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Dave Matthews Band - Love Or Hate, But Why So Polarizing?
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Dave Matthews Band   -   Love Or Hate, But Why so Polarizing?

For some reason, the words "Dave Matthews Band" has a polarizing effect on most people. You either hate or love the band and/or their music, but why? Below I will attempt to make sense of the madness. There are many reason as to why a person will love or hate something as intangible as music. It actually makes a lot of sense if you do not enjoy listening to a certain genre. I know a lot of people who despise country music. I know a lot of people who simply cannot stand rap music. These people will physically become upset if they are subjected to hearing such horrible sounds. And I get it. Personally, I enjoy most types of music. I can listen to Lady Gaga on one radio station, turn the dial and enjoy an NPR segment of classical music, then turn to the local country station and jam out to Summertime by Kenny Chesney. Even my coworkers find my Spotify playlists pretty interesting. But I do understand that people have different tastes in everything. Music is no exception.

I suppose it isn't challenging to understand the physical response to music either. We all have that one song that takes us back to a certain time in our past. Maybe a song you heard in high school reminds you of your old friends and the carefree lifestyle you enjoyed then. Perhaps you experienced your first kiss and a song was playing in the background. Every time you hear it, the emotions from that first kiss swells back up inside. Music is designed to strike an emotional chord. So I do get it. But why is there such a polarizing response to an individual band? You might even love the genre, but truly resent anyone who likes a certain band or group. I believe the reasoning is too complex for a general and broad answer.

As a huge Dave Matthews Band fan, I can at least shed light onto the reasons behind why people love or hate this band. I've witnessed firsthand other people's responses when I tell them I'm a hardcore DMB fan. If they also are fans, we share a bonding moment and discuss the latest setlist. On the opposite end, if they can't stand the band, they do not hold back. The courteous switch turns off and their hatred for all things DMB radiates from their inner depths.

Fans can be categorized in three categories:

1.) Hardcore Fans: They are members of The Warehouse fan club. They know every song and all the lyrics to the album version. They buy tickets to multiple shows each year and follow them around. Hardcore fans can tell you what song is going to be played next based on which guitar Dave grabs. They own all studio and live release versions of each song- probably even multiple versions (i.e. digital downloads, vinyl, CDs). And they are all members of other fan sites where they receive "inside" information. They watch each night's setlist update and comment chat with others on the fan site of their choice about song placement within the set.

2.) Big Fans: They may or may not be members of the official fan club- but probably are. They know most every song, but may not know the exact lyrics. They will probably catch a show each tour in their local area and own most all of the studio albums and most of the live albums. They may be members of a fan site, but might not be too active- that is, unless an album release or tour has been announced. They may or may not check last night's setlist the next day.

3.) Casual Fans: May not own but a few of the albums but can sing along to most songs. They know all of the radio hits. They probably have attended a concert or two. They don't like every song, but love the ones they do like.

The Dave Matthews Band stigma is a result of two things. The first being the snootiness of the Hardcore and Big Fans. A lot of them seem to believe they know more about their favorite band than anybody else. They feel their favorite band means more to them than others' favorite bands mean to them. The second involves the type of people who attend their concerts. Some listen intently to every live lyric and every Davespeak that takes place truly valuing the experience. These are not the perpetrators. There is another large segment of people at each show (and I hate to call them fans) that HAVE to drink as much as possible and get wasted. They swear Dave is trashed onstage (which is totally not the case), and want to remember as little as possible. --- Truth be known, I was a little bit like that when I began attending DMB concerts back in the early 2000s.

Any way you look at it, there is a polarizing atmosphere surrounding the Dave Matthews Band. My suggestion is to get immersed in the music and let it take you wherever it will. Forget what others think, and enjoy the greatest band of all time.


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