Umphrey's McGee Presents Chucktown Ball 2015

Umphrey's McGee Presents Chucktown Ball 2015

The groundbreaking progressive psychedelic rock band Umphrey’s McGee graced Charleston this past weekend for a three-night long jam/livetronica party, with a few bumps along the way. Performing an amazing sequence of sets (2 each night,) UM killed it—as expected by all of their diehard fans here in the Holy City. Playing a progressively better set from Thursday to Saturday night, Umphrey’s was all we anticipated and more.

The first night got off to a rocky start—to say the least. From power failure causing a late start to the AC not working all night long, Umphrey’s did what they could to overpower the aspects of the Music Farm that were lacking Thursday night. As we all know, local music venues are limited to just a few, the Farm being probably the most popular amongst them. Granted, there were storms all night long, but it really created a rough atmosphere inside the sold out show. Becoming a sauna after the AC loss due to the power situation, the Farm was less than comfortable and it was impossible to not be dripping in sweat bumping into each other while trying to enjoy the beautiful music these guys play.

The music itself was, of course, impressively artistic and the performance was incredible. Umphrey’s, a band from South Bend, Indiana, played a variety of songs to kick off the weekend and build up to Saturday night. Brendan Bayliss was nothing short of amazing on vocals and guitar. Backing him up was Ryan Stasik on the bass and Andy Farag on percussion—a personal favorite of mine. Joel Cummins also stole my heart on the keyboards during a complex solo during a song or two. Mixing it up with an AC/DC cover and some improvisation, UM rocked it out and the audience responded with total delight despite the difficulties of the venue and the nastiness of all the sweaty people packed in there like sardines. Playing classics like "Anchor Drops," "Much Obliged," and "Comma Later," the guys put an irresistible taste in our mouths that had the people who only had one-night tickets willing to do anything and everything possible to get last-minute tickets to the following nights.

By Friday night the Music Farm had gotten it together and fixed the AC issue, only to impress the crowd even more with a harder, edgier set showcasing the Umphrey’s we all know and love. Constantly looking to raise the bar, UM played recognizable songs like "Miami Virtue," "Domino Theory," and a cover of The Beatles’ "I Want You (She’s So Heavy)," with a few unknown tunes in the mix. We were on the edge and ready for the cherry on top that was the third night.

On Saturday we could UM had been saving the best for last, proving their tendency towards ever-changing set lists. The weekend came to an explosive end when they rocked the venue to the ground with their awe-inspiring light show (manned by the one and only Jefferson Waful). Meshing together in perfect harmony with the musical talent, the band members gave all they had to their loving audience who projected it right back.  This weekend had a lot to offer and left us feeling satisfied that we had our Umphrey’s fix until the next time we are lucky enough to catch them again.

We got really lucky to have such an amazing band throw a sort of mini-festival, if you will, in our beautiful town. It was their second-to-last stop on the East coast on their 2015 tour, heading to the Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA October 26th and 27th before heading out west to Wisconsin and Colorado. You can also catch Umphrey’s at home if you tune into their “Couch Tour” online at

Videography by Big Funk Photography