ARRINGTON, Va. — Lockn’ music festival attendee Phil Johnson thought it would be a great idea to take his friend, Lloyd Cooper, along for his annual trip to one of Virginia’s most popular concert series. The only issue? Cooper is not the biggest fan of jam bands.
Cooper explained, “I’m a pretty big music fan, but I never could get into jam bands. There’s just something about them…I dunno…not playing actual songs…that I just couldn’t get on board with.”
Despite feeling unenthused by the prospect of watching several old white men play discordant notes for 27 minutes on a series of instruments that wouldn’t seem out of place at a Renaissance Fair, Cooper still tagged along and tried to remain interested.
Johnson did his best to reassure Cooper that, despite the 12 Grateful Dead tributes, countless Phish shout-outs, and multiple covers of The Allman Brothers Band songs, something new was on the horizon.
“I kept telling Lloyd that he would definitely love the next band, but unfortunately each subsequent band was more of the same… and also Lloyd has a weird little hang-up about acid, so I knew there wasn’t any help for him,” Johnson said.
Unfortunately for Cooper, the lineup was well stocked with fairly obscure Virginia jam bands. Self-styled “Dad Rock” jam band, Cheap Beer and Lawnmowers, played their entire catalogue, which consisted of one 45-minute song. Next up was a more political jam band, Rory and the Liberal Media, which, instead of music, played the same two guitar chords over a live stream of MSNBC. Sneeze Corn, the best act from benefit concert Farm Aid, continued the evening with a 30-minute rant about sugarcane subsidies, which was set to a meandering piano solo. Finally, the evening wrapped up with King Andy and the Jackson Family Band who played selections from their new album, “Bee in Shop Class,” which was actually just a Grateful Dead greatest hits album played backwards.
After each one, Johnson kept telling Cooper that he’d like the next one, but as the night wore on and Cooper fell asleep after each opener, Johnson’s hope began to wane.
Despite all the signs, Johnson was still optimistic. “This was the first day of the festival, and luckily, I got us tickets to each day. Man, I haven’t been this excited since Woodstock ‘99.”
Cooper was last seen in a porta potty trying to detox with a Spotify playlist of Iron Maiden.