It's nearly impossible to over-emphasize the devotion of the band's collective fan bases. Umphrey's McGee has cultivated over the last two decades one of music's most passionate followings with a relentless touring schedule, and impressive studio output. Umphrey's McGee works.... A LOT!!! It stands to reason that they offer their coveted opening slot to Big Something regularly on tour. Big Something has in recent years, worked their way into the conversation as a top-notch group with their relentless touring schedule and studio work as well. The two bands have a genuine respect, and comradery that is rare in the music industry.
The crowd showed up in blistering heat for the early start (6:30) of Big Something. From the opening notes of fan favorite "Megalodon" the N. Carolina natives made the most of their allotted opening set time. Returning East from an extended tour in the West, the band was in great form and tight. It's a beautiful thing to watch a six-piece band perform songs that included a raucous new composition entitled "Timebomb" and a rendition of Pearl Jam's "Alive" near the set end. Big Something is not good. Big Something is GREAT! They are deserving of the accolades they receive, and will no doubt be a headliner in sheds around the country very soon. Go see this band!!!
Umphrey's McGee began their set with a blistering sun beginning to fade, and a crowd anxious for a great night of music. Umphrey's wasted no time in rejuvenating the Big Something energy in the crowd with the opening combination of Nipple Trix>Bridgeless>. Lead singer/guitarist Brendan Bayless paused to thank the crowd for their attendance in the heat, and to recollect his upbringing in Virginia's Norfolk. Six songs would follow to the 1st set closer including an immaculate "Miami Virtue".
With the sun not being present any longer, lighting director extraordinaire Jefferson Waful (who is retiring soon) was able to present an incredible lightscape for the band to play in harmony with. The set bordered at times on a heavy metal show with guitarist Jake Cinnegar's love of the genre shining through. Midway into the set, during "40's Theme" Brendan Bayless dedicated the song to Big Something. "When I say Big, you say Something"! The call/chant was an incredible gesture from a band giving respect to their friends and lasted long enough for both fan bases to pay their respect as well. Also included in the set was a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" and a grand finale of the Umphrey's classic "All In Time".
- Tim Hobert