Java Jam shows off local talent

Java Jam is an open-mic event held every Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in the Elmo’s section of Southern Oregon University’s Stevenson Union. The Jam showcases local SOU talent, featuring slam poetry, improv acting, short scenes, and, of course, music.

Last Tuesday night was the album release show of Boots and the Cobblers.

Opening for the main act was Neighbors, a synth-duo with an experimental sound.

Arlo Brooks, half of Neighbors (the other half of the duo being Evan McDermott), explained a little bit about the Java Jam: “It’s a great resource to have a way to play live,” said Brooks. “There aren’t many venues in Ashland, and we play very experimental music, so it’s cool that we have an outlet.”

Neighbors is akin to Daft Punk in space, with distorted vocals and sound bytes.  The guys put their heart and soul into the performance, with an especially manic Brooks working up a sweat, throwing himself around the stage. As the opening act came to a close, it was near time for the main event.

Before Boots and the Cobblers started playing, Jake Haigh, the band’s general manager, read a poem about how he wished he could play the fiddle. It was quite emotionally charged.

Then Boots and the Cobblers started playing.  The best way to describe their sound is a hard folk-rock, with southern influences.  Their set was a solid hour, and the band had a hell of a stage presence.  The banter between songs was funny and then the songs, of course, were great.

I would spend more time talking about their new album and their music in general, but I’m saving that for the CD review next week. Look forward to it.

All in all, the Java Jam is pleasantly surprising.  Check it out if you have a free Tuesday night; it’s something new every week, and a good way to see the local talent Ashland has to offer.


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