Dżem in Polish means jam, as in blueberry jam, and is pronounced exactly the same. In 1973 a band calling themselves “Jam” from the English meaning “jam sessions” was due to play a concert but the organizer mistakenly used a Polish spelling of the word and thus Dżem was born.
Forty years later Dżem is Poland’s most famous rock & blues band and is still touring and still rocking every show. Originally Karolina and I both meant to attend their concert along with some friends of ours but Karolina’s work got in the way and she wasn’t even in the country at the time. That of course didn’t stop me from going… though I did shed a tear or two on the slow songs because of my lonesomeness 😉
The concert took place in Bierutów, a small town about 30km north of Wrocław where our friends Agnieszka and Maciej are from. Turns out that the mayor of the city likes to have fun, too, and he’s been organizing Dżem concerts annually for a few years now. While the entire event was located in a school gymnasium the stage was professionally set by the band and it didn’t really feel like a gym once the concert started.
First up was a young local couple whose names I don’t recall. The dude on the guitar was pretty good but unfortunately his vocal partner was a bit shy to say the least, and they didn’t exactly click on stage.
Next up was a great blues band from Toruń called Open Blues. While my video below doesn’t show it please see the official YouTube film to really get a feel for their music. They had some good American covers, but it’s their original Polish stuff that was really rockin’. I didn’t know I liked Polish blues until I heard them. Is it just me or does the guitarist look a little like Al Bundy?
The third and final band of the evening was of course Dżem. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan because I happen to know huge fans and no, I can’t recognize every one of their songs within the first two seconds. But I do like quite a few of their songs and like ’em even more now that I’ve seen them in concert. The lead singer is not original, in fact the original vocalist, Ryszard Riedel, is sort of a hero in his own right. He pretty much put the band on the map, but because of his drug addiction and a very rough personal life he passed away in 1994 at the age of 38. The current lead vocalist is Maciej Balcar who’s been with the band since 2001. I think he does a damn good job, and actually prefer his singing, if I may express my opinion on that matter.
Altogether it was almost a 5 hour show and we still had a night full of partying to go after that. A big Thank You to our friends who made that night possible, you know who you are, and everyone else can see you on the photos below 😉
A word about my concert film. Turns out that my DSLR does a really bad job at recording concert audio. I didn’t expect much of course, but at times our proximity to the bands’ speakers really made the captured footage unbearable. So please watch this short film with a grain of salt. Thanks.
Ohh, and I almost forgot. What the hell is this?
Dude, 1979 called, it wants its carpet back. And please don’t kick my ass if you ever see me around the town. There’s really only a hand full of people who read my blog, no one saw you.
Here’s my short film from the concert:
And here are a couple of videos to give you a true feel for the bands that played that night.