Review: Umphrey's McGee @ The Fillmore, Denver CO 1/24/09

I went into the Umphrey’s McGee show on Saturday wanting to see a good show. Umphrey’s is a band that lot of my friends love, but I find myself not seeing at a festival when they are up against someone else. I’m sure that many of you have bands that your friends like, but for some reason they just don’t do it for you. For me, Umphrey’s was definitely on that list.

Still, I want to like the band. They are a tight band. They are thoughtful about their set lists. It is clear they practice. A LOT. They probably put on the coolest Halloween show this year and one of the coolest NYE shows in the scene. Plus, by all accounts they are nice guys and have a fan base that is there for the music.

I prepared for the show by listening to some Metallica. I think this was a key move for me to enjoy the show. Umphrey’s is not a hippy dippy jam band- they are a prog rock band that does some improv. Don’t go to an Umphrey’s show expecting to get funk grooves. Umphrey’s shreds. They will rip your face off with changes and metal lines and you need to be prepared for that.

I enjoyed the show. Sometimes I thought the metal shredding was a little much for me, but I still liked the show. I joked that Umphrey’s sometimes sounds like it should be the soundtrack for a video game where you are beating the shit out of someone. A couple of times I was rocked so hard I needed to take a break and go to the bathroom. Or beat someone up.

If you are a fan of Umphrey’s you may be reading this shaking you head, because the fans go to see the metal and that’s what they want. Still, Ill go to an Umphrey’s show and have a great time. I’m not going to follow Umphrey’s around the country or collect their recordings, but they entertained me Saturday and I enjoyed myself.

It must be noted, and you will see in the video, the lights KICK ASS. Friends told me that they stole the moe. lighting guy and he delivered in a big way.

Musically, In the first set I enjoyed the Der Bluten Kat> Meeting In The Aisle> Der Bluten Kat. The first set was a bit of a warmup- In the second set I got more into the flow of the band. Hurt Bird Bath, the jam out of The Fuzz and Utopian Fir especially raged. The encore of The Rolling Stone's "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" or what we used to call "Cocaine Eyes" put a big smile on my face and was a great way to end the night.

01/24/09 Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
Set I: Turn & Run, Intentions Clear> The Fussy Dutchman, Der Bluten Kat> Meeting In The Aisle> Der Bluten Kat, Cemetery Walk> Cemetery Walk II1
Set II: Red Tape1> Hurt Bird Bath, The Fuzz> Utopian Fir> Prowler, Preamble> Mantis
Encore: Can't You Hear Me Knocking

1 First Time Played (Original)

Check out the video:


Nicholas Stock said…
Pretty Spot review on I caught the show in Boulder on Friday and opted for the The North Indiana All Stars on Saturday. I have been seeing Umphrey's McGee since their early touring days and I have seen them progress to their current state which is a Death Metal Band. The awe inspiring aspect of seeing UM live comes from this and the fact that they are one of the tightest touring acts today. You definitely have to be in the mood to see these guys but if you want to get your face rocked off then this is the show for you. And bully for their lights too.
Unknown said…
Good writeup and apt description of their style, Joker. I caught my first two Umphrey's shows ever on their last tour and I think the experience was enhanced by disregarding any preconceived notions that they are a "jam band." They are not. However they shred to no end, and are just downright fantastic musicians, which to me is worth the price of admission.

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