comprised tracks off his album Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, including “A New Life” and “Of the Mother Again,” and a medley of Monsters of Folk tunes.
Only the occasional subtle toweling of his famous curls between instrumental breaks let on that James was even remotely fazed by the weather. He’s clearly got that hair to heat ratio thing down, so we asked James to give hairy guys everywhere tips on how to survive “sweater” weather before he took the stage for his hour-long plus set. His advice? “Let nature take its course” is the Jim James way.
All the tips in the world couldn’t save that famous purple suit from being drenched nearly black with sweat from neck to knees by James’ set-closing cover of New Multitudes’ “Changing World.” But James’ uncompromising commitment to his style was clearly worth the dry-cleaning bill. As four-year Hangout veteran, and MMJ fan, Jerry told us afterward, “You won’t see a better show than that. ” And we’re just get. Suck it, flip-flops!