Panic- Night of Joy
By Gary Schwind
Iíd like to start this review with a little
free association. Jam band. What comes to your mind?
A lot of college kids with dreadlocks and tie-dyed shirts playing hacky
sack while listening to endless noodling and marathon drum solos.
Right? Well, maybe.
Widespread Panic provides a lot of what
youíd expect from a jam band. The shortest song on this disc is five
and half minutes. The longest is over seventeen minutes. No
big surprise there. They do provide a couple drum solos. And
in fact, they give you some noodling. Although Widespread Panicís
noodling sounds more like jazz improvisation than drug-induced jamming
done by a band thatís forgotten how a song ends.
However, there are some things you wouldnít
expect from a jam band. John Bellís vocals are considerably raspier
than any other jam band vocalist. John Bell sounds like he gargles
with gravel before going onstage, and I donít mean that as a criticism.
Itís pretty cool. Also, on this album Widespread Panic teams up with
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Maybe thatís not utterly surprising but
when was the last time you saw flugelhorn and sousaphone listed on a rock
Letís get one thing straight about Widespread
Panic. They do not want to be a next generation Grateful Dead.
That position is already held by Phish anyway. A better comparison
for Widespread Panicís sound is Funkadelic. This album contains some
funky bass lines as well as some psychedelic organ and guitar. Frankly,
Widespread Panic blends the two genres together probably better than any
band since Funkadelic.
If there is one thing this album could
use, itís an intermission. It is a long CD at 78 and a half minutes.
But it is a live album, so the length is forgivable. Widespread Panic
brought a lot of energy to their performance and they have packed this
CD with songs that are bound to get your body moving. I have to admit
I was pleasantly surprised with this CD because I was expecting just another
jam band. Widespread Panic has shown me that they are not just another
Panic- Night of Joy
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