Jim James at McCaw Hall with My Morning Jacket. Photo by Chris Kornelis.
As I mentioned on Monday, I was a bit put off by the amount of prerecorded vocals piped in behind Jim James at My Morning Jacket's McCaw Hall show on Saturday. This was only my second MMJ show, though, so I decided to call an expert in for his two cents. Jason M. is the man behind The Steam Engine, a site dedicated to, among other things, MMJ. I'll defer to Jason for the rest of this post:
"I have been seeing MMJ since 2006 and ever since then the band has been using prerecorded vocals. I would not say that he "leans" on them though, the prerecorded vocals are really just another instrument in the song. "Steam Engine" "Highly Suspicous" "Run Thru" and the list goes on. What I like about them is that it gives their raw live experience a studio-esque polish that really shines without encroaching on the live experience. I think they add a genuine dynamic to a My Morning Jacket concert. The other guys do sing backup at times but when there is an epic segment to a song they que the backup vocals to really enhance the performance. Have you ever listened to Metallica S&M with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra? The Orchestra can be compared to the prerecorded backing vocals; its adds a richer, fuller sound in the out-of-studio forum that is a live show. I hope this explains my thoughts on the subject! "