UMPHREY'S McGEE | 02.16.07 | SAN FRANCISCO

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Words by: Benji Feldheim

Umphrey's McGee :: 02.16.07 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA


Umphrey's McGee :: 02.16.07 by Dave Vann
2007 is shaping up to be the year when Umphrey's McGee completely annihilate all the rules they once set for playing live. Starting in 2005 and rolling into early 2006, their sound exuded a commitment to structure and written orientations. After the Acoustic Planet tour with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in August of '06, Umphrey's started playing shows with a loose list of songs rather than a firm setlist, picking selections as the show progressed. The band united the urgency of early jamming tendencies with the patience of structure, forging a more explosively unique voice and sound. Their comfort and sensitivity to the entire product has not diminished their exuberance and joy for playing live, and their continued growth is a pleasure to hear.


Jake Cinninger - Umphrey's McGee
02.16.07 by Mike Sherry
Umphrey's McGee returned to San Francisco's legendary Fillmore stage with a snarl after one of their lengthier breaks in several years. They opened the first night of a two evening run with a battery of fuming metal hits. They added layers to the assault, as show veterans puzzled over whether the ferocious opening was a taste of the band's new yet-to-be-released album, The Bottom Half. A familiar theme sprung from the heavy riffs, a reworked vamp to open up "Believe The Lie." The upbeat stomper had a thick urgency and feel. Brendan Bayliss's gritty vocals added to the warm melody. The band tore through a dynamic rise during the bridge, Bayliss and Jake Cinninger's guitars guided the lightning with shrill high-end picking.

"Blue Echo" followed, briefly cooling things out with a synth-backed downbeat. A gentle rock build formed from the trance as Kris Myers hit hard cymbal strikes and Ryan Stasik added a high melody line to his undulating bass work. A blues shuffle brought the band back into the speedy techno version of "Echo." "All In Time" closed the first set with Joel Cummins's psychotic organ prelude to the song's chorus.


Keller Williams with Umphrey's McGee
02.16.07 by Dave Vann
"Hurt Bird Bath," at its most diabolical, started off the second set. Led by a machine-like Cummins piano attack and Andy Farag's mean conga work, things were getting dirty early. The middle section was full of evil machinations as the band made an ambient wall. The tone then got lighter until Umphrey's went into onslaught mode and channeled Iron Maiden with polyrhythms. "Divisions" was dedicated to a loyal show-goer named Amy celebrating her 27th birthday. "Triple Wide" followed turning the rock show into a dance party. Stasik shined on this version, leading the middle jam with rippling slaps. Bayliss and Cinninger complemented the layered bass line with scratchy riffs and wails. The funk dissolved into dissonant howls before the band settled on a swift ska beat. Fittingly, "Partyin' Peeps" continued the island levity.

"Hey guys I got some bad news," said Bayliss. "We've got this friend here who wants to play, but we really don't want him to. But, we're friends, we gotta let him. You don't mind if Keller Williams comes out?"


Ryan Stasik - Umphrey's McGee
02.16.07 by Susan J. Weiand
Williams scatted things into a high spirited climax, then everything mellowed down into a conga-aided vocal jam. The smooth, complexly bright feel of "Kimble" came next. An older UM tune still retaining its shine, the band played it with a great deal of color. The set continued with the snaky riffs and growls of "Resolution." If a song can sound sarcastic, this is it. It's complicated without being uptight, yet the music never lets you forget how tricky it sounds. They returned to "Divisions," a sadly honest tune about relationships changing over time that became a joyful way to close out the set.

Ending the show just as they began, Umphrey's played an absolute monster with "Mulche's Odyssey." After the second verse, they took off on a devilish, thrashy romp that descended into freakish noise, finally emerging as a simple funk groove. Clearly, the time off served the band well and they're pushing their skills as writers and live players farther all the time.

02.16.07 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA
Set I: Believe the Lie, Blue Echo > Passing > Plunger > All In Time
Set II: Hurt Bird Bath, Divisions > The Triple Wide^ > Partyin' Peeps^^, Kimble, Resolution > Divisions
Encore: Mulche's Odyssey
Notes: ^with Jake on keys
^^with Keller Williams on vocals; with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

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[Published on: 2/27/07]

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Comments

landoflizards starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 05:04PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

landoflizards

Sick, absolutely sick. I can't wait for First Ave, Umphs is going to tear it up!!! Long live UM!!

j-bizzle starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 05:38PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

j-bizzle

This show was off the hook. This version of blue echo was the bomb - should have been labeled "blue techno"
They definitely picked up right where they left off on new years.

The1AndOnlyDJCT starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 06:23PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Umphrey's is on fire, I can't wait for their NYC show!

VWFiend starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 06:34PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

woo woo! Great article Benjoo, see you at the canopee.
-Pat

FrogBrigade22 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 06:36PM
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FrogBrigade22

I didn't realize "snaky" was a verb. Anyway, im looking foward to seeing them at summercamp.

Andi80 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 06:37PM
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Andi80

Beautiful weather, beautiful rockin' music! Amazing weekend all the way around! UM is just plain bad ass!

mandobird starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 07:05PM
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mandobird

Sounds like another amazing show. Can't wait to see the UMPH jam with Adrian Belew in MI, it shall be sick!

kaiserbun starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 07:21PM
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can't wait for athens tomorrow night!

voodoochili12 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 08:01PM
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love umphs, hated the artcile. It was just bad.

JRyan starstarstar Tue 2/27/2007 11:05PM
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I have to agree with VC12. UM are making their mark, but these super-fan style reviews overwrought with super-fan adjectives are not helping advance the band. UM are inventive and creative - let's try to convey that using words people outside the scene will understand.

buck72 starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 04:51AM
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buck72

I need my umph fix soon, now I will be listening to shows at work all day,Double night at the Murat in April cant come soon enough, but only a couple of weeks until Michigan, South Bend..... The boys are on fire, keep it coming Jambase.

torn&treyed starstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 06:57AM
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yea he could have mentioned that one complaint alot of people had early on was that they didn't jam enough and their now fomrat of a songlist instead of a setlist seems to have rectified the situation. It def was a super fan boy article, but I can;t hold it against the guy. UMPH is sick. It will be interesting to see what happens to them in the wake of stringcheese calling it... whatever they are calling it. Umph getting their own halloween shows and the like..........................

HHoody starstarstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 07:13AM
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Night 2 was off the hook, can't beat that Tribute to the Spinl Shaft----> In the Kitchen, SF what a good ass time

moeMan1 star Wed 2/28/2007 07:40AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

moeMan1

i have to totally disagree with this article, now i wasnt at the shows but i have downloaded them and they are completely flat. you can tell the band had just opened the tour. Give them about 5 more shows and they will be firing on all cylinders. Long live the Umph!!

okalrightic Wed 2/28/2007 10:53AM
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As an Umphrey's superfan I can understand how one might think they could do no wrong. Im gonna have to download these shows before i criticise the article...Umphrey's is hands down the best thing to happen to music in a long time! BTW--whoever stole Jake's notebook in Florida is a piece of shit...give it back!

j-bizzle starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 11:06AM
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j-bizzle

There is more to a great show than just the fluidity of the band. Venue, crowd interaction, and personal enjoyment all play an enormous roll in how i rate a show. So moeMan to your point this show may have not been the best techincally (however it was pretty dirty), but all the all the other aspects made that weekend unforgetable.

moeMan1 Wed 2/28/2007 11:18AM
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moeMan1

i completely agree with you J bizzle thats why i stated i wasnt at the show. the music was just not up to par. Being at the show you get a completely different experience for sure.

torn&treyed Wed 2/28/2007 12:47PM
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I agree with the dude that said umph needs to warm up before they can really turn it up. It soooo true

paulygparty Wed 2/28/2007 01:42PM
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JoshL92482,

What do you mean about String Cheese calling it?

cuttyfives Wed 2/28/2007 02:15PM
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umph has been declining, in my opinion, from the first bonaroo they did. Im from chitown and have seen them a lot, my last show was this summer central park stage. they followed galactic, who threw down despite the yuppie crowd, and the umph blew, it was painful for me to come to grips with, but im done w/ umph. it seems like they are for the tennie boppers too.

madaeb1 starstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 02:47PM
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madaeb1

Cuttyfives...

More room for me at the show. HE GONE!!! C-Ya.

Been seeing the Umph since 99 and still appreciate every show I get to see. Jack is sick. Bayliss whales. Myers is one of the tightest drummers around. Joel = MOOGNESS!!

madaeb1 Wed 2/28/2007 02:48PM
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madaeb1

Meant Jacko....

DELYEAH starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/28/2007 03:04PM
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DELYEAH

Can't wait to see UM in Asheville, NC tomorrow night! I still haven't seen them live (I know, that sucks) and am ready to hear them get on it!!

spaceface7 Wed 2/28/2007 10:51PM
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Like buck said, april can't come soon enough. nyc, dc, and then back home to rochester. WHOOO!! Don't have a car? Take a bus, only cost me 140 to get me to two cities and back home. See ya'll out there.
(Sounds like cuttyfives overdosed on umphreys. Too bad cuz you aint gonna find another band that brings it down like UM)

brett397 Thu 3/1/2007 07:52AM
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brett397

Hey Frog Brigade, "Snaky" is used as an adjective in the article. If you're going to make a smart ass comment, make sure you know whay your're talking about.

canoftunapudding Thu 3/1/2007 11:46AM
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I saw umphreys for the first time last saturday in Charlotte. I didn't really know any of the songs (except for Immigrant Song and some Rush teases) but I still thought it was good. It seems to me that alot of their songs are overcomplicated with a bunch of stops/starts and time signature changes. It reminded me alot of Dream Theater (yall ever seen them?) Obviously the show didn't make as much sense to me as it did to those who had seen them dozens of times, but I will definitely see them again.

jimmystewart starstarstarstar Thu 3/1/2007 12:34PM
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Who else besides a superfan is going to take the time to write an article on a band when you don't get paid for it? I think it was a pretty good article (very descriptive), and the setlist looks sweet. Wish I was there. Oh well, two nights in B'ham will satisfy me soon enough.

canoftunapudding, UM can definitely be a little overwhelming for first timers (they were for me). More so than other bands, UM takes a few shows before you really get what they do IMO. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I can't wait to see what the guys do this year, they keep getting better and better with no signs of slowing down.

rpmills starstarstarstar Thu 3/1/2007 02:27PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I went the second night of this run. It was the darkest sounding show I've seen UM do. I guess that's the direction they've gone in. Don't get me wrong I had a blast. I remember turning to my bro (more of a flowery cheese-head kind of guy) and telling him, "Damn, we at 80's big hair band show or what?" I bummed I missed the Divisions on the 1st night, prolly my fav song of theirs.

Also, we were on some nice liquid and the vibe just felt a little too dark at times...but hey that could be someone else's cup of tea. To each his own. Rock on UM!!!!

yemmw Thu 3/1/2007 04:16PM
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yemmw

I don't think I get this band. Apparently, they're the new king of jambands, but I'm yet to hear an actual flat-out jam. Every time they seem to be getting on to something great, they just repeat a riff over and over and over, like at the end of Mulche's Odyssey. Everything seems too contrived and scripted to me. Someone please send me a link to some good stuff of theirs where there's some real jamming!

spaceface7 Thu 3/1/2007 06:34PM
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I don't know what your talkin about, or what your looking for yemmw. But download "jimmy stewart the album". Nothing but improv and a look into how some songs were created through these jams. I don't know if you can get it without buying it, but whatever... Buy it!

yemmw Thu 3/1/2007 07:41PM
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yemmw

I'm not buyin anything. Are there any "incredible" shows on the archive?

MrTibbles Fri 3/2/2007 06:58AM
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MrTibbles

anything in chicago!

kaiserbun starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/2/2007 11:28AM
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i thought the same thing when i first started listening to them yemmw. mulche's and miss tinkle's were the first 2 songs i heard and the endings drag on the same riffs over and over. just listen to them more though, lots of the songs are overly composed, but there's some jamming in there as well. athens was incredible a couple nights ago. its been a while since i've seen the crowd cheer enough for a band to come out for a second encore. they had to bring some of the instruments back out. sweet show, that der bluten cat song is pretty nasty. somebody tell them to turn brendan's guitar up though!

jimmystewart Fri 3/2/2007 02:17PM
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yemmw, you can download for free "Jimmy Stewart" The Second Album (leftovers) for free off of umphreys.com under podcasts. This is nothing but jams.

jimmystewart Fri 3/2/2007 02:32PM
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Also, UM does not improvise in a typical jam band style, their jams are a lot more structured. I think UM would be happy if they played a show and someone (not familiar with their music) at the show did not notice that they improvised at all (even though they do every night a lot).

DirtyRice starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/2/2007 06:18PM
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DirtyRice

excuse me Mr. jimmystewart but how is "Jimmy Stewart" the second album free? i know the little samples are free but i paid 9.95 for this. im not complaining, i think it was well worth it and i might as well add that i am just now being turned on to UM. never seen em live and cant wait til they play AZ. im still trying to figure these guys out. what else does an UM novice need to know? btw, thanks for the review!

1048 starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/3/2007 11:15AM
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1048

They have a podcast of some "jimmy stewarts" that they didn't use on the new album for free, I think that's what he's talking about.

haleygd starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/7/2007 06:45AM
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haleygd

hmhm in the jungle would sound soooo gooood
my boy keller and the phreys :)

vespuchi2 starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/7/2007 10:15AM
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vespuchi2

too bad they didnt write a review of the 2 boulder shows that just went down. you want a tight dl, get those 2. bound to be instant classics.

DANKind starstarstar Thu 3/15/2007 06:15PM
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DANKind

waiting for so cal dates again

kalajam starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/17/2007 11:17AM
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kalajam

um rocks saw em gr in michigan. the f**kin rocked. a lot of energy was at this show