Jamtronica Heralds New Electronic Music Scene

Features 07 Nov 2009









Jamtronica Heralds New Electronic Music Scene

“Hi. I’m a Mac.”

“And I’m a PC.”

Yes, we know the scenario. The Mac stars in Hollywood films, hangs out with hip motherboards, and never has a breakdown of the immune system. The PC wears church-lady spectacles, sits on shelves at Wal-Mart prices, and gets various transmitted diseases.

The Mac is dominating the computer industry, television commercials, music downloading platforms, and now, the stage of your favorite band.

“Jamtronica” is the younger, hipper cousin to the Jam-band family, as the latest fad in live-music conquers dance scenes far and wide. The Macbook backs a DJ in creating a whirlwind of dirty-electronic beats in a trippy-rave spectacle. Today, it’s all the rage, rave, and reason strobe lights are worth the risk of migraines.


Sound Tribe Sector 9 onstage


Fusing long-winded improvisation jams with Mac-enhanced electronic beats, bands like Girl Talk, STS9, and Pretty Lights are riding the electric-wookie wave that continues to gain momentum. Not only are these artists selling a concert, but a straight-up dance party as well.





Matt Gerding, co-owner and promoter for The Majestic Theatre, compares the Jamtronica scene to the ecstasy-injected rave scene of the 90’s.

jamtronica“I see a lot of dilated pupils at these shows. There are a lot of kids only drinking bottled water,” stated Gerding.

Mixing frenzied beats with laser lights and a candy-land of club drugs, added security measures are taken into account.

“It can be a disrespectful crowd,” said Gerding. “We’ve had them rip down paper towel dispensers from the bathroom and tag walls of the venue.”

But despite the aggravation for venues, the sheer popularity of Jamtronica ultimately makes the hassle worthwhile, as the bill attracts young demographics that frequent live-music events. 

With the meshing of two major scenes/genres- Jam and electronic- these shows draw ravers, hippies, and various breeds in-between.

“Some are hipsters in disguise, but most are just normal looking kids who all have one thing in common- they love to get messed up,” said Joe Madden, a UW student and avid concertgoer.

By bringing in both the loyal masses of the jam-band scene and the party-ready electronic music fans, venues fair well at the box office and the bar.

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights


Recent Jamtronica events at the Majestic have sold well, including a sold out performance for scene-stealers Pretty Lights.  Upcoming electronic acts BassNectar and Owl City are also expected to pull heavy weight at the box office.

Gerding states Jamtronica shows require much less promoting than their typical Majestic event.

“Word-of-Mouth is huge here. You don’t have to club these kids over the head with handbills and flyers.”

Scenes come and go. 80’s hair metal ruled until the hair started falling out and 90’s grunge died smoothly once Carlos Santana started featuring Rob Thomas.

Gerding explains that we won’t be hearing much from Jamtronica in five years, but the intensity it is bringing to the live-music world is exciting for fans and financially advantageous for venues.

While the Jamtronica game may witness the use of performance enhancing supplements, its records remain untainted, and its players never retire. 

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About the author

Brett Newski

Brett is a contributing writer, local musician and a member of the band The Nod.

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