Touring behind its new album, “It’s Not Us,” the popular jam band kept it old school Friday with a career-spanning set in the first of two straight nights at this West Michigan venue. (Review, photos, set list)
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERY, SET LIST
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Umphrey’s McGee may claim South Bend and Chicago as their two homes, but the Midwest prog-rock jam favorites are playing neither city on this tour.
And with guitarist Jake Cinninger living just down the road in Niles and bassist Ryan Stasik having spent his formative years in Kalamazoo, this weekend’s two shows at Wings Event Center are about as hometown as it gets for UM this go-round.
Following a guitar-driven opening set by up and coming blues rocker Marcus King, Umphrey’s took to the West Michigan stage Friday for Night One of two at the venue as the band began to close out the first leg of their “It’s Not Us” album release tour in front of a late-arriving crowd that filled the arena floor but left the Wings’ bowl sparsely seated.
The band, basking in the lights of Jefferson Waful (one of the top lighting designers on the scene) played just two songs off the new album, the group’s 11th studio release in its 20-year history.
They delivered on both, however, treating fans to a rousing encore of their latest single, “The Silent Type” and rolling out “Maybe Someday” for just the fourth time in the song’s brief history early on in the second set.
Stasik looked right at home out of the gate as he set the tone for the sextet, which is without a doubt one of the most technically-sound bands on the jam circuit today. Cinninger and fellow guitarist/lead vocalist Brendan Bayliss seamlessly swapped guitar solos all night as drummers Andy Farag and Kris Meyers played so tight together that if one didn’t know better they would have thought there was only one very talented drummer on the stage.
Umphrey’s, which also features Joel Cummins on keys, came out with an all-original first set highlighted by old-school cuts “Prowler,” “2nd Self,” “Mail Package” and the set-closing “Pay the Snucka.”
They continued to pull from deep within their catalog in the second frame with takes on “Nothing Too Fancy,” the seldom-played “Kula” and long-time Umph staple “Wappy Sprayberry” while also kicking the crowd into overdrive with the hard-rocking “Bad Friday” and a high-energy “Booth Love,” setting the stage for what should be a lively night two.
A group known for their wide-ranging eclectic covers, Mark Ronson’s “Daffodils” — a song UM has been playing sporadically over the last couple years — was the lone cover on the night.
Umphrey’s returns to Wings Event Center tonight (Saturday) to close out the first leg of the tour. Doors are at 7 p.m. and the Marcus King Band will get things started at 8 p.m. Tickets — $35.50-$40.50 — are available online here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Umphrey’s McGee and Marcus King Band at Wings Event Center
Photos by Derek Ketchum
SET LIST: Umphrey’s McGee at Wings Event Center (2/2/18)
Pay the Snucka
Nothing Too Fancy
The Silent Type
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