April 13, 2012
Umphreyâ€™s McGee has garnered success the old fashioned way: relentless touring.
Having been at it since 1997, the Chicago (by way of Notre Dame) natives have amassed one of the most devoted followings on the scene, to the point that one of their more recent endeavors, the annual Summer Camp Music Festival has steadily grown in popularity with its host band.
When it comes to social media and out of the box promotions, Umphreyâ€™s hits it hard. From doing live in studio shows while answering questions posted on Facebook, to the band”s celebrated UMBowls, where there are 4 themed quarters to the show and Stew Art (aka, “S2”) shows where fans dictate the direction of the show through text messages, UM utilizes social media and technology to cultivate and maintain relationships unlike most others.
While initially based in Chicago, the Atlanta area has seemingly become the southern home for the band, evidenced by the fact that they have sold out four consecutive dates in Atlanta going back to 2010, including 2010″s summer tour closer at the Masquerade, a gig that the band considers a landmark show.
Having not played at the Georgia Theatre since 2007, the band made their triumphant return on this night, to the evident chagrin of all within practical distance from the college town of Athens.
Having sold the show out within an hour of its public on sale, the crowd inside the Theatre was buzzing with palpable anticipation — a literal calm before the storm.
An ambient house music slowly built and as the crowd reached frenzied heights, the Umphrey”s sextet Â — Jake Cinninger (guitar/vocals), Brendan Bayliss (guitar/vocals), Ryan Stasik (bass), Joel Cummins (keys, vocals), Kris Myers (drums, vocals) and Andy Farag (percussion) — took the stage.
The thoroughly packed Theatre was about to be lifted off the ground as the house music melded into a full throttled Umphrey”s McGee jam entitled “There”s No Crying in Mexico” with screaming guitar licks from Jake Cinninger that easily could have peeled the paint off of the freshly coated walls.
The house music jam then melted into crowd favorite, “Pay the Snucka,” but it was the Cummins led transition from “Cemetary Walk” into “Nemo” that left many in need of jaw replacement surgery. Highlighted by an extended jam from Ryan nettcasino Stasik, Kris Myers steered “Cemetary Walk II” (that succeeded “Nemo”) around third base. In the end though, it was Jake Cinninger”s scintillating thrash play that finally stole home.
The song demonstrated the UM collective in its finest hour; no leaders… only a progressive sound that is driven towards a unified goal.
The second set was loaded with treats that have become expected at Umphrey”s Atlanta area shows.
A “Kashmir”(Led Zeppelin) jam never gets old and was well placed at the end of “Push the Pig.” The band literally stopped playing as the sing along of the Marshall Tucker Band”s “Can”t You See” took over, the multitude of Umphreaks gathered in the Theatre blatantly letting the Chicagoans know that they had stumbled into the Deep South.
The encore was an homage to the aforementioned Masquerade 2010 show and came complete with a prolonged jam of Michael Jackson”s “Wanna be Starting Something” in the middle of another pleaser,Â “All In Time,” exactly as had been done in 2010.
Umphrey”s seems to attempt to outdo themselves every time they come to the Atlanta, leaving landmarks or landmines here and there. Although it was Friday the 13th, there was nothing unlucky about being at this show.
The intensity of an Umphrey”s McGee crowd is only outdone by the intensity of the band itself. With influences seemingly as varied as the colors of the rainbow, each Umphrey”s song can transform from electronica to metal, which makes each tune an adventure unto itself.
Having already played one High Music Holiday, Halloween, in Atlanta, one is left to wonder what is left for Umphrey”s to conquer? How many landmarks will they leave?
I: There”s No Crying in Mexico > Pay the Snucka > Cemetery Walk > Nemo > Cemetery Walk II, Through the Cracks, Andy”s Last Beer, Pay the Snucka
II: Wappy Sprayberry > Push the Pig*, In the Kitchen > Booth Love > Can”t You See, Prowler > In the Kitchen
Encore: All In Time**
Notes: * with Kashmir (Led Zeppelin) jam ** with Wanna Be Startin” Something (Michael Jackson) jam
To download the soundboard recording of this show, click here.
To download an audience recording of this show, click here. (Stream below the photo gallery)
Click the thumbnails to view more photos from the show by Ian Rawn…
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Stream: Umphrey”s McGee, 4/13/12 at Georgia Theatre