This past Saturday regional powerhouse Umphrey’s McGee came back to Indy for their annual hometown throw down. They took the stage at the Lawn at White River State Park. Local jazz/electronica after locals Cosby Sweater opened in support. The night began as any would in preparation for an Umphrey’s show: cookouts across town, local bars organizing party buses, talks of after parties and – of course – what would the weather be like. With impending rain clouds on the horizon, both bands jumped to social media to inform fans that the show was going to start early, prompting most to cut their pre-show festivities short.
The night started with Cosby Sweater starting almost an hour early, but still managing to bring the heat as usual. Unfortunately a lot of fans still arrived as if they didn’t know about the weather and the venue wasn’t as full as it could have been. As people continued to file in, doing little dance grooves as they swerved in between lawn chairs, many headed straight to the beer tent knowing a cold, albeit slightly overpriced, beer was more then necessary to begin the night. The sky continued to get dark and ominous; we knew it was coming, we also knew the show must go on.
As Umphrey’s took the stage everybody pushed forward, crowding the stage and locking most people into their designated dance spots. A new addition to the lawn – a barrier that surrounded what would now be considered the pit – was a perpetual annoyance. It divided the crowd into two sections with the only way into the pit through a bottleneck entrance. Security was unobtrusive, at least no more than usual and the venue staff was helpful once the rain came.
And oh did it come; somewhere in between “Puppet String” (a new track from the new album) and “Tribute” the rain started slow, then it grew and grew. Eventually the band stopped and asked everybody to exit the venue because the show had been postponed. People flocked to the streets looking for the closest place to get shelter from the rain. Many headed under bridges that lined the canal, and the underground parking garage filled quickly as people walked around discussing their individual Umphrey’s experience and looking for trouble to get into.
After about 45 min we got the word that the show would go on. With security temporarily disabled, fans rushed into the venue with full force toward the stage. The real fans headed to the beer tent, then to the stage.
Umphrey’s came back out in full force and brought a heater of a show. The rain continued for another hour but that did not stop the wild dance moves and sick bass lines. “Miss Tinkles Overture” started things off then delved deep into “Booth Love” followed by a cover of the song “Kinky Reggae”. Saxophonist Nick Gerlach of Cosby Sweater sat in to crush it on a great version of “40’s Theme” then “Linear,” the first song of their new album, Similar Skin.
Then things got serious, Conduit>Yoga Pants>Conduit>Snucka 1 & 2> Hurt Bird Bath. After the show many fans were saying the Hurt Bird Bath was one of the best they’ve seen this tour, and I can say they are right.
After the show ended, everybody was more than satisfied with what they had. The weather made the whole experience that much more special and nobody was disappointed. Fans filed into the streets of downtown, many headed to the bars, to their cars or to their homes. Our 30-person, neon green school bus took us to our favorite local bar where we got to check out even more live music. An Umphrey’s McGee hometown throw down is never a show to miss, and despite the rain they did not fail us.
Thanks guys, and good luck on your tour.