No Context: Time in the Wild, The Jammys


May 7

Obviously the norms and folkways of the dudes in hats and sandals who attend things like the Jammys are the proverbial fish/Phish in a barrel—the Burning Man that records fatalities annually when it falls on oblivious hippies, the propensity of the movement’s heroes to be rolly-polly dudes who do things like play the mouth-trumpet and seem like they’d be really good dads—so let’s stick to just one cultural practice. Not sure what they call that dance guys do, where you hop up and down but also swing your fists and play an imaginary flute, kind of like the one the Grateful Dead bears are known for? Let’s call it the Kokopelli.

Anyway the thing I saw that was more amazing than “blue turtle seduction” or Chevy Chase playing “A Natural Woman,” lounge-piano version, was this dude who would go get beer and then come back and then go the bathroom and come back, etc., who could climb the WaMu@MSG stairs in full, uninterrupted Kokopelli, without tripping. When Leslie West played “Mississippi Queen” this individual did accidentally punch me in the face in an obvious rush of adrenaline, but his Kokopelli remained flawless.

Consonances: didn’t get the Doug E. Fresh/Chali 2na presence on the bill until I saw Matisyahu battle some guitar player with his mouth. Call the presence of the Jay-Z/Mary J tour in the same building as the Jammys a metaphor for beatboxing, which is apparently some sort of East meets West between dudes who wear their Yankee caps with the brims totally straight and those who bend them nearly in half. Matisyahu on Phish: “It was the first time in my life I’d experienced music so deep.”

As for me, it was the first time I experienced music played by a guy doing slap bass on an acoustic guitar that had no hole in it.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 8, 2008

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