reCAP :: UMBowl V :: 2014.05.03
“We are outside our proverbial box” – Brendan Bayliss
Capitol Theatre attendees were treated with an extraordinary five hours of music with Umphrey’s McGee on Saturday night at the UMBowl V. The previous four UMBowls took place in the band’s hometown of Chicago, but they chose the Capitol Theatre for the initial east coast offering. The band consisting of Brendan Bayliss (guitars), Jake Cinninger (guitar), Joel Cummins (keyboards), Andy Farag (percussion), Kris Myers (drums), and Ryan Stasik (bass) delivered a high-octane experience that firmly established them as one of the scenes finest jam bands. With an early start time and four sets, the band was able to really go deep in its repertoire while peppering in clever fan participation outlets which kept the proceedings fresh and unpredictable.
The first quarter was an incendiary Raw Stewage set, comprised of attendees' votes for past "Jimmy Stewarts” (certain jams) and it set the tone straight off that the boys were on an intense mission to melt faces on this night. The grooves were tight and the fans were engrossed from the onset. The 2nd quarter was made up entirely of fan requests as voted by the fans in on-line balloting. The punchy “Crazy Fingers” permeated the room with flare and “Brain Damage” was exquisite. It is not too often when one gets to catch a set containing both a Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd cover and the magic was not lost on the audience. The highlight for many was the band’s meticulous take on Moe’s “Rebubula” which buoyed the entire set with its frenetic musings or the blistering complete rendition of their own “5”.
The 3rd quarter was the Stew Art event when fans could text it a certain theme they wanted to see the band perform and do it in real time. Many were amazed at the band’s impressive versality as they adeptly segued from various styles including “Emergency Dance Party”, “Daft Funk”, “James Brown revival” and the “Frank Zappa-esq.” The interactive element of the event added suspense and delivered a large pay off when the fans could witness the band covering so many elements with style and talent on the fly. The amazing Bill Evans popped in and out on saxophone – adding a deeper layered depth of sound from his frantic brass bombing. The 4th quarter was in "choose your own adventure" style, with attendees voting for the next "adventure" live including highlights like “Jake on drums”, “Jake on keys”, or “Jake and BB switch rigs” which resulted in the two guitarists switching rigs in a fascinating and mesmerizing reversal in a fiery call and response finale. “Nothing but a G Thing”, a song they had not performed in a while stood out as a contagious encore.
The show contained a rabid audience in a sold-out venue, but only a limited allotment of tickets were sold in order to maintain the intimacy of the previous UMBowls. There must be a special shout out to Jefferson Waful. There were no projections on this night, but no one probably noticed due to the professional and exemplary lighting work delivered by wizard Waful. The lights were some of the best ever see at the Cap. It was a high-energy, up-tempo tour deforce of music that left fans the indelible mark that Umphrey’s McGee deserves high marks and praise for their monumental musicianship and class showcased in a scorching show. The Cap delivered another one in a lifetime experience and all were left fully satiated.
Set List: Quarter 1: Gents, Skin the Cat, Onward & Upward, Mad Love Quarter 2: Rebubula, All Things Ninja, Crazy Fingers, #5, Brain Damage > Eclipse Quarter 3: Stew Art event Quarter 4: The Haunt > The Triple Wide > Funk Improv > Wife Soup, Flamethrower > FF > Jake and BB switch rigs, Space Funk Booty > Mulche's Odyssey Overtime: Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang, Much Obliged -> Glory