Gem & Jam Festival is just around the corner, and it wouldn’t earn its name without some incredible jam artists to fill out the lineup.
Jam artists are one of the reasons that the modern-day festival even exists; something about the live instruments, collaboration, and improvisation creates an experience that is unique and exciting no matter how many times you see it. Varying from live instruments we’ve all heard of to instruments we haven’t, the bands put together a one-of-a-kind show that is sure to delight and impress.
It took years for me to give jam bands a proper amount of attention, so I’ve created a list of what makes jam bands unique using artists from this year’s Gem & Jam Festival lineup. If you’re already a jam fan, we can be excited together, and if you’re not yet, I hope to encourage you to attend at least one jam band set this festival. Here is the list of elements that capture the magic of a jam band, and the artists this year who represent it the most.
- Funky Improvisation – The Floozies
Matt and Mark Hill are brothers who have been performing as The Floozies since 2008. They perfectly capture the funky side of things with their guitar and drum rhythms that play perfectly off one another to create an experience that can never fully be predicted. They employ lasers and visual effects to pair with their space funk sound to take all who listen into orbit. Jam bands are notorious for their lengthy improvisation that continues through circling melodies and riffs. It’s easy to see how a listener could feel lost in the music, and The Floozies have a way of bringing a party to space.
- Unique Collections of Live Instruments – DirtWire
Every jam band is the essence of the instruments they bring to the stage. Some are only stringed instruments, some lean more on percussion, but all have a unique sound created by a harmony of instruments. DirtWire tend to specifically bring some of the most unique instruments, some of which have likely never been seen on stage. The last time I saw them perform, they played a hollowed out pumpkin with a neck and strings attached to it. You can never be sure what elements a band will use to achieve their harmonies, but the surprises are part of the enjoyment of it.
- Influenced by the Legends – Talking Dead
All music is inspired from something that paved a path before it, but not every artist recognizes their roots. Even if a jam artist is newer to the scene, you can be sure they understand the legendary artists that came before them. Talking Dead is made up of LDW and Garcia Birthday Band and is a tribute to both the Grateful Dead and the Talking Heads. These two artists are some of the most legendary musicians of all time and even if not explicitly stated, every jam band owes tribute to artists like The Grateful Dead. This will be a unique treat to be able to hear songs and styles from both incredible artists, and they also have listed that there will be guest appearances (another trademark of jam bands). We can’t wait to find out who joins them onstage!
- Genre Eclectic – The String Cheese Incident
This is the first time that Cheese has played at Gem and Jam, but they are well known throughout the music circles for their unforgettable “Incidents” and sold out runs across the country. In the true spirit of improvisation, String Cheese blends every genre you can think of for an entirely unique jam experience. In the numerous times I’ve seen them they’ve played anything from AC/DC to Lady Gaga. They always keep things fresh and exciting with a vast knowledge of all genres, even having large EDM artists out on stage with them. In all the years that they’ve been playing they have never lost touch with their genre roots or the modern music trends. This band truly does it all.
The term “Jam” refers to jamming out, where the group improvises lengthy drawn out riffs and melodies that sweep you into them and don’t let go.
The more jam bands I see, the more understanding I have of how these types of bands have strongly influenced modern-day electronic music. The complex compositions, musical journeys, and genre-defying amalgamation of sound is what makes a live set unparalleled and unforgettable. Gem & Jam has an incredible mix of artists from all styles of music, and it is a perfect opportunity to try something new and find a new appreciation for the art form of music.
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[…] place from February 3-5, 2023, Gem & Jam hosts both a lineup of jam bands and DJs as well as a full workshop schedule offering a variety of experiences. It’s a […]