For those that were there, the four night Umphrey’s McGee run was about more than just mind-blowingly amazing music. It was about the community. What the Brooklyn Bowl gave us last week was not just eight amazing sets and six amazing encores of a band we love – they gave us a chance to feel a part of something and to feel at home in their venue and bowling hall.
Don’t get me wrong – the music didn’t hurt either. From the surprise Bobby appearance, to hearing “Nipple Trix > Booth Love > Miss Tinkle’s Overture” right off the bat on Thursday, to the unbelievable electronic jam of “The Triple Wide” on Tuesday night, to the Divisions reprise on Friday and then the sing-along enthusiasm of “Front Porch” to end it all – it was a dream come true for lovers of Umphrey’s McGee, live music, and jams.
Maybe I’m biased because I’m a huge Umphrey’s fan and the very thought of a 4-night run was enough to put me in a good mood for the entire month of September, but I really felt something real was happening there those four nights. I had just moved down to New York City from Boston on September 3rd, and decided to take on the task of leading HeadCount’s teams at every night of last week’s run. By Friday night, I felt like a part of the city and a part of this music community in New York. Seeing and talking with the people who were there every night created a sense of community and friendship that made the Brooklyn Bowl feel like more than just another venue – but like the familiar meeting place of you and 1,000 of your closest friends. Being able to say “goodnight, see you for the show tomorrow!” put a smile on my face and connected me to the community that I was a stranger to only days before.
Even the band members could be seen walking around the venue: chilling out eating fried chicken and drinking Brooklyn Lager at the restaurant, chatting up Pete Shapiro and the rest of the Brooklyn Bowl staff, and even visiting the non-profit tables and taking the opportunity to talk to volunteers and get to know what we were doing (drummer Kris chatted with HeadCount on Wednesday before the show and even answered our community question).
Which brings me to my next point – what these four nights of Umphrey McGee showed me is that our music community is something real. It’s filled with good people who all have good things to say and who bring good things to the table other than their mutual love for live music. I know this because I spoke with so many of you over these past four nights, and know all the amazing things you have to offer.
This is why HeadCount is here. To mobilize the music community and give a voice to a live music force that deserves to be heard. For me, realizing that and seeing it in action was the ultimate highlight of Brooklyn’s four-night run of Umphrey’s McGee.