My routine advice to those risking dangerous exposure to jam bands (usually a hippie collective with an affinity for 20-minute songs and unbridled reverb) would be a hazard kit stocked with reefer antidote and a dousing of one's moustache in kerosene to mask the thick aroma of a sticky room full of patchouli essential oils and deodorant-free pits.
But my distaste is not absolute. Sometimes a band can "jam" and still win my heart (nudge and a wink to you, Built to Spill). That said, Friday, May 5 found me primarily at Terrapin Station, rocking my ass all around their spacious, dimly-lit dance floor to the smooth groovin' of The Sweatshop Band, who is self-admittedly prone to "inspired jams." I don't know what that means, but it fortunately seems to keep them out of that boring nine-minute ethereal guitar solo vortex.
What their audience receives is an always danceable, always drinkable confluence of varied style--be it garish brassy disco, skanky reggae beats or sampled sound bytes of a lovable president saying lovable things. That audience on Friday, albeit small, was enthusiastic and loyal--probably one-third of them had seen these guys play multiple times at John's Alley in Moscow, where they're often received by a full house.
Thus as The Sweatshop Band's tasty grooves mixed nicely with some hearty Lagunitas IPA from the tap (extra kudos, Terrapin Station), the haunting tapestries of creepy psychedelic dancing bears retreated into the recesses of my blurring consciousness. The mad beats possessed my feets and made for a delicious, if foggy, Cinco de Mayo.