There is nothing quite like a seeing a jam band live. You have to understand that you don’t know what you’re going to get, see or hear, but the experience is going to be amazing. No two sets are ever the same, the lighting and visuals will captivate you, and the crowd will be notably friendly. It’s an overly positive, addictive and very beautiful atmosphere. Viewing a jam band like Sound Tribe Sector 9, also known as STS9, or Umphrey’s McGee is something that anyone who loves musical exploration should put on their bucket list.
When you blend a jam band and electronics, it produces a magical harmony that many call jamtronics. For over a decade, STS9 has proven to be a unique band and has risen to the top tiers of the jamtronic music scene. STS9 has had a busy year; in addition to touring with Umphrey’s McGee, they played at festivals such as the All Good Music Festival, BUKU Music Festival, Camp Bisco, Summer Set Festival and Summer Camp Festival.
Since the late 1990s, Umphrey’s McGee has also proven itself to be an extremely talented and precise improvisational jam group. Umphrey’s McGee’s musical abilities are largely underrated and deserve much more attention. Umphrey’s McGee truly masters the art of the jam band.
STS9 and Umphrey’s McGee played for the Philadelphia crowd Aug. 30 at the Mann Center. This was the perfect ambiance for these two bands due to the multifaceted nature of both the venue and the music. To me, a college student interested in a large spectrum of musical genres, this music can be enjoyed in a wide variety of settings including, but definitely not limited to, studying and driving.
The Mann Center has an atmosphere that allows concertgoers to take pleasure in listening to the music in the scenery of their choice. There are two stages, one with assigned seating that has lawn seats in the background and one that is a short walk away and has a general admission arrangement, where one can stroll around and enjoy the music in whichever spot they want at any given moment. STS9 and Umphrey’s McGee played at the general admission Skyline Stage.
When going to see jam bands like STS9 and Umphrey’s McGee live, you’ll notice that many people aren’t there just for the music. It is interesting to witness the different types of people and how they revel in the music. There were both gawkers and ragers in the front few rows, people calmly dancing in the back of the crowd, hula hoop users, attention-grabbing costumes, people sitting on blankets, star gazers, and more.
Even without catchy verses or musical hooks, I’ve witnessed some of the best synergy between a crowd and these two jam bands. They attract a certain judgment-free crowd of people who really make the experience unique to the jam band.