FM 94/9 Independence Jam Review

Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre in Oceanside played host to local radio station FM 94/9’s Independence Jam Sunday, Sept. 7. The line-up featured headliners Phantogram as well a variety of bands which included, among others, Walk The Moon, Joywave, and Bad Suns. Indie Jam was spread across two stages alternating between the main stage and the smaller Red Bull Jam Bus.

94/9 has gotten running Indie Jam down to a science. There is no long waits between sets due to the two stages, but at the same time there is never a feeling of being rushed to get from one performance to another. Even though this wasn’t the most entertaining lineup they’ve ever offered, the whole festival was thoroughly entertaining.

The Junior Seau Amphitheatre is a beautiful venue and the $17 price for a ticket is a steal. A piece of advice those that feel overwhelmed by the idea of standing in the large group in front of the stage, in close proximity to a stranger who smells like B.O. and stale Miller Lite, with a crushing weight of people surrounding you and keeping you from moving. Go ahead and shell out the extra 10 bucks for the prime VIP seating. The VIP seating guarantees that you will be able to find a seat, and the seat provided is prime real-estate directly in front of the stage.

Wild Cub

This Nashville based band kicked off the Red Bull Tour Bus stage with their upbeat dance tunes that started with LCD Soundsystem-inspired indie rock songs, then slowly strayed from the electric vibe into a more emotional feel.

The band had a hipster aesthetic with more Macklemore haircuts than the SDA surf team. The majority of the band members also seemed to have a serious allergy. To sleeves. (I mean, why else would so many bony, pale men be wearing tank tops?) Luckily the band was able to tough it out and bare their scrawny farmer’s tanned arms to the world in a wide range of seemingly carelessly made, but really quite labor intensive tank tops and sleeveless T’s.

While their whole set was decently catchy, Wild Cub had only one really memorable song, their single “Thunder Clatter,” which was enthusiastically received by the crowd.

Highlight of the Performance: At one point the lead singer had some of the most viciously enthusiastic maraca playing I have ever had the pleasure to witness.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business

Back on the main stage, there was a nice change of pace from the shaved-on-the-sides-long-on-the-top style that many of the performers had in the form of J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Unlike the over manicured images that many contemporary bands maintain, J. Roddy and his band had a style similar to what the brothers on Duck Dynasty must have looked like 20 years and 50 pounds ago.

Accompanying their rougher look was a rougher sound. Starting with a song that would be naively optimistic to name anything other than the sole, screamed lyric of “YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” Walston gave the crowd a taste of real rock-n-roll, not the watered down indie variety that comes in surplus these days. A wide range of rock was played in the 45-minute set, ranging from hair whipping beats with lyrics that some-what resembled words to slower piano and vocally driven ballads. The common theme heard and felt through every song was the head noddingly catchy beat at a volume that could be physically felt. Apparently big fans of “Spinal Tap” the band had no trouble turning it up to eleven, creating an earsplitting experience.

While thoroughly entertaining, the performance did leave me with a few questions, namely, how on earth did lead singer J. Roddy Walston avoid getting a hair ball? This seemed an unfathomable task as he had hair that reached halfway down his back with a beard to match that he whipped around like an umbrella caught in gale force winds.

Highlight: After much practice and several failed attempts J. Roddy successfully taught the crowd how to point in time to the music.


In a day filled with awkward dancing, perhaps none was more awkward than that of Daniel Armbruster, the lead singer of Joywave. Sporting a pencil mustache and legs so skinny chopsticks were beginning to contemplate Weight Watchers, Armbruster moved in a way uniquely his own. Looking like his feet were glued to the ground and the upper halves of his arms were bound to his sides, leaving the bottom halves to dangle freely, Armbruster flopped to and fro, occasionally throwing his hands around the mic when the mood seized him. The music was supremely catchy and the singer displayed his wide vocal range by going from decently low to a high pitch that can only be possible with the aid of his tight black jeans.

After a solid set of crowd moving tunes Joywave finished on a high note, rolling out their single “Tongues” to send off the crowd.

Highlight: The bass guitarist’s signature dance move. The move included lots of shoulders and hips being thrown around to the beat of the song.

Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon was immediately a crowd pleaser. Starting by walking out to the theme song of Game of Thrones, they immediately launched into one of their many fast-paced dance songs. With a haircut rarely seen off of a world cup soccer pitch, lead singer and lead air guitarist, Nicholas Petricca immediately grabbed the attention of all. His hair cut was complemented with his high energy and a fan that created the effect of being constantly windswept.

Sticking mostly to tunes from their debut album “Anna Sun” and ep “I Want! I Want!” the band also debuted a number of songs from their upcoming as-yet unnamed album.

Whereas J. Roddy and the Business taught the crowd to point together Walk the Moon educated the masses in the art of clapping together. This is a task that sounds deceptively easy as the lack of rhythm displayed by such a large amount of people was simply shocking.

Highlight: About halfway through the set when the guitarist played the Super Mario theme song to the audience’s delight.


Appropriately, the best performance of the day was from headliners Phantogram. Vocalist, Sarah Barthel held the audience rapt with her siren song voice, moving them as one in a fit of passion. Though the songs performed by Barthel were nothing short of perfection the mood dropped quite obviously every other song when the other singer, Josh Carter, took the lead. Carter was good, but, after having heard perfection in Barthel, his performances left the crowds wanting something more. Regardless, the performance as a whole was impressive.

Lowlight: Since the whole performance was in-it-of-itself a highlight, the one thing that stuck out was the fact that Phantogram was under strict orders not to do an encore because of Oceanside noise ordinances.