Mark Griffith sat on the tarp-covered floor of Memorial Coliseum on Sunday night, twirling a glow stick and chatting with friends before his 12th My Morning Jacket concert.
The Georgetown native first heard the Louisville rock band live at Bonnaroo in 2008. He has been hooked ever since, clocking hours on the road to see the group at concerts in New York, Ohio and Louisville.
"I'm so happy I get to sleep in my own bed and see my favorite band," Griffith said Sunday of seeing the internationally known rock ensemble so close to home.
My Morning Jacket, the most successful group to come out of Louisville in years, played just its fourth concert in Lexington on Sunday night and its first in nine years.
Nine years ago, the band was opening club dates for other bands. My Morning Jacket has since grown into a formidable name in rock, with headlining spots on many of the major music festivals, including Tennessee's Bonnaroo, releasing critically acclaimed albums and appearances on showcases including Saturday Night Live. The band's next album, Circuital, is due out in late May.
Frontman Jim James told the Herald-Leader last week that he started working on some of the first My Morning Jacket songs when he was briefly an art student at the University of Kentucky.
Chris Duncan, director of the UK Student Activities Board Concert Committee, said the committee was fortunate to book the group before its summer concert tour.
"We like to take surveys, and when we surveyed the students, My Morning Jacket was one of the bands people wanted to see," Duncan said before Sunday's concert.
Duncan said that to pull off a rock concert — which included opening act Ben Sollee, a Lexington native — it takes days of preparation and more than 45 student volunteers and 50 members of the Student Activities Board.
UK Student Activities typically has one large concert in the spring. Last year's concert, featuring hip-hop artist Drake, sold more than 5,000 tickets. Sunday night's show sold roughly half as many tickets. Many in the crowd before Sollee's opening act Sunday were not UK students, but young adults in their 20s or 30s who could afford the $45 to $50 ticket prices.
Jared Salyers of Morehead was willing to pay a premium to see My Morning Jacket.
"I've been a fan since about 2003," Salyers said. "I've never seen them before. They have played in Louisville before, but this is the closest that they've ever played."
As the coliseum began to fill up with concertgoers Sunday, Griffith said he attends many concerts, and not just for the music.
"It's the community feeling," Griffith said. "Everybody likes everybody at a concert."