Live Review: Some Kind of Jam 6

(Photos By Gabriella Thurman)

Jibberjazz Productions’ 6th Annual Some Kind of Jam Festival in Schuylkill, PA was the perfect start to 2011’s summer festy season.  By any stretch of the imagination, SKOJ6 is not a large-scale production. The festival was boldly scheduled for the end of April, a time when northeastern United States can still feel the chill of winter nipping at its heels.

Cold aside, SKOJ 6 had a full turn out, and retained a peaceful, chill atmosphere – a charming attribute married to small-scale, grassroots summer music productions. Complete with a host of creative, diverse vendors; a comparably interesting lineup; and a family/pet friendly atmosphere (that led to a fairgrounds full of adorable hippie children and every kind of dog imaginable), SKOJ6 is the kind of festival that can fit on anyone’s summer bill. Whether you’re a first-timer, got a family with kids in tow, or a road-hungry veteran of funky, sonic weekends, and as long as you can see the merit in starting off small, this humble little festival is the perfect way to ease into your wet, hot, American summer festival tour.

With nearly 48 straight hours of live music and a food vendor that would fry anything you’d ask them to (seriously – we saw someone order a breakfast that consisted of a deep fried Snickers bar wrapped in bacon), who can go wrong? The air was bereft of the far-off whistle of nitrous tanks, there were no scary biker dudes running security, and Jibberjazz gave you opportunities to step out of your creative comfort zone (for instance, they donated a plethora of quality paints and art supplies for festival goers to play with). There were traditional carnival and freak show acts, hoop lessons, and interactive performances.

The lineup was decent, eclectic, and somewhat thoughtful. With bands like Kung-Fu, Primate Fiasco, Dopapod, Goosepimp Orchestra, and The Budos Band on the bill, it’s hard to feel dissatisfied with the music.

Some musical highlights:

1. Friday’s late night slate ended with Dopapod bleeding into a Goosepimp Orchestra set as the sun rose over Schuylkill County Fairgrounds. No complaints here.

2. Primate Fiasco’s set on Saturday evening came complete with innumerable on-stage debaucheries (seriously these guys are hilarious, there is no way they aren’t having the times of their lives on stage). They hosted a “crazy” dance contest, specifying that it wasn’t a “good” dance contest, and if you were a good dancer, the odds were stacked against you. They also advertised a kid’s CD and coloring books as part of their merch roster.

3. A surprising Terry Dame & Electric Junkyard Gamelan, who at times had the tendency to lose dimension sonically, had a stage full of homemade gear and instruments, and a fun and upbeat attitude that absolutely kept people entertained.

4. There’s something about teenage boy band sensations. They never get old, no matter what form they take. Mystery Fyre, which was a group of teenage boys, dressed up like 60’s versions of Jimmi Hendrix, shredded harder and faster and better than the notoriously up-and-coming youtube sensations, The McLovins.

5. The Budos Band’s headlined set Saturday night, and while they lacked the charisma and energy of past Budos shows we’ve seen, and the band was missing so many members their manager had to step in on percussion, they were a pleasure to witness at SKOJ6. It leaves us hopeful that we’ll see more of them at future summer festival productions, and not doubtful that they’ll manage to fit right in.

There wasn’t much we didn’t like about SKOJ 6.

Aside from nitpicking, and the one fact that their rogue, slightly hidden 3rd stage was so far out of the way many attendees didn’t realize it was there, the venue was small enough to surpass this issue. With some improvements to usage of space, this paved, little fairground (complete with actual bathrooms, outlets, ample shade and indoor spaces, and working showers) is a great location for a friendly, calm festival like Some Kind of Jam. Kudos, Jibberjazz, and here’s to 2011’s festival season!

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