This post is slow in coming because I’ve been lethargic, tired and just feeling kind of blah since this weekend. Now that I am sitting down to write it, and though it pains me greatly to do so, I am publicly accusing an outfit that heretofore has been a positive force in my life: The Dave Matthews Band. The Dave Matthews Band is responsible for the DMB Caravan, a three day music festival visiting four cities this summer. This past weekend, June 24-26 was the first of the four at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I was there, and it took it’s toll. To understand why, let me tell you a little about me.
Most people don’t see me as an addict, but in fact I am. It just that the things I am addicted to are not illegal or even controlled, and music is my most powerful addiction by far. If music is an addiction live music is it’s purest, most potent, addictive form, and this festival served up something like 40 amazing acts over the course of three days! The schedule was pretty well planned out with three stages scheduled to have performances on them from around 1:30 pm to 10:00 or 11:00 pm, but staggered so that you usually only had to choose between two acts at any given time. The tickets were not cheap, just under $200 for three days, but once you were in you had 10 hours at an open bar of music, an addict’s dream! Someone like me should never have been let in the door!
Mariachi El Bronx
More than that, this musical bar was packed with top shelf brands. The variety of musical styles represented was impressive. If you are a Dave Matthews fan, you wouldn’t have been disappointed. The band plays each night, there’s a Dave and Tim Reynolds, and solo projects of band members are also featured. Of course they all sound great. The members of DMB set standards for musicianship whether you like their music or not. On the other hand, if you had gone expecting to hear three days of bands that sound like the Dave Matthews Band, you would have left deeply disappointed. To cite just a few examples, Mariachi El Bronx are, fundamentally, a Mariachi band cross-pollinated with hard core rock and roll. The Carolina Chocolate Drops play music that is, at its foundation, pure bluegrass, even if they are covering a Beyonce tune. Damian Marley, one of Bob Marley’s sons, plays reggae based music as might be expected. Lisa Hannigan is contemporary singer-songwriter from Ireland in what I suppose we could call the contemporary folk style. Thievery Corporation play music that incorporates everything but the kitchen sink. One of the things they all share with the Dave Matthews Band is that they are innovative and not afraid to stretch their wings. Consequently, none of them are easily classifiable and none of them sound very much like the other.