Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Five Oregon Jambands I'm Most Excited About Seeing

Before I list the five Oregon bands that I'm most excited about seeing, I'd like to list ten bands that I would have been excited about seeing almost 25 years ago.

In 1999 I moved from Richmond, VA to Longmont, CO. Longmont is near Boulder and also not far away from Denver or Fort Collins. Music was thriving in Colorado at that time, and I'm sure it still is. At any point during the year 2000, my list of ten favorite bands to see live would have likely been these ten acts:

Phish, moe., String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Dark Star Orchestra, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (or just Sector 9 back then), The Big Wu, Strangefolk, and Ween.

This is still a few years before I would learn about My Morning Jacket. Anyway, except for Ween this is a pretty jamband-centric list. Before long I ended up moving back to Virginia and have the spent the last 20+ years here.

Of the above mentioned groups, the only local-to-Colorado bands were Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band, with YMSB being the most local of the three. When I first began seeing the Jeff Austin-led Yonder in October 1999, the jamgrass quartet was only about a year old and still playing small local venues such as Wolf Tongue in Nederland, Mountain Sun in Boulder, and Oskar Blues in Lyons. Good times. 

Now it's now all over again, and with a move to the PDX metro area just a few weeks away, these are the five young Oregon bands I am most excited about seeing!:

Spunj -
To me Spunj sounds like they are at Eggy or Magic Beans level. Maybe even better! Spunj kicks ass and I can't wait to see them live.

Bodhi Mojo - Earthy and hippie with an emphasis on song structure. Their annual campout festival looks great!

Yak Attack - Instrumental organic jam. Might take me back to the days of seeing Sector 9 at Tulagi in Boulder.

Lost Ox - Maybe the most psychedelic of this bunch.

Shafty - Portland's own Phish cover band.

These five are all different breeds of jambands, and most seem to embrace that identity. Spunj is actually from Eugene but I'm willing to make an overnight out of it if necessary. 

Things are different now than they were 25 years ago. For one thing I'm 50 years old and much less likely to stay out late on a weeknight, much less a weekend. A couple beers at a walking distance from home brewery and in bed by 9pm is more my style now. But I'm hoping to find some of that same youthful energy that I had back in Colorado all those years ago so that I can check out these bands in their natural environments. 

Being near Portland will also offer the opportunity to see touring acts in a brand new setting. For example, Jake Xerxes Fussell at Mississippi Studios in Portland. Other music-oriented hangouts include The Goodfoot, The Get Down, Laurelthirst Public House, The Landmark Saloon, various McMenamins branded places, and the Phish-themed Tomorrow's Verse brewery. 

Lots to check out!

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