Why hating Dave Matthews Band is less cool than liking them


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Dave Matthews Band is Sunday's big draw for the inaugural River's Edge Festival on St. Paul's Harriet Island. Umpteen die-hard fans who buy the tickets, the merch, and the music are looking forward to another experience with DMB or just "Dave."

However, the 20-years-plus-old Virginia jam-rock band is just one in a line of bands long past the hope of garnering popular critical favor -- especially considering the outcome of our sibling paper LA Weekly's recent "worst bands" list. For many, DMB was Nickelback before Nickelback was Nickelback.

Just as no one will call you innovative for liking Radiohead at this point, we know all of this already. Like Robert Mitchum's "LOVE/HATE" knuckle tattoos in The Night of the Hunter, there is no middle ground -- nobody thinks DMB is "just sort of OK," and it isn't even worth rehashing anymore. Or is it?

Beginning with "What Would You Say" off 1994's Under the Table and Dreaming, DMB had a string of hits that continued on for some three years afterward. A lot of pot-smoking, hacky-sack-playing, backward-baseball-cap-wearing "trustafarians" followed along like a doggy on a string. For a time, DMB seemed to be an unstoppable force, but one with all the charm of a Chilean mudslide.

But then jam bands and Birkenstocks fell out of vogue, and Dave's bus driver accidentally dumped 800 pounds of sewage onto a boat filled with tourists, and we all guffawed. But that incident was back in '04!

Although at the time, it was easy to make "Don't Drink the Water" jokes, but with DMB's diminishing pop presence, people have since moved on and aimed their venom at Nickelback, Creed, Foster the People, and Kreayshawn.


Today, someone saying "Dave Matthews Band sucks" carries no more lasting resonance than uttering observations about the weather.

And yet, it is a little worrisome.

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