Have you ever felt music—not heard it, but actually felt it? Umphrey’s McGee, playing Iroquois Amphitheater on Thursday, makes you feel music with their extended jams and intoxicating sound.
Yes, they’re one of those jam bands, but that should not deter you. With Umphrey’s McGee, I won’t necessarily tell you that you must go to a show to understand them. Umphrey’s McGee is a bit different.
Many jam bands do not focus on making a full cohesive album, but rather let the songs take full form once they figure out how to elevate them to their highest point during a concert.
For the first time in their career, this past year, Umphrey’s McGee went to the studio with a focus on a cohesive, fluid album. They wanted to make a rock record and the finished product was filled with tight riffs and surprisingly great gang vocals and harmonies. “Cut The Cable,” one of the songs on this record called “Similar Skin” released on June 10, has had regular air time on WFPK.
While I could continue rave to you about this past album, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t say that without the live show, Umphrey’s McGee would be nothing. Their shows contain two sets of material and one of the most fantastic light shows you have ever seen.
You also cannot squeeze them into one genre. They play many genres, but I could probably give you a better indication by listing a few of the songs they cover They include Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Toto’s “Africa,” Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” and Rush’s “YYZ.”
These cover songs are evidence that they have a wide variety of influences and with three guitarists, two percussionists, and one keyboard player, Umphrey’s McGee syncs these sounds to form their own. It’s also another reason why their shows are so exciting. Their songs are not formatted the same and it won’t be but a few minutes until another instrument is spotlighted.
Most jam bands, while not exactly hit or radio friendly have one song that sounds liked it could or should be. For Phish, it’s “Down With Disease” and for Umphrey’s McGee, if you want to get introduced to them, it’s “In The Kitchen.”
Umphrey’s McGee plays at Iroquois Amphitheater this Thursday, August 14. Doors are at 5:30 and the show begins at 7. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band opens. Tickets are $22.50 in advance and $25 on the day of the show.