In the wake of one of the most astounding artistic revolutions
ever, a group of musicians calling themselves The Grateful Dead
emerged out of the San Francisco Bay area; garnering a following of
fans with a devotion the world of music had never seen.
The band created a community cohesive not only in its musical
interests but also its ideologies and philosophies.
The band toured until the death of guitarist and front man Jerry
Garcia in 1995.
While the loss devastated many who had been with the band over
the decades, a group from Vermont known as Phish almost seamlessly
stepped into the turmoil and up to the mic as the new reigning
kings of jam.
For nearly 20 years Phish created and maintained a following
unparalleled in the music industry. Fans committed weeks, months,
seasons and even years to touring with the band.
Fans thrived on the band’s philosophy that every concert was
special, and every one went home entertained and inspired.
But alas, as so many good things come to an early end, much like
“Seinfeld” and Crystal Pepsi, Phish followed in line and called it
quits this past summer.
Just as the Grateful Dead departed, Phish has left its fans
asking themselves, “Where do we go from here?” While the Grateful
Dead left the scene as artists with seemingly no counterparts, a
surge in the popularity of jam music has inspired many artists with
the potential to satisfy even the most ravishing of musical
cravings. Dare we ask, who will take over for Phish? No, we dare
not. But here are a few bands that have a good chance at keeping
the scene alive and strong.
Widespread Panic – Hailing from Athens, Ga., Panic has been
around the scene nearly as long as the Vermont boys. While Phish
captivated crowds with enduring, melodic guitar solos and spacy
jams, Panic lures fans in differently. Known to some as “a jam band
with a darker side” Panic plays off its southern roots and
energetic fan base. Fusing southern rock and lore, Americana and
straightforward jam, Panic has slowly but steadily established
itself as a serious contender on the scene. Despite the death of
original lead guitarist Michael Houser two years ago, fans have
seen a resurgence of life in the band on recent tours.
The String Cheese Incident – Local Colorado boys who began their
journey at the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival by combining
bluegrass and rock jams, Cheese is more comparable in musical style
to Phish because of the band’s melodic nature. An unconventional
component to the band is Michael Kang, who plays a self-described
“Kang-go-lin,” a five-string electric mandolin hybrid of sorts.
Some fans stay with the band for its constantly changing musical
landscape, while others who have been with the band for a while may
be starting to feel alienated by the band’s shift from its original
moe. – The band moe. has conviction, no two ways about it. The
group hails from upstate New York and is known on the scene as
possibly the fittest band to take the stage – fittest meaning these
guys just don’t stop playing. Sets can last deep into the night and
often only have five or six songs that the band draws out, much in
the storytelling fashion of a symphony. The group shares a similar
quality with Phish, as the band’s lyrics are often as puzzling and
quirky as they are meaningful.
The Dead – While some would say the Grateful Dead’s time has
come and gone, many would refute the point. From the original
lineup, The Dead are led by guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil
“the best-looking man in rock” Lesh. The Dead has been selling out
shows nonstop around the country, including a nearly weeklong stint
at Red Rocks this summer. Unfortunately, the members are getting
old. Not that old is bad, but in the tradition of progression, The
Dead will probably leave the spot open for a younger
Also receiving votes for the position:
-The Disco Biscuits
-Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
-Sound Tribe Sector Nine
-The Allman Brothers Band
-Yonder Mountain String Band