Figuring Out the Widespread Effect

When people ask me questions about Athens bands, I try to answer as best I can. But I don’t always know everything that I need to. Sure, ask me about Pylon or R.E.M. or Modern Skirts and I can fill your head with more random facts than you ever need to know. Ask me about Widespread Panic and I really can only quote you stuff from the Wikipedia page. So I’m setting out to change that.

Half the fun of being an Athens music junkie is diving into unknown territory. It’s what caused me to drag a friend to a Pylon show at the 40 Watt, thus changing my perspective forever. Or what made me say, “What the hell. I’ll start a blog.” Finding a great new band is my kind of high. Delving into a back catalog, finding the fans, listening to the history… I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Thankfully, Widespread Panic makes it a bit easier for me to keep track of their comings and goings. The band has, by far, the best band Twitter account that I have ever seen. They tweet often but with actual relevant information. Contests, pictures, random info, links and setlists, they’ve got it all.

So where to begin this voyage into Panicdom? I’m not overly fond of jam bands in general but I’ve been drawn to a few Panic songs from time to time. “Up All Night” really seems to resonate with me for some reason. I was introduced to their music via WUOG (which seems to be my main supplier). Since Widespread is considered a “popular” band, we’re really not supposed to play them onair. But here was a copy of Free Somehow sitting at the mixboard.

I suppose I’m starting with that and heading back to the first album, working my way through the catalog until I reach the end. Or if you’ve got a better suggestion for where to start, I’d be glad to hear it.

Why Widespread and not someone else? Like mentioned before, I’m not real big into jam bands but I’m interested to see what the draw is. We’ve seen before that the band’s really big into charity, especially stuff with Nuci’s Space like the Voodoo Festival raffle. And I think it goes without saying that I like bands with a sense of duty and purpose. So here goes. Maybe I’ll be done by the time they tour Georgia again.

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