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Jam Nights: It's time to put down the popcorn and pick up your axe!

By Charles McHale Translated by Ann Lee

At Citizen Cain First Friday Jam Night

A jam night is centered on getting musicians together and getting the music to the people. It provides young talent a chance to shine or get shined and take it back to the practice room 'til next week. For more mature artists a jam night is a place to try out a new song or new style and work with different musicians. Jam nights give birth to new bands, inspire the crowds, and challenge the musicians to bring the best that they've got. There are a few traditional formats Jam nights follow: Folk, Jazz and Rock.

Folk jams celebrate acoustic music and singer/songwriters. Moshe Foster of Public Radio runs the Citizen Cain First Friday Jam. The Cain used to have full on electric rock and drums—even Taipei's guitar hero Stevie graced its stage. While the Folk jammers are still rockers at heart, like the boys from Johnny Fatstacks, The Cain's jam is driven by songwriters. It also includes the blues, reggae, acoustic rock, folk and a full house. Another bar, On Tap, is featuring "Whiskey in the Jar", a night of bluegrass music led by string wizard Rube Yen.

Jazz jams usually feature a house band with musicians rotating or joining-in for a few tunes. Tuesday nights at Sappho, Gino Giles heads up the house band. Sappho just might have the most international crowd of musicians: a Japanese bassist, Taiwanese drummer and soloists from France and Germany, just to name a few.
The Riverside has held the city's rock jam scene for years. A rock jam features full bands coming in to strut their stuff. Getty manages the Monday night session that has given bands like Coach and Neon their start. Occasionally, jazz players come through, but the standard is rock bands.

Bliss, the Living Room and many others have also hosted special jams, but Jam Nights come and go. Whether you go to a session to listen or play check ahead. More musicians always makes for a better night. If you're just sitting at home practicing, it's time to get up and get down!

Alcoholic driks are strictly prohibited for those under 18.


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