In their much needed return to St. Louis, the road dogs known as Bumpin’ Uglies continued on their pursuit for the setting sun. The reggae-infused boys played to a pretty good sized crowd for a Wednesday night on October 19th at The Old Rock House, just south of the famous Gateway Arch. It was a perfect Fall night, which the St Louis area has been getting a lot of these past couple weeks. Without a single cloud in the sky, the air was nice and crisp, but not too cold, leaving just enough room for the skilled music that was happening inside to warm everyone’s soul the rest of the way up.
Starting the night was the energetic and charismatic Cali boy, Kyle Smith, who began hitting the crowd with an entertaining mix of reggae, punk and dub from the second he stepped on the stage. Hyping the audience up for the entire set, it was nothing short of what I would have expected from this relatively new name to the reggae community, who—you could tell—was stoked to be out on tour and having the time of his life. Outside of Kyle doing a killer job as an opener, one of the best moments of the set was when BU drummer T.J. Haslett came onstage and shocked everyone with an expertly executed scream-o filled surprise.
It definitely left fans in the room ready for the main event.
Kyle Smith and his band were the fortunate treat that everyone got to see. Hitting the stage next was headliner Bumpin’ Uglies. After kicking things off with one of the group’s new singles “Wild Girls”, Brandon Hardesty and his fellow bandmates jumped right into an onslaught of everyone’s favorite hits from over the years. It wasn’t long, though, before they started to blend in songs like “Make It Through The Day”, “Hold It In” and “Everything Changes”, some of the new fan-favorites off of the band’s latest album, Mid-Atlantic Dub, which is also being considered for a ‘Best Reggae Album’ nomination at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards!
The last time Bumpin’ Uglies came through this same venue, they had asked fans to send in suggestions of songs for a custom setlist just for this city; this current run was a little different, but with a small section in the middle of the set where songs suggested over Instagram were acknowledged and even impromptu proposals that were yelled out by eager fans resulted in songs like “Optimism in F#” and “Load In, Load Out”. These guys and their insanely relatable lyrics and down-to-earth mentality are why, with this being my second time experiencing a Bumpin’ Uglies show, it absolutely will not be my last. Don’t forget to listen to Mid-Atlantic Dub, available everywhere now!
Photography by Thomas Semonco