Five Reasons Why Jam Band Fans Are Better Than Indie Rock Fans

Christopher R. Weingarten | March 31, 2009 11:00 am

I was skimming through this year’s Bonnaroo lineup as part of my usual round of cyber-stalking Neko Case, and I came upon an interesting discovery—this festival kicks ass! Although one of my friends described the layout as a desert of dust and piss, and the jam-centric lineup means stupid Phish is going to play for approximately 76 hours straight, I can pretty much get behind anything that brings together High On Fire and Janelle Monae (that isn’t made by the Hood Internet). Something this good could never happen on indie rock’s watch! Here are five reasons why the mud-caked hippies who will attend Bonnaroo are better than your sweater-clad ass!

1. Jam band fans don’t care about pesky shit like aesthetics. Why does Bonnaroo get to have awesome, underrated thrash metal band Shadows Fall, but the Scion Rock Festival doesn’t? Because indie rock kids only care about fringe genres when they are fashionable. Shadows Fall, being a real metal band, bring a lot of zitty teenagers and honest-to-god longhairs to their shows, so indie blogs and mags don’t touch them. God forbid someone break up the steady stream of warmed-over stoner rock and black metal bands (only the ones Hydra Head endorses!) in your RSS, guys.

2. Jam band fans are loyal. A jam band fan would sooner eat his hacky sack than give up on a band he loves. Who do you think kept the Grateful Dead alive until “Touch Of Grey”? Or between then and Devendra-fueled revisionist hipster appreciation? Ben Harper and Galactic and Moe are all playing this year, and who knows if I’ve heard a single note of any of them in a decade. Ben Harper could have been cryogenically frozen next to Walt Disney for all I know. In indie rock circles, bands are played out once their blog cycle ends. How did the Rapture lose all its fans before they even put out a follow-up to Echoes? Why does it seem like an eon since I’ve heard someone in a sweater vest tell me they’re “really feeling Dipset”? Who was in Goblin Cock again?

3. Jam band fans have better drugs. OK, drugs are silly if you’re over, like, 19 years old. But I’m guessing the dude on psylocibin mushrooms who’s talking to a giant purple hot dog in the sky is probably going to have a more fulfilling night that the coked-out sweatball at the Late Of The Pier show telling me he knows Steve Aoki. Plus, who are you gonna trust to find you good weed? An Octopus Project fan?

4. Jam band fans support music from other countries. I only hear indie-rockers tell me about African music if the hivemind is whispering that it’s OK to like Konono No. 1 this week, or Etran Finatawa the next. Meanwhile, when I go to the free African music fest in Prospect Park every summer, it’s overrun by hippies! They know the score. At this year’s Bonnaroo: Toumani Diabate, Amadou & Mariam, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Vieux Farka Touré, and the unstoppable King Sunny Adé & the African Beats.

5. Jam band fans waste their days away following bands and doing drugs and making arepas on the engine blocks of old VW vans instead of writing snarky blog posts all day. Shit.