Jubilee Jam - Friday Highlights


JJ Grey played JAM Friday.

The first day of Jubilee! Jam 2009 was sincerely hot and sticky with temps hovering in the high 90s til way after dark. Still, a sweat soaked crowd turned out to hear great music, big and small names alike. The best of the night, I believe, came straight off of the Trustmark stage, which is hosting the local acts. Here's the run down of what you missed today:

I caught Cyril Neville & Tribe 13 first at the Budweiser Stage. The band is seasoned and plays well together and I especially enjoyed the powerful harmonies and the saucy cover of "Piece of My Heart."

Next up came my appetite which was satisfied by the Clarksdale BBQ Nachos from the F&B Catering tent.

Oh, right, music. . .

The Bailey Bros. were doing a fine Dylan cover as I started heading up the hill to hear Carolina Liar. Truthfully, I didn't know much about the band. My friends informed me that they have a song, "Show Me What I'm Looking For", on Vh1 presently, I had no idea what to expect, but the buzz leading up to the Jam was enough to pique my curiosity. They opened up with the hopeful "California Bound" and followed with "Something To Die For," which, frankly, sounded exactly like the other song. Unfortunately, that trend continued through their set and I decided to seek out something else. They do have talent and they'll continue to gain a fan base and probably play the college campus circuit. This little band that originates from Sweden will get a little fame for their hard guitars and attempts at thoughtful lyrics. I can see them following the likes of Better Than Ezra, who are altogether a way better band and better songwriters. The best quote of the night came from my friend Joy who turned to me and said, "It's like watching Nelson." Two members of the band were sporting the flowing blonde locks and y'all, she was right.The crowd seemed to like the mid-90s throwback sound, but I needed something else to inspire me.

I went on to the other end of the festival back to the Budweiser stage to hang out at JJ Grey & Mofro. They have the typical jam band sound, but had some great dirty, bluesy guitars and a horn section adding just the right amount of spice. I was thoroughly amused by the ladies with the homemade hula hoops in the way back of the crowd. Even 96+ degree heat didn't stop their hula dancing. They definitely had the biggest crowd by that point and everyone was really joyful dancing around. I will probably never purchase their music, but I'd definitely see them live again. The band gave a lot of great energy to a welcoming audience.

The next act I caught made me entirely happy to be at the festival. I've been listening to Quills via Myspace for a few weeks now since they played with my friends, The Delicate Cycle. I knew that half of the band are former members of King Elementary, whose music I adored and always floored me by being so young. Anyway, they took the stage at 9:30 and God bless America, they are so great. The songwriting is beautiful, the band is tight and the performance is engaging. These guys should be well on their way to the Austin City Limits music festival or should be prepared to make an appearance at South by Southwest. They are THAT good. The guitars are tightly wound with each other, the rhythm section is just right and not overpowering, the lyrics are moody and simple, making for one catchy "radio song" after another. Morgan Jones is a fierce frontman and is well supported by three talented musicians (Andrew Fox, William Fox and Justin Cook) who help to create an accessible wall of sound with dark guitars and quick tempos. These guys know how to manipulate dynamics on stage, which is important to my ears. I don't want a band to be at 10 the entire set. The set included a bluesy turn with "Irons In the Fire," "Disinformation," and my personal favorite, "Tell Me Now Charlotte." Do yourself a favor and catch their next show. Ginger Williams informed me that this was only their third gig with the present lineup and if they're this good now, they're only going to get better. Quills are the band to watch.

After Quills, I caught a little of Guster, set up prominently at the VisitJackson.com stage at the top of Capitol St. I was watching Twitter while listening and I can agree with two of the people I follow: hearing Guster reminded me of writing papers late at night while in college. They played all the favorites and sound great live, like a band that has many seasons logged on the road.

And last, but not least, I closed out my night with 7even:Thirty & 5th Child at the Trustmark Stage. Again I will say that the local acts should be the darlings of the whole festival. These two guys are forces of nature. Mark my words: I will not miss their shows ever again. 5th Child took the stage first with J-Gutta and DJ Venom. He was all over the stage, in and out of the crowd in his t-shirt proudly declaring SOUTH JACKSON. 5th spits to hard beats until he gets to "Easy," which takes everything in a funky direction. His energy is hot and his passion is real: he does it for the city he lives in and that city is Jackson. 5th makes me really proud to be a part of this city.

After 5th departed, 7even:Thirty took the stage in his purple t-shirt and futuristic sunglasses. His sound varies from 5th and carries more of a disco beat, but it's exactly what the crowd wanted. 7even:Thirty is a smooth storyteller and his lyrics flow with ease. He was also backed by DJ Venom and joined by James Crow. The icing on the cake was when all four guys are onstage and have the entire crowd of 100 or so jumping in unison. The energy was electric and only the best of performances generate that.

Best of the night? 7even:Thirty & 5th Child with Quills at a very close second. Let's hear it for the home team.

For Saturday's enjoyment, I plan to see Jesse Robinson, The Church Keys, Passenger Jones, Joan Jett!! and more if the heat doesn't melt me first.

Previous Comments


Guster was a definite highlight for me. They had a lot of energy and I always enjoy watching bandmembers run around between different instruments. We also popped in and saw 5th Child. Great-looking crowd there. Still have yet to catch 7even:Thirty, though. He and I both went to Loyola in New Orleans! Festivals on the street are awesome. The crowd kind of sneaks up on you: I'm standing in an area, and all of a sudden I'd look back and people have filtered in several rows deeper than the last time I'd looked.


We saw JJ Grey & Mofro and a little of Quills before giving in to the need for some veggie-friendly dinner! (The nachos and cheese fries were tempting, but we decided to save our junk food allotment for Saturday's festivities. ;-)

Todd Stauffer


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