Umphrey’s McGee and Ray’s Music Exchange at the Odeon

Wednesday evening was the annual company ‘event.’ Since no one really knows if it is a Christmas dinner or a fall party or what, it is just known as the ‘event.’ It was at the Crawford Auto Museum, so I pretty much only went to see the antique cars. I saw an electric car from 1906 and a magnetic car from 1912. Had a couple of vodka martinis and played about ten minutes worth of blackjack before leaving. It was alright.

Last evening I saw Ray’s Music Exchange [out of Cincinnati, got another free sticker!] and Umphrey’s McGee, a band that formed at Notre Dame. I seriously don’t know what WBWC is going to do with all of its free concert tickets once Liam moves to NYC.

In any case, both bands are jam bands, which isn’t my thing. Jerrytown was in full effect, flowy dresses, bare feet [in downtown Cleveland, when it is about 30 degrees out!], shagged beards, dreds and caps to keep the dreds in. I realized retroactively that I own a shapeless hat that would have fit in just fine. I was tempted to take a poll and see how many folks had wallets made from duct tape, but did not do so.

Ray’s Music Exchange was technically proficient but lacked the virtuosity and fun that Umphrey’s McGee brought to the stage. It seemed like they were really concentrating on playing more than entertaining. Umphrey’s was much better on the entertainment scale. Their songs actually had words every once in awhile and Phil Lesh, the guitarist, can really wail. Eventually Ray’s Music Exchange joined Umphrey’s on stage and the last song before they took a break actually got me into the show. Adding extra guitars and keys made it sound more solid to me.

We left once they took a break, our eyes were burning from all the cigarette smoke. On our way back to the car we passed a booty-bouncing dance club and a couple of girls who were obviously going there were attempting to parallel park and failing miserably time and again. One of the hoes [and I say this unabashedly for reasons that will become, erm, visible in a moment] was out of the car and trying to give directions to the girl who was trying to not suck at parking and failing at not sucking. This girl was wearing just about nothing, in 30+ degree weather. In fact, as we passed her and got our schadenfreude on, the light cotton ‘skirt’ she was wearing, which appeared to be meant for someone several sizes less anorexic, fell down past her ass, revealing her thong, which, as we all know, means revealing her whole sort-of-saggy backside. Liam missed it, but his wife Anne and I were both unfortunately exposed. She [she being not Anne] nonchalantly pulled ’em up again, as if she is used to that happening. Considering to wrung look of the ‘skirt’ it is quite possible that it has been through one too many nights ground up against some faceless dude.

In any case, we got into our car and marvelled as the girls attempted to parallel park one more time. As we passed them they noticed us laughing at them and Liam honked in derision. He then noted that it wasn’t the quick ‘beep-beep’ of a ‘you’re hot’ nature but more of the ‘honk honnk honnnk’ that is meant to draw people’s attention. Then we went to our respective homes.