Review: Jam In The Dam 2010 Pt. 2

Many of the Americans are offered a canal tour with their ticket purchases, and the spots quickly fill on these two-hour, free beer including, herb friendly party cruises well before the festival. More coffee shop visits, a purchase of some chocolope per Yonder Mountain’s Bed Kaufmann’s on-stage suggestion, some exploring, a quick nap and then it is already time to rage the Melkweg again. Night two has the best scheduling on paper, but the entire night is lacking in attendance. One can speculate about the dip in attendance but regardless of the reasoning one thing is certain, there is plenty of dance space tonight.

For those lucky enough to be strolling into the Melkweg at the posted start time, many still may miss a big-time unannounced schedule change. To be fair, it’s not unannounced if posting the changed schedule inside the venue, at the time doors open, counts. Unfortunately, that does not count. Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin’s 30db set was moved from a quarter past ten up to nine. Walking in, all that can be heard is the intoxicating thump of Les Claypool’s bass in the Max, so it is really easy to miss the acoustic set in the next room even when on time.

Regardless of technicalities behind the schedule change, many of the Umphrey’s and Yonder faithful are very unhappy. The schedule change leaves the options at this point in the night as more Les, or the Josh Phillips Folk Festival. Josh Phillips probably plays to no more than 20 people all week, and while his music is certainly fun and enjoyable nothing resonates too much with anyone. Back at Les Claypool even the repeated songs are executed flawlessly. While the set has the same overall feel as the first night, the majority of the crowd still find themselves enjoying the display of technical chops, eccentric songs and even more eccentric banter.

Yonder Mountain String Band is eager to make up for their first night’s letdown, and they come on stage with their usual high-energy, knee slapping, individual brand of bluegrass. The performance is leaps and bounds better than the previous night, but the predominantly European crowd still does not really know what to make of them. Looking on from the balcony one can see who the American Yonder fans are instantly. There is a small group up front having a dance party, then some space, and then further back a bunch of people trying to make something out of what they are seeing with mixed results. At a glance, the crowd looks like a bunch of Americans, but when asked from the stage earlier at Claypool’s show the crowd makes it known that it is mostly European. For those not feeling the bluegrass, our English funk friends The New Mastersounds are less than 100 feet away with another throw down, and their crowd is growing nightly.

For those in attendance who appreciate the twang of the banjo and mandolin there is no reason to go anywhere. Yonder’s set is very on-point and includes many fan favorites such as 40 Miles From Denver, a tasty Ramblin in the Rambler > Mother’s Only Son > Rambler sandwich, and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ No Expectations that segued into Casualty. That last bit is dedicated to the recently injured Jon Gutwillig, guitarist of Jam in the Dam veterans The Disco Biscuits. As great as all of these moments are, the highlight of the set is Dawn’s Early Light segueing into the appropriate Two Hits and the Joint Turns Brown. The juxtaposition of these songs really is a thing of beauty, and it shows just how mature Yonder Mountain can be musically. Non-musically they are still children though, so no worries there. The first night the band makes it known that the Chocolope is in short supply. Night 2 finds the band, most notably Austin and Kaufmann, in search of Cheesiel.

From 1AM until 3:30AM the place slowly becomes emptier, but the energy from the stage will not let up until the last notes are played. Both The Bridge and Umphrey’s McGee play to very vacant rooms, with less than 250 people left in The Max as UM finishes up a great set. While the set is lacking in improv, the band makes up for it with a near perfect setlist including the fan requested When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around (The Police) which features a Comfortably Numb tease/jam.

Leaving the venue on the second night there are two things that stand out. The night’s scheduling needs to be left intact, and it needs to be used on the third night instead of the second. Umphrey’s McGee is the only band capable of giving the festival closing spot justice. Quite simply they are the only band that can make the whole place dance without repeats comprising the bulk of their set. Instead of playing on the last night to a moderately full house they close the night for what ends up being just over 200 people.

Check back tomorrow for the final installment of Jason’s Jam In The Dam 2010 review and photo set. Here’s more pics from day two…

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3 Responses

  1. I was at the Josh Phillips Folk Festival shows and not only were they packed full every night, but they also held the crowd better than any other band in that room. My favorite band of the festival!

  2. from article:

    “The schedule change leaves the options at this point in the night as more Les, or the Josh Phillips Folk Festival. Josh Phillips probably plays to no more than 20 people all week, and while his music is certainly fun and enjoyable nothing resonates too much with anyone.”

    Is the author speaking for EVERY festival goer of Jam in the Dam this year? Because that’s a pretty ridiculous, and UNTRUE, sweeping generalization. The Josh Phillips Folk Festival is a great band first of all, so for the author to say his music doesn’t resonate too much w/anyone is just a completely inappropriate and frankly, silly statement. Also, there was easily WAAAAAY more than 20 people seeing Josh every night. Author, were you at the same festival you’re writing about, Jam in the Dam? Or were you just so high you don’t know what’s going on?

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