This past Friday brought a slew of music lovers to Columbus Newport Music Hall to take in a show from Chicagos Umphreys McGee. Classically defined as a jam band, the group played a solid three hour, two-set show that saw them expand into progressive rock, dub, ambience, and straight up face melting rock n roll at any given moment. It was fitting then that the band walked out on stage to the theme from The Natural, as it was a sign that those in attendance were in for a special evening. Keep in mind that the official capacity of the Newport Music Hall is around 1700 people, but without a doubt, there were upwards of 2,000 there. And combined with Umphrey’s energy, it felt as if over 10,000 people were there. So, you get an idea of what sort of madness ensued.
The band opened up with The Haunt that saw guitarist Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger pound progressive melodies while simultaneously trading off driving guitar solos. After a brief interlude, which saw keyboardist Joel Cummins soothe the audience with some suave piano work, the group came back together and built up a funky progression that climaxed with Cinninger and Bayliss trading off guitar solos that kept everyone in the audience nodding their heads. One thing about Umphreys McGee is that they have such a consistent shape to most of their songs, drawing from various genres and bringing it all together to create a sound only makes you groove.
Closing out the first set was a near perfect cover of fellow Chicagoans The Smashing Pumpkins’ Cherub Rock, which made for a nice sing along. After seeing the band beautifully execute Push the Pig, Jimmy Stewart, Hurt Bird Bath, Walletsworth, and Utopian Fir, the band broke out another cover, this time going into Van Halens classic Hot for Teacher which made everyone feel like it was 1984. As if that weren’t enough, the crowd managed to summon out the band for an encore, where they effectively brought the house down with Miss Tinkles Overture.
After it was all said and done, those in attendants were left wiping the sweat off their faces and standing there in a sheer state of joy. If you have the chance to check out Umphreys McGee I highly recommend it. This is one concert where you will easily be able to tell afterwards that you had a once in a lifetime rock concert experience.
All Things Ninja
Push the Pig > Stewart (lyrical)
Hurt Bird Bath
Hurt Bird Bath
Hot for Teacher
The Bottom Half
Miss Tinkles Overture