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Concert recap: My Morning Jacket at Champions Square

Having a show in an outdoor space always comes with the possibility of running in to some environmental hurdles. New Orleans is by no means an exception to this rule.

Fortunately NOLA's notoriously fickle summer weather cooperated -- with a manageable temperature, yet a cloudless sky -- this past Friday for My Morning Jacket's performance at Champions Square.

Lucius, a five piece indie pop/folk band from Brooklyn, New York, opened for MMJ. The band consists of Jess Wolfe (lead vocals and synth), Holly Laessig (lead vocals and keys), Dan Molad (drums and vocals), Peter Lalish (guitar and vocals) and Andrew Burri (guitar, drums, and vocals). Wolfe and Laessig -- who doned matching yellow frocks and sunglasses that would have made Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka jealous -- delivered wonderfully blended harmonies, setting the evening off to a confident start.

The main act, My Morning Jacket, is an American rock/alternative folk band from Louisville, Kentucky. The band consists of Jim James (singer-songwriter, guitarist), Tom 'Two-Tone Tommy' Blankenship (bassist), Patrick Hallahan (drummer), Carl Broemel (guitarist, pedal steel guitarist, saxophonist, vocalist) and Bo Koster (keyboardist, percussionist, vocalist). Of this current lineup, only two members, Blankenship and Hallahan have been with the band since its inception in 1998. Spanning seven albums, the band’s set was diverse, though particularly focused on this year’s release, The Waterfall and Z.

The set consisted of several pleasantly surprising choices -- for instance playing one of their most popular tunes off of Z, “Off the Record,” second in their set, as well as delivering “Evelyn Is Not Real,” (from The Tennessee Fire album), a song which the band has only played twice on their current tour. Perhaps the most striking feature of MMJ is the equity with which they play -- no single member outshining any of the others, all performing together in a The band believes in highlighting the talents of all those that play, but manage to do so in an organically blended fashion.

View an extended gallery here.

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.