One has to have all the respect in the world for Les Claypool, the man is one of the most unique and talented people to ever pick up a bass, but he was very out of place at this festival. As Les battled through a stomach illness and ripped up his bass quite efficiently at the same time, you couldn’t help but appreciate the darkness and sense of humor he brought to the stage.
While Les is popular in Europe, his repeat-heavy sets and European tour leading up to the festival seemed to kill all incentive for European fans to travel to see him. During the very extended drum jam many people chose to walk over from the larger of the two venues, the 1,500 person capacity The Max, to the 750 person The Oude Zaal to check out Baltimore’s The Bridge. Translated to The Old Hall, this tiny venue hosted all of the smaller acts of the weekend and at times was the place to be for the real party. The Old Hall acts are the surprises of the festival for many, leading many to choose them over the technically superior Les Claypool or Yonder Mountain. Both the Bridge and the New Mastersounds left Amsterdam with a few hundred new fans a piece.
The first night ended with a very low energy set from Yonder Mountain String Band. Yonder is another incredible band that just seemed out of place in Amsterdam. They themselves were very much right at home in Amsterdam, but their style of music was not. They could not be more out of place in the closing spot of this festival, but if they have to close a night out it is good that it was the first. That way bands with more of a pulse and danceable feel took the later time slots as the week progressed.
Most of the people in the Max didn’t know how to react to Bluegrass, and the already sparsely filled room quickly became even emptier. While many people decided to leave for the night, a few others found themselves glued to the dance floor by Northern England’s funk band, The New Mastersounds. At one point, the band mentioned that they were afraid to stop playing because they were worried that everyone would just drop to the floor. They were pretty accurate in this assessment, and by 3:30 in the morning everyone still in the venue was completely wiped out.
Check back tomorrow around this time for the second part of Jason’s Jam In The Dam review and photo set.
Here’s a gallery of Jason’s shots from day one…