Jambands shows are some of the most high-energy and unique live music experiences, particularly because of the eclectic and bohemian culture and community of fans surrounding them.
Jamband environments are all-inclusive and inviting, and jamband fans are loyal —partially because of these bands’ consistency of tour schedules.
Fans can expect to meet up every year at the same venues to see same bands play, and the bands usually do multiple night runs at big venues. And since the bands tour most of the year, fans often go ‘on tour’ with them, following them around the country to see their shows. Cue thousands of Phish fans.
Here’s a list of the top five jambands playing in 2017, in no particular order.
Hint: they’re actually the top five jambands playing every year.
Phish provides the quintessential jamband concert experience. Their music combines funky upbeat guitar riffs and lighthearted silly lyrics to create long building jams that climax into face-melting guitar solos from iconic frontman Trey Anastasio. And as for the environment: think post-Grateful Dead hippie utopia. Heady epic.
For an extremely impromptu trip south of the border, go see them this weekend, January 13 – 15, at Barceló Maya Beach in Mexico.
2. The String Cheese Incident
The String Cheese Incident provides laid-back feel-good jams that mix tropical beach vacation vibes with twangy bluegrass hints and saucy keyboard jams. The concoction of genres and sounds yields a perfect harmony of smile-worthy sounds by this Colorado crew.
Check out their yearly New Year’s Eve three-night run at 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, just outside of Boulder. One could call it Tommy Bahama’s Wookie Blizzard.
Lotus incorporates electronic sounds and driving beats into their flowing fountain of guitar melodies, yielding a danceable groove comfortable everywhere from music festivals to ‘da club. Bring sunglasses to a Lotus show, because their light shows can be more impressive than lazers.
Zone in on their vibes when they head to The Fonda Theater in Los Angeles February 3.
STS9 yields a total body-mind experience for listeners with their genre-bending electronic groove. They’ve taken the art of sound layering to a whole new level, and their songs become dancy, trancy, jazzy, and jammy arrangements and compositions of art. Plus, their newish bassist Alana Rocklin rocks the house at their live shows.
Bathe in their electronic waves February 2 – 3 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.
5. Umphrey’s McGee
Umphrey’s McGee reignites that rock’n’roll fire that sometimes feels lost among the flowerchild fans of other jambands. Their songs pack comprise mature prog-rock guitar riffs, complex tempo changes, and ripping solos worthy of a Guitar Hero level. Their concerts evoke a lot of head-banging motions from fans.
Head to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado on June 30, July 1, and July 2 to catch
their annual summer run there.
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