Techno jam bands take Fayetteville

By Brian Washburn

The Fayetteville music scene has several treats in store this month for those who thrive on local concerts. While fans of ’90s pop-rock will be thrilled when teen movie soundtrack staples Third Eye Blind roll though Barnhill Arena in mid-November, it’s a new hype surrounding other November concerts that has Fayetteville music fanatics in a frenzy.

It might be the addition of Wakarusa to Northwest Arkansas. It might be the growing college population and their desire for jam music. Or it might just be genres merging, redefining themselves and then giving the masses something new, elaborate and more creative than they have ever heard before.

No matter what it is, the new jam, techno and dance phenomenon is sweeping underground college scenes throughout the nation (and at the University of Arkansas). It has snatched listeners by their ears, minds and legs and has them on the dance floor, raving to funky beats and the accompanying glow sticks.

This month, Fayetteville’s frantic funky fans will have the opportunity to see three of the most prolific techno/jam bands in the underground music scene.

First will be Galactic Sunday night at George’s. Although the New Orleans band has been around since the mid-’90s, they are now finding more success since they ditched their lead singer and now tour as an instrumental group. Galactic’s unique blend of New Orleans jazz, funky bass lines and electronic interludes has found a niche with the Wakarusa crowd.

Unfortunately, the Perpetual Groove show at George’s scheduled for Monday has been rescheduled for January.

Maybe the most popular (the show is close to selling out) of the lot is Colorado electronic, hip-hop set Pretty Lights, who recently released their new album for free on their Web site. The band is the work of producer Derek Vincent Smith, who is accompanied live by drummer Cory Eberhard. The non-traditional hip-hop mixed with the smooth techno loops make for an interesting listen and one hell of a live show.

This new style of hip-hop, jam music (made especially popular by Girl Talk) has risen to underground stardom in the past year. The popularity has grown in NWA and the Ozarks, after Pretty Lights performed at Wakarusa this summer. Pretty Lights proved to be one of the crowd favorites at Wakarusa and a repeat is expected at George’s on Nov. 12.

The hip-hop/techno fad does not end there, however.

San Francisco DJ Bassnectar (aka Lorin Ashton) will bring his electronic, experimental techno set to George’s on Nov. 19. Bassnectar has performed at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and other major festivals. Bassnectar’s hip-hop fusion is much more experimental than most of his peers.

While George’s and Fayetteville have definitely hit a pulse in the concert crowd for November, the music is not solely for techno fans. From Third Eye Blind to Pretty Lights, as well as local rock, metal and hip hop acts taking stage this month, NWA should keep its eyes and ears open and have their bodies ready to move to the music.

Categories: LIVE! In NWA