Tour Diary: U-Melt’s Zac Lasher (Pt. 2)

4/21 – Making set lists for the Colorado run

It’s a new week and we flip our song list today. For this tour we’re working with an active repertoire of 60 songs including covers (in a two set show, we’ll generally play 12 – 14 songs).  We’ll try to play everything on the list during the course of the run, though we probably won’t end up playing every cover we know.

We usually end up picking songs for each show on a night by night basis, but today we went through and divided up the songs for the next four nights in Colorado.  Rob and I put a pretty good deal of thought into each set list.  We take a lot into consideration. Aside from the obvious factors of not repeating songs from night to night, we try not to repeat songs from the last time we were in the town, so the local audience will see a different side of what we do from the last time we came though.

For this run, we’re working with a song list that Rob organized by album.  We always tend to play our more recent music more often, so we’re making an effort to keep songs from the first two albums in each show along with our later stuff.  We also have to make sure that each show has its share of fan-favorites, dance party tunes, moments for exploratory improvisation, we have to make sure there aren’t too many slow moments, or too many instrumentals in each show… It’s quite a process.  And even after we’ve picked which show each song will be in, we often end up swapping a few in and out once we start putting them in order – which is a whole other task.

You want each set to have a good arc to it.  Certain songs have to segue into something.  Segues need to make sense harmonically.  All in all, it takes us about 20 – 30 minutes to make a set list.  Today we took about an hour to pick songs for all four shows, but we haven’t put them all in order yet.  We’ll probably save that for the day of the show.

Be sure to check back on Friday at 1PM for the third and final installment of Zac Lasher’s Tour Diary. U-Melt returns to the Summer Camp Festival this weekend for two sets and returns to the Mountain Jam festival the next weekend. On June 4, the quartet comes home to Long Island for a post-Phish show at what’s become a home venue of sorts – Mulcahy’s in Wantagh. The Mulcahy’s show starts at 11:45PM and tickets are currently available here.

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7 Responses

  1. If you would bother to look past the offramp Zac, you would see plenty of culture, tradition and history in small town America.
    Your description is as arrogant and stereotypical as the subjects you seek to deride.

  2. unfortunately, in my travels I am often too busy to look past the exit ramps. The vast majority of my life on the road is spent in transit. I can only speak for what I see, and from a van window it all looks very vast and homogeneous. where I come from it all looks the same too, except everything is much closer together… and dirtier. I seek to deride no one.

  3. Actually, I think what Zac observes is pretty right on. Agribusiness has pushed out the smaller farms and made places like Iowa into one big ethanol plant. Culturally, the rise of meth use in rural areas has pretty much turned into the Jeffersonian pipe dream into a crack house nightmare. This is also broad brushing, but I think you could see sameness as symptomatic of a larger problem. Zac, I’m not that familiar with U-Melt, but thanks for taking the time to share. You have gotten me interested.

  4. No, I agree. I just mean that the highway view isn’t exactly representative of a “part of the country.” The freeway offramps in the city are devoid of local color and culture too. But that’s not what they are there for.

  5. as with the first part, i enjoyed zac’s entry. as with zac, when i cruised the great american highways across the midwest, I too felt very similarly about the landscape. Nothing to take personal ‘D’…Just the dude’s OBSERVANCES. that same culture I/he missed off the exits are the same cultural class hopefully coming out to support said band.

  6. THANK YOU Zac!!! This is great; I absolutely LOVE hearing bands talk about how they go about making up setlists.

    As a guitarist, I know the fun in constructing setlists, and kind of having that secret inside knowledge, where you know something the crowd doesn’t, where you know you’re gonna drop that Jessica > Mike’s Song to open your show (when my band played our local high school graduation celebration party from 11-6am… LONG LONG night. hah)

    anyway… this is awesome. U-Melt is fucking terrific. Lots of bands are doing lots of things today, but no band is doing anything like what U-Melt is doing.

    The organic progressive dance party. mmm mmmmmmm

    Thanks again for playing Missed for me 😉

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