Jamtronica was the name of the game on Friday, August 30th at the Mann Center (Skyline stage) as Sound Tribe Sector Nine (STS9) and Umphrey’s McGee hit Philly for a night of visual and auditory stimulation.
The show started on the early side with opening act Up Until Now getting things started at 645pm. The early start time meant an early start to the parking lot festivities as well. The full on hippie fest was well under way when we arrived shortly before 6pm with fans both young and old enjoying the nice weather, beverages, and each others company.
It seemed like everyone we spoke to had strong feelings about which band (STS9 or Umphrey’s) they were more excited to see. Several people we talked to had come specifically for STS9 and the Umphrey’s fans were all in full effect.
Jamtronica shows bring out a unique crowd of people from small children (with their parents of course) to grizzled dead-heads looking for their jam fix in a post Jerry Garcia era.
STS9 hit the stage just after 730pm with the daylight fading for the first 30 minutes of their set. Blending elements of live rock with electronic elements, STS9 is hands down one of our favorite live acts on the scene today. While their songs do not feature lyrics (performed by the band) they often use samples with vocals, like a sweet one from Fatboy Slim that they dropped on Friday night.
Bass player David Murphy (simply referred to as “Murph” by STS9 fans) is somewhat of a fan favorite and the chants of “Murrrrrrph” could be heard throughout their set from the crowd.
When the sun set, the stunning light show that is synonymous with STS9 shows was on full display. Tribe shows aren’t just a concert for your ears; they are a complete show for your eyes as well.
Unlike other concerts where the majority of fans are trying to press up close to the stage, this audience was much more spread out for this show as many people opted to hang out towards the back of the lawn, lounging on blankets, playing with hula hoops, and enjoying beers and food from the numerous food trucks on site.
STS9 finished up around 930pm and just before 10pm Umphrey’s McGee hit the stage. Umphrey’s is more of a traditional jam band than STS9 is, more in the veins of Phish, the Dead, and Moe. Their rabid fan-base often tours the country with them, hitting city after city, show after show.
Many of Umphrey’s songs do feature vocals and the band is also known to rock many covers like an improvisation of “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against The Machine, that they busted out amidst an equally impressive light show.
The evening concluded close to midnight with both bands jamming together, with fans enjoying the icing on the proverbial Jamtronica cake.
[Photos by D. Jacob Miller Photography]
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You can view some additional photos and the full set list below (click thumbnails to enlarge):