The dictionary defines a jam band as “a rock band that plays music characterized by long improvisational passages.”
This weekend, my favorite jam band, Phish, returns to Denver for the 8th annual “Dicks,” a three-day run at the home of the Colorado Rapids Dicks Sporting Goods Park.
In honor of, and in preparation for Dicks, I curated a playlist for all your jam band needs.
The playlist, “Peanut Butter and Jam Band,” gives you a little bit of everything: old and new, from classic jam bands to their sub-groups and side projects. Bands include the aforementioned Phish, Grateful Dead, The String Cheese Incident, Unphrey’s McGee and more.
Like any playlist I create, this one is best found on shuffle, giving you a wide range of sounds and artists, rather than in the order in which I added them, giving you a look into my all too bipolar mind.
Peanut Butter and Jam Band is a ten-plus hour playlist light enough for the jam band newcomer yet strong enough (I hope) for the vets nearing the three-digit mark of Phish shows under their belt after this weekend.
The songs range from sheer classics like those who perform them, such as “Friend of the Devil,” by Grateful Dead, and “Fluffhead” by Phish, to newer, but bangers nonetheless, like my theme song “Rosie,” by The String Cheese Incident or Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s “Horizon.”
The words are left out of the next few but the funk surely is not, with a additions like Spafford’s “Reprise,” or “Gilded Age” by Lotus.
“Funky Bitch” will have Phish making you feel just as the title promises, as will The Disco Biscuits’ “World is Spinning.”
One of the best parts about a jam band is their innate ability to bring something different to the table with every show and even every song; no two shows will hold the same set list or even the same presentation of a song. This led me to add a few live versions of some of my favorites, including (but NEVER limited to) “Sugar Magnolia” live in Paris in 1972 and “Disco” by Widespread Panic live in Athens in 1998.
A cover of a good song by another heavily favored artist or a mashup of two really does it for me, hence a few of each featured on the collection. I mean, Umphrey’s McGee put out an entire album of mashups AND covered Pink fricken Floyd at their last Red Rocks show…
If all goes well this weekend, I’ll most likely be a “Fluffhead” for awhile and drowning my sorrows to the tunes of this playlist on repeat. Check out our page next week to see me take a stab at analyzing this year’s Phish Dicks.