Performer: Widespread Panic
Type of music: Jam rock
About: Hard to believe Widespread Panic has been jamming to capacity crowds for more than three decades. The group got its start in the musical hotbed of Athens, Georgia, and has gathered one of the most loyal fan bases in popular music, thanks to their legendary live performances. Indeed, the band is known for never playing the same show twice, which adds to their mystique.
Nowadays, Widespread isn’t touring at quite the pace they used to, but they have special affection for Birmingham, which is one of the places where early on they began to build their undeniably lasting reputation. “Every time we go out there, we learn more tricks, bring that knowledge with us, and then apply it,” founding vocalist/guitarist John “JB” Bell says on the band’s website. “We’re way more experienced, focused, and to the point, but still willing to stretch out without wandering too much.”
Discography: Twelve studio albums, 10 live concert CDs and one compilation CD. In 2005 the band started making every show they play available for download. Find them at http://livewidespreadpanic.com/.
You might have heard: “Porch Song,” a Widespread classic featuring silky harmonies with hints of country and bluegrass over tumbling percussion. Or “Hope in a Hopeless World,” a more somber number that evokes ‘60s electric blues.
Playing at SlossFest: Widespread Panic will perform on the Blast stage Saturday, July 15, from 10 p.m. to midnight.