2008 Independance Jam Recap

With craziness of work and life in general, I am just now getting the chance to write about FM94/9’s Indie Jam. Roger and I drove down ready and prepared for the long haul. Packed in our not too large backpack we had 2 16oz bottles of water, a blanket, toilet paper (yes, portopotties are not always the most stocked), a light jacket, sunscreen, camera, money, cellphones and a couple snacks hidden at the bottom. In the car almost approaching Otay Mesa Road, Roger realized that we had forgotten the most important thing, the tickets. So we drove back to North Park and then back to Southwestern College just in time for Santogold.

Santogold was not at all what I expected, but i was impressed nevertheless. Her voice was strong and bold yet punchy. I was entertained by her dancers/backup singers who mostly stood like security guards on the edges of the stage in white tops and black pants with eighties sunglasses. every now and then they would bust into some crazy choreographed moves and then back into their stiff postures.

Then we headed back upstairs for a local band known as the Wrong Trousers. This was my first time getting to see them. I really thought they were endearing. The girl who is the lead singer plays the harp (which is apparently a difficult thing to mic up) has a beautiful voice with a very childish style. Not by any means immature, just cute. The band consists of a harp, upright bass, mandolin and the occasional melodica. After buying their CD we headed downstairs to see The Ting-Tings.

I must say that after all of the hype about The Ting-Tings, I was very unimpressed. The music was decent and upbeat, but I still have a problem with bands that use backing tracks to play along with. It feels like 50% of the music is fake. I know that many do not agree with me on this one and that I should just appreciate good music, but I have a hard time justifying the sound in my head. If you are using a keyboard backing track, get a keyboard player… if you are using a drum beat track, get a drummer. At least put a DJ on stage… to show where the music is coming from… or give up on live music altogether.

Next up was Blackout Party at the Casbah local stage. I hadn’t seen them play before so it was good to see them. They play in a bit of an alt-country style with a bit of rockabilly flair. Their energy seemed a bit low, but it was still fun. A majority of the guys in this band play in other local bands including the Superunloader, Swedish Models and Greg Laswell.

I wasn’t really in the mood to climb the steps again so we hung out at the top of the stadium listening to The Whigs play. Gary Sheffield and Tim Pyles stopped by to say hi, also taking a peek down to listen to the Whigs.

We watched a bit of Kill Me Tomorrow on the local stage before heading down to the grass for MGMT. At this point the sun was feeling really good and the music was giving off great vibes, I laid down on the grass and sipped out for a minute or two. Children were running about, people were dancing, frisbees and footballs were flying. It felt like the perfect summer music festival.

I was definitely in a chill mood. I can’t recall The Muslims or the Cold War Kids. I stayed on the grass for the Muslims… I had seen them before and had really enjoyed them, but the grass was cozy and the playing children seemed to be entertaining me at the time. I am not much a fan of the Cold War Kids.

But I would hate to miss a Silent Comedy, so we headed upstairs for a energizing set. I have never seen these guys perform without smiles and enthusiasm. they are contagious in every sense of the word. The crowd was dancing, the music hit the heart and made you want to move and sing along. Outdoor venues seem to be their best space, but I really don’t think it matters. if you haven’t seen these guys, please get out and see them. They are opening for the Young Dubliners tonight at the Belly Up if you don’t have plans already.

We stayed near the top of the stadium for the Hold Steady, again not really a huge fan. People watching seemed to be one of the best forms of amusement at this event. Watching the crowd drift between the stage and the beer garden and the growing number of green Flogging Molly shirts in the crowd.

The last act that we stayed for was Transfer on the local stage. They are always a favorite, but we had already noticed the crowd dwindling as the evening progressed. We held out until the last note of the set and then headed out as Flogging Molly was taking the main stage. About 6-10 years ago, they would have held me there, but my long days of drinking are few and far between. As much as I miss my Irish pub days I was ready to hit the road and curl up in bed.

Over all this was a well run event… More bathrooms available than last year. Everything seemed to flow. Sadly, I know that the turnout is not what was expected. As I posted previously, there was a lot of good things happening that weekend. The line up was decent but apparently did not hit home. The local Casbah stage was phenomenal (thanks, Tim Mays and Tim Pyles) but to pay $40 for a great local line up is not worth it. Flogging Molly fans did show, but they are not the same fans as MGMT (who had the highest attendence of the day). I enjoyed the smaller crowd, but I know though who are looking at the bottom line. I don’t have an answer as the fanbase and bands will be in a different state by next year. All i can say is good luck… and I will most likely be there again.

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