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Discussion of the Day 02/11/05 - "Us vs Them"


MarcO
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There is no doubt that, as participants of a message board that focuses on "jambands" we are, most of us, a reflection of the "jamband" culture, with all that entails in regards to philosophy, aesthetics and our place in the larger world.

I often read passing comments around here that suggests there is, or should be, a dividing line between "them" and "us". "Them" being parallel tribes of people who are interested in, say, pop music, dance club culture, "easy" rock or any number of attributes. The underriding notion here is that these people and their cultures pose a threat to our supposedly "alternative" culture and its music and should therefore be, at best, ignored or, at worst, marginilized and subjected to an inflated sense of righteous judgment.

  • Do you feel this way?
    Does it really bother you that a bar may have a band with 50 people in attendance while the dance club next door has over 500 people passing through the doors?
    Are those people wrong to attend that club?
    Do you feel this scene is strong and reslient, or is it fragile and therefore should be protected?
    Is pop music a threat to either your "scene" or personal identity?
    Is having a succesful recording career (and earning a lot of money along the way) necessarily shallow, manipulative and evil?
    Is it vain to be clean, well-groomed and well-dressed?
    Do you feel reassured to be among your "own" no matter what band is on stage? No matter what they play or how they play it?

I would love to see your thoughts on some of these considerations. Rave on.

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Okay.

1. No.

2. No.

3. No.

4. Relatively strong, although currently in a lull; not reslient at all, but probably resilient.

5. No.

6. No.

7. I feel neither reassured nor threatened by the people surrounding me when I see a band play at a bar. I only notice people who are attractive, or people who are obnoxious and stupid, or people who are having a particularly good time.

However, I agree with your thesis statement that this kind of undercurrent, while not quite so clearly stated, runs rampant through this board.

[Edit to add]: I also like Lazlo's...err, I mean Douglas' point. That's a good'un, too.

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I retract my second thought after having read this in another thread:

People are going to do what ever they want to do. Some people will go to dance clubs, some people will watch the game at the local sports bar, some people will go to the movies and a cafe, some will stay home, and some will not bathe or shave and go see GTB.

Why the obsession with winning converts? We aren't Jehovah's Witnesses, are we? Oh my gawd, are we? Did I miss the memo? Which thread was that in? Sh!t... do I have to start going door-to-door now?

Now I love Hamilton

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MarcO you're a shining star.

Do you feel this way?

I think the righteous judgement is bang on. I don't subscribe at all to the "us" versus "them" mentality. I do like intelligent music and you won't find me picking jock jams out of a bargain bin, but there are aspects to each of those subgroups I can appreciate. And if I find nothing to appreciate (see Toby Keith) then it's not up to me to decide their music isn't worth anything. I'm probably more critical of music I know about, hence my inflammatory comments over certain bands that some hold near and dear within the greater jambands community.

I feel a sense of frustration when I go to see something I know to be good, and realize I only share that sentiment with a few dozen people in a room. On the other hand music doesn't play a crucial role in everyone's lives, and bear in mind it's not just the jammers who are obsessed with music. There are plenty of people who can listen to CHFI for 10 minutes a day and be perfectly happy, and feel no need to buy albums or see bands. I'd like to call them ignoramus' but that's really not my place, and the window of opportunity to knock their socks off with a live band is that much greater anyway.

Does it really bother you that a bar may have a band with 50 people in attendance while the dance club next door has over 500 people passing through the doors?

I guess I answered that above. Apples to Oranges. I might feel differently if I were in a band but as an audience member I'm ok with a smaller attendance level and am a firm believer that a sustainable fanbase is demand driven. If the band is really spectacular at it's inception the buzz will bring out more and more people. If they suck, they'll have small crowds until they do something unique and exciting. If they always suck or play music that's uninspired then it's only fair to say small crowds = generally uninteresting music.

Are those people wrong to attend that club?

Absolutely not. If they were to ask me to come check out a new DJ or some club night, it's only fair that I leave my resignations and ambivalence at the door. In actual practice though this can be a real head-scratcher. It seems like jamband fans are more likely to check out other types of music than vice versa. My hip hop friends wouldn't go anywhere near JSB a while back in Guelph, apparently because there'd be too many hippies.

Do you feel this scene is strong and reslient, or is it fragile and therefore should be protected?

I don't think this scene exists. I think it's a simple dichotomy between people who like live music, and people who don't. There's going to be more crossover in that regard to prove it. Jambands as a scene or genre are, for the large part, dead.

Is pop music a threat to either your "scene" or personal identity?

pop music (popular music) is the key to commercial viability for bands that I like. For all the Slip fans wishing they would stay small, I say if commercial success is what they want then they should shoot for that. It would be selfish of me to say otherwise, and those that do betray their love of such a band.

Is having a succesful recording career (and earning a lot of money along the way) necessarily shallow, manipulative and evil?

No way. As per above. However, again using the Slip as an example, if the bands intention is to maintain their independence and keep the intimacy with their fanbase, and that means sticking to small shows, that's also fine.

I would challenge anyone to point out a full-time music venture that's trying to prevent themselves from growing.

Is it vain to be clean, well-groomed and well-dressed?

No. I'd like to shank whatever wookie decided that the only means of self-expression and personal liberties is to grow out your whitey dreads and stink.

Do you feel reassured to be among your "own" no matter what band is on stage? No matter what they play or how they play it?

I don't have "my own". I do like to see concerts and shows with friends rather than solo but I think my group of friends have sufficiently diverse interests, as do most people on here.

Good topic MarcO. I hope people will spend a little time forming their own thoughts rather than immediately picking apart someone else's.

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i love stonmtn!

the only thing i don't like about the so called well-dressed is that buying that much clothing and make-up and hair products is really wasteful of the planet's resources. that, and they look really funny wearing high heels and jeans. that's always good for a laugh. the whole mindset behind being "in-style" i find vomitous. it's arbitrary and is a concept invented solely to make people feel like they can attain perfection if only they bought the next cool thing which of course never happens. it's bad for the planet and it's bad for people's mental health.

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I think that just as the "jamband" scene borrows and includes many musical backgrounds and genres to create their sound, the community can only become stronger and more enriched by embracing others within the scene. I try not to alienate new commers to the scene, because we all know at one time or another in our lives how uncomfortable it is to be singled out, and I try not to be like that, not all the time but I do try. I also find as a "newbie" to the board that there is a lot of musical elitism on the board, and people are often personally critized for their tastes in music, instead of expressing their views about the music itself, it can quickly become a personal attack. However, I do find most people on this board and around the scene to be very loving and accepting people and I am proud, most days, to be apart of it.

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oh yeah, about genre mixing, i love when "jambands" incorporate disco beats or hip hop beats in to songs, it's so much fun to dance to! dancing is my primary activity at shows, it's a great release. i do like going to see folk shows too, but if there's a choice between a good folk act and an act where i can dance my pants off, i'm going to shake it! :)

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[color:"purple"] yeah the guy with 6600+ posts is a real troll!.... lol!

rave on Greg, my friend, do what you want but I appreciated your response(s), and everyone else's for that matter (although I'm a little depressed that Douglas doesn't seem to love me anymore).

This is a very interesting discussion so far, thanks for that, gives me a lot to think about.

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marc, i just downloaded this show, and was wondering if you wanted a copy of it.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS 6/8/03

Sound Advice Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL 50:17

Lineage : Sony ECM717(mic)->Sony MZN707(mini disc)->

Sony MXD-D40(home unit) ->Harddrive -> CDwav -> CDR

- Opening for Neil Young & Crazy Horse -

1. Drunken Angel 4:12

2. Ventura 4:56

3. Those Three Days 5:20

4. I Lost It 4:23

5. Overtime 4:04

6. - band intro - :42

7. Righteously 5:04

8. Change The Locks 4:22

9. Essence 6:09

10. Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings 5:04

11. Joy 5:55

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Ok, well if the 3 of you (MarcO, Paisley, and Hamilton) can share my love, then I suppose I can love you all!

Another thought: while it's great to share a keen interest in music, sometimes it just feels a little too pressured. Like anything in life, sometimes you "get it" right away like you've finally found that lost limb you didn't even know was missing. Other times, you may might need to spit it out - like biting into an O'Henry bar only to find out that it's really a piece of turd. And sometimes, you just need some time and space to let those new pair of shoes contour to your own unique feet

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