Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jackyl - Rock USA 16JUL14

Chainsaws, whiskey, long hair and rock and roll.  Let that soak in for a moment.  Using the old "one of these things is not like the other" game you might think the answer is simple so if you guessed "chainsaws" you would be wrong.  The right answer is...  The right answer is ALL of these things are the same when you consider Jackyl was on stage and all of the aforementioned items were there too.

Confused?  You shouldn't be because Jesse James Dupree and his band Jackyl were on stage at Rock USA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin one very comfortable afternoon.  Having seen Jackyl several times now I have these ideas of what will transpire but much to my surprise no show is the same.  Its true.  Dupree has this affinity of making his shows unique and fresh to such a degree that it seems its the first time I have seen the band.

Please don't confuse that unique label with a simple set list, its more like an attitude that the band oozes and it becomes as infectious as the common cold.  As an example Jeff Worley plays guitar with this little cat-that-ate-the-canary grin that not only makes him look like he's having fun but he looks like he knows how good he really his.  As I watch him play he makes it fun and I find myself shaking my head as he rocks his "Punisher" painted amps and I wonder to myself how he doesn't knock them down every once and awhile.  Its performers like Worley that make it fun to see a band multiple times.

Jackyl (Jesse James Dupree, Jeff Worley) left and center, Me right
© musicallead.blogspot.com - 2014

Despite the fact that we were on Day One of Rock USA Dupree quickly welcomed his fans to the Second Annual "Jackyl-stock" in Oshkosh, Wisconsin but just as fast he invited us back next year and the "third annual" iteration.  While its common to hear performers thrash about "we'll be back next year" its hard to hear Dupree and not believe it.  Within the crux of the idea that he is indeed sincere is the way he interacts with his fans, he ACTUALLY interacts with his fans.  To believe that point one has to only look to single event at Rock USA.

Jackyl took the stage at 4:00PM and "Theory of a Deadman" was at 6:00PM.  After Jackyl did their set, Dupree told everyone that he would meet every person that wanted to meet them in the merchandise tent and take pictures, shake hands, take pictures, the whole shooting match.  That isn't lip service either as the line to meet the band was so long that it appeared to be a mile long but in reality they were still shaking hands twenty minutes into the ToaD set.  To understand the importance of that time is to hear the conversations with people that didn't consider themselves fans of Jesse, of the band, of the television show, and/or of the band.  Just walking around the grounds even on the final day of the festival people were still talking about Jackyl.

Of all of the t-shirts that are sold at a show or even just worn to a show reflects a great deal about a band much like the conversations overheard pertaining to the band as it appeared that at least fifty percent of the shirts worn were Jackyl t-shirts.  Yes that is a perceived percentage and not scientific but you get the point I.  But before any t-shirts, CD's or any other products are sold the band must make and perform their music then and only then does that occur.  As the merry men joined the fray the band came out as if possessed by a whirling dervish or two.

Those whirling dervishes started their spiral with a little tease as they started performing one of my favorite songs, "Redneck Punk" but then morphed that into "My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine's Ass" and just like that Jackyl-stock was up and running.  Its really hard to explain how hard this band performs night after night and still maintains that jovial edge that makes them so fun.  In simple terms I think that the band is so good that it leads directly into their amazing staying power in the eye of hard rock fans.  That's the ideal for anyone isn't it?  I would tend to think so.

Its hard for any band to remain steady and continue to entertain because if the fun goes away then it becomes drudgery.  Drudgery is the real killer of bands of any variety actually because if the people in the band don't like what they are doing then their product (music) suffers, fails and then dies.  Yes that is put in general terms but its true and that is where Dupree and Jackyl succeed, that beautiful July day in Oshkosh was a great example of that.  But for the fans of Jackyl there is one thing that culminates into the wildest encore ever: The Lumberjack Song.

With most bands the show ends with a fan favorite song, perhaps some lasers, smoke and explosions but when that Stihl chainsaw and wooden stool come forth onto the stage things tend to pickup.  Interspersed within the music is the sound of that chainsaw being revved up like one would a guitar making it into an integral part of the song.  With some chips flying off of the stool, the smell of the oil rich exhaust and a Jimi Hendrix -esque moment the stool was lit on fire.  Yup, right on stage.  As I channeled my inner Beavis I said "Fire! Fire! Fire!"adding that little demonic sounding giggle I knew that it was all over.  Jackyl-stock was over for another year, well that is until I see them again in four days.

Jackyl is the band that time forgot.  As Jackyl began and evolved many of its contemporaries were swept away by the "grunge era," and others went up with a big "POOF" as if they were spraying their hair too close to an open flame.  At the same time those bands that did survive fail to have the energy that Jackyl does.  Since the inception of Jackyl this band knows what its fans want and it indeed gives them exactly what they want: Fun.  Its a simple word but within that simple word is a complexity that only a handful of bands can ever hope to dream about et alone achieve.

My advice to you is to make sure you look at the schedule of the band, find a show then go an enjoy it because within the DNA of this band you cannot help but find it.

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