Why '90s Bands, Like Pearl Jam, Are Still Relevant

Jena Ardell
Rock would be dead if '90s alternative rock bands called it quits. So why has it become cool to hate on them and discredit their relevance? We all know complainers who claim they don't know why they still attend Pearl Jam shows, yet purchase the band's new album and keep coming back for more.

See also: Pearl Jam Haven't Been Relevant in Years, So Why Do We Still Clamor to See Them Live? via Village Voice

Are people just attending concerts out of habit or nostalgia? With the cost of most big time rock concerts being $80 and up, especially after ticketing fees and parking, we think not. Pearl Jam still packs stadiums like it's 1996. In February, Pearl Jam became Chicago's Wrigley Field fastest concert sell-out ever. Ever. Other alt rock bands, like the Foo Fighters, NIN and Red Hot Chili Peppers have a similar success. These bands prove their relevancy each time they release a new album and it tops the charts. Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt debuted at Number 1 on Billboard Top 200 and sold over 165,000 in the first week to people who are still craving alt rock.

Most '90s band members are in their mid-forties and have children. They're no longer playing shows drunk or getting high with fans; some barely enter paparazzi radar. What these bands are doing, however, is giving more back to their fans. They're playing longer shows; offering enhanced concert experiences; and collaborating with other musicians, which is why it's still worth it to attend a concert of a '90s band.

Yes, you can predict Eddie Vedder's stage moves, but that shouldn't stop you from attending a Pearl Jam concert. Vedder's vocals sound as poignant as ever and the band performs upwards to 34 songs per concert, a vast contrast to newer bands, like Of Monsters and Men who generally only play 15 songs live, simply because don't have enough tracks in their Rolodex. Also since '90s bands have a larger catalog of songs, their set lists are more unique which allows you to enjoy multiple shows per tour. If merch matters to you, '90s bands usually can afford to produce more collectible items, like DMB's posters for example, which can be minor investments. And bonus: The crowd at a '90s band concert usually consists primarily of people in their 30s (and up) who have retired from being obnoxious crowd-surfers or uber territorial pit bitches.

See also: Six Pieces of Dave Grohl Fan Art You Really Must Own

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Terence James
Terence James

Good stuff. Although, this article needs 100% more My Bloody Valentine.

Lauren Boquette
Lauren Boquette

That article overlooked the fact that lyrical content, stage presence and quality songwriting were also things that many of those bands had and still have. Try to find that in current radio rock.

Long Beach, Kalif.
Long Beach, Kalif.

Speaking of mandolins and folk music ... check out the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival THIS saturday! 2 stages of music all day long! Full bar, food trucks, banjo contest, beard/mustache contest ... and yes, we're helping to organize this event, so this is a shameless plug!!!


Relevant, schmelevant. Just listen to what you like. Why is it necessary to analyze the hell out of everyone's music tastes all the time?


Is this what concert going amounts to in capitalist society? HOW CAN I GET THE MOST SONGS FOR THE COST OF MY CONCERTZZ!? I NED EXTREME COMFORT TO WATCH MUZIK! hence, I LIKE PAY BIG MONEY! Some how its not a good concert if a band doesnt play tons of music? I'm sorry that you believe yer satisfaction is more important than the artist expressing themselves for a length of time they are comfortable with. I'm sorry that people who fall in love with the most popular "alternative" bands on the strength of one song cant get serenaded by a large back catalog but that is the fault of people who buy into up-and-coming buzz band popularity-- a trend started and exploited to death in the 90s. So you can thank Nirvana busting onto the scene for that one..

None of those bands are folk bands.. do you know how to define folk music? Just because there isnt tons of overdrive, distortion and macho swagger (or cojones) doesnt mean its not rock music. BY that logic Elvis and Buddy Holly arent rock music either. Same goes for uh... EVERY ROCK GROUP FOM THE 50s EVER... Is Bill Haley and the Comets not rock music? Are the Beatles not rock music? 

A folk riff would be a riff taken from a folk song, which NONE of those bands do.. please find one example where those bands have taken a riff, melody or verse from a folk song (american/appalachian or english would be fine) that turned it into a song they feature on their album and in concert. Not a cover situation or a special song they did once in concert or for a compilation.

Its fine if you want to claim that rock music, for the "folk" bands you listed above, has been watered down into POP friendly music-- that would be true, especially for bands like PB&J who are TRYING TO MAKE POP MUSIC. Simply using a mandolin or banjo in yer song does not make it folk music. If that was the case then AVICII would be making folk music on his new album but he definitely is not. He definitely is making EDM and DJing it like EDM. 

It's offensive to call such shitty bands you listed "folk" music because beyond appropriating acoustic instruments there is nothing folk about them besides shitty accented vocals, fake nasal whine, and tacky designer clothes meant to look bohemian. 

Everyone made a band with their friends starting with Nirvana and punk breaking onto the scene in the 90s. Nirvana came from a culture in Olympia, Washington that encouraged everyone to make their own bands and art that revolved around K Records and Kill Rock Stars.

The faulty logic and lack of musical history knowledge is unbelievable.. by yer logic everyone should be making music that sounds like the Beatles because millions of people who were born after they broke up have fallen in love with them.. Same goes for Black Sabbath and ACDC who fulfill yer requirements (and were ripped off by alt rock in the 90s). 

This post is rockism at its most pathetic and saddest. Alternative Rock was not just the grunge bands (which is the genre of essentially all the bands you listed) and selectively choosing what was "Alternative" (although it sounds pretty mainstream and not alternative by any standards) is the most obvious signal of an inability to comprehend musical taxonomy. Watered down metal/hard rock + apolitical punk died for a reason and the only bands left over to capitalize on it are the most popular bands from that area by virtue of them BEING POPULAR (aka POP music), not because they are somehow "better" rock music than the rock-influenced acoustic-based POP music you listed like M&S (who suck balls no doubt; they are a bunch of rich english kids trying to appropriate idealized rural american culture and mix it with lame "anthemic", overproduced pop music).


@queTico This entire post was poisoned by your incessant need to spell your and you're with "yer" 

Way to go ass clown.... make "yer" entire argument invalid by spelling like a 12 year old girl texting her girlfriends..... 


@queTico  Go find yourself a tambourine and a funny hat, you hipster.

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