Magnolia Electric Co. just released a superb box set called Sojourner – no less than four discs of music and one DVD. Magnolia main man Jason Molina is one prolific songwriter, and given the fact that all of this was recorded more than a year ago, you have to wonder how much other material he has waiting to be released. Molina and his bandmates put on one of the best shows I’ve seen them do, playing longer than they usually do (a whopping 82 minutes, compared to their typical hour or less), with plenty of fine songs off the box set as well as some old favorites. As they played “Riding With the Ghost,” it struck me again how phenomenal that song is. One of the best songs of the decade? I think so. The lyrics never fail to grab me, and neither does that “oohing” chorus. Molina mentioned that he has moved out of Chicago (just before singing, “It broke my heart to leave the city…”) to London. It’s too bad he isn’t a local guy anymore, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from him.
Opening act Golden Boots put on a pretty decent set. They reminded me of Dr. Dog, without the same sort of cartwheeling energy and a little more shambling, with songs that petered out as the band seemed ot be fishing around for that elusive final chord. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I also thought of Souled American. They’re from Tucson, and I liked them enough that I bought their EP for $5. Sure enough, it’s on Dr. Dog’s label, Park the Van records, and they sound even more like Dr. Dog on their studio recordings, which have a lot more of a ’60s pop vibe.