In their almost 20 years as a band, Indiana’s Umphrey’s McGee has performed over 100 shows each year and amassed a staggering catalogue. How staggering? Enough to play First Avenue 3 nights in a row, 2 sets per night and have many fans come to all 3 shows.
I had heard their name but was not familiar with their work at all. The crowd was younger than I expected in the 20s-40s and First Avenue was busy when their first set started. Contrary to most bands UM as they are known to their fans allow audio recording and have a generous photo policy at their shows.
Known for their mashups UM has been weaving Prince songs into their set over the last week and yesterday started their set with a fabulous rendition of “Controversy” bathing the stage in purple and getting loud cheers from the crowd. Getting their fans into the right mood, the band played several songs before the greeting them. Not usually a big fan of jam bands, I have to say, I liked their sound and music. There was a distinct difference between songs rather than the stereotypical 90 minutes of the same tune. Their style varied with a few bits of heavy metal cords glimpsing through at times, which is not surprising as they cite Maiden and GnR as some of their influences.
The lights were fantastic augmenting First Avenue’s already pretty good house lights. At times there were solid beams of light reaching out from the stage blocking the camera’s view of the artist. Given the Star Wars figurines on stage, maybe that was quite intentional – who would not want a turbo laser on stage? Overall I enjoyed Umphrey’s McGee quite a bit more than I expected. They are playing tonight (Friday) and Saturday with some tickets still available. Go see them, if you are in the mood for a solid evening of music.
Set 1: Controversy (Prince cover) / Bright Lights, Big City / Out of Order / Made to Measure / Robot World / Attachments / End of the Road / Cut the Cable / Similar Skin
Set 2: Go to Hell / The Linear / Hajimemashite / Speak Up / Push the Pig / Conduit / Plunger / Cherub Rock (The Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Encore: Phil’s Farm