Monsters of Folk, Auditorium Theater, Chicago, 10-30-09

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Monsters of Folk, Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, 10-30-09 by That Guy,www.hearya.com “It was held at the beautiful Auditorium Theater in the heart of downtown Chicago. Jim James was even taken aback by the beauty of the venue, quipping that the rainbow-shaped lights overhead were “what it looks like when you die and go to heaven” before easing into a gorgeous rendition of Bermuda Highway with Will Johnson (of Centro-matic, who handled drums for the evening). The guys evenly dispersed solo efforts with full-band efforts as well as songs from the Monsters of Folk album with songs from previously released albums. They even kept things interesting by trading off verses on songs from their better-known bands. The setlist was pretty varied, keeping fans of the individuals engaged throughout the 2.5+ hour set. My biggest complaint here was the amount of time Oberst spent on stage – I’m just not a fan. He had the most solo songs, perhaps because Mike Mogis accompanied him on stage for most and they wanted to make sure he got some well-deserved props. Highlights of the night were a soulful version of Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.), a rocking Whole Lotta Losin’, plus Golden, Smokin’ From Shootin’, Chinese Translation, and Vincent O’Brien. M. Ward’s guitar-playing prowess was ever-evident – even prompting someone to comically yell “Why you so good!?” during a quiet moment between Ward’s solos. But Jim James was the standout for me – each song he played was incredible, his energy was phenomenal, and his singing was other-worldly.”

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