Led by soulful, yet blisteringly finger pickin' good, lead guitarists Jake "Dr. Feel Good" Cinninger and Brendan "Professor Wormbug" Bayliss, Umphrey's McGee explored just about every genre of music that you can think of and invented some new ones as well.

1650 (formerly Vinyl) in Hollywood was throbbing with energy as the band cut loose and had the crowd gyrating, jumping, twirling, and playing air guitar (as if). The spectacular second set (the first set "Ka Bumped" as well) featured a suprise visit from keyboardist extraordinaire Eric Levy of Garaj Mahal and Fareed Haque Group. Levy and Umphrey's Joel "Fussy Dutchman" Cummins alternated solos during one of many extended improvisational jams. The multi-tiered and super califragilistic rhythm section featured Ryan "Soul Food" Stasik on bass, Mike "XXXplosive" Mirro on drums and Andy "Ninja" Farag on percussion.

Suffice it to say, there were many truly inspired jams that often reached heights of a stellar magnitude leaving the listener wondering if this was actually an alien band sent here from some galaxy to conquer us earthlings with mesmerizingly phrenetic phusion. My friend Blue (who's an old school Dead fan) was completely blown away (as I expected).

Equally adept at playing and singing soft and sweet melodic harmonies, the band pulled out all of it's tricks last night. Someone in the audience commented, "This was by far the best show I've ever seen in LA." Nuff Said.

Michael Howard
JamBase | Los Angeles
Go See Live Music!

P.S. All nicknames are made up and taken from Umphrey's McGee song titles with the exception of "Dr. Feel Good" which is a Motley Crue tune that they experimented with in the second set.

[Published on: 4/11/02]

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