There’s a running joke in the Columbia music scene about local festivals booking 90’s acts, usually in the modern/alt rock vein. Jam Room Music Festival went and booked a 90’s band, but they went out and got the best and one of the most influential indie bands of the 90’s. For the announcement they had a little party at The Whig, and honestly I was worried going in. Who could it be? The first round of bands announced were all solid, and respectable, but I’m not even sure that lineup would have sold out New Brookland Tavern on a Friday night. Needless to say, the pressure was on.
Jam Room Music Festival’s shoestring budget (by outdoor music festival standards) has been well documented as have bands festival prices these days. If you haven’t read Indy Week music editor and Pitchfork contributor Grayson Currin’s article about modern-day music festivals, check it out now. And honestly, it was a bit worrisome and frustrating that JRMF had to crowd fund parts of the festival, mostly frustrating because so much other hospitality tax money get’s thrown down the drain, but enough about all that.
The Jam Room Music Festival crew had a four bagger of an announcement in their pocket Thursday night with headliner Superchunk, joined by Merge Record’s label-mate The Love Languauge, zany rockers Southern Culture on the Skids, and strong up and coming band Leagues. The whole lineup is a step out of JRMF’s alt country comfort zone formed by past headliners Son Volt, Justin Townes Earle, and The Hold Steady.
These days Superchunk might be better known as that band with Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan who founded Merge Records, the best independent record label in the States. Merge has been in the news all year celebrating their 25th anniversary with different releases and a sold out festival in Carrboro and Durham, NC. I was never obsessive with Superchunk like I feel like I should have been growing up, but two years ago I read the Merge Records story documented in the book Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records and it changed my outlook on music in general and made me fall in love with Superchunk’s story and become part of their cult following. I hope Columbia falls in love with that story as well as they listen back through Superchunk’s rich catalog of releases.