Written By: Susan Rice and Photos By: Bryan Lasky
Diehard fans brave the elements during the summer season to enjoy their favorite band and songs with good friends. Umphrey’s McGee fans proved this to be true after enduring heavy rains and thunderstorms this past Sunday, August 3 at the outdoor venue at the Saranac Brewery in Utica, NY. Light rain started the evening, progressing to heavy rains with the occasional lightning strike and booming thunder. For everyone’s safety, the concert was delayed for two hours with fans seeking refuge in the Saranac Brewery, a reminder that there are worse places to be stuck indoors. With the delay of the show, Umphrey’s could only perform one set with a show time of 9PM vs 7PM and a curfew of 11PM but what a set it was.
Touring to support their latest and 8th album, Similar Skin, representing their new label Nothing Too Fancy Music. Umphrey’s played some fresh music as well as classic favorites. The show opened with a groovy and hard “Ringo” as bassist Ryan Stasik laid down a funky doo-wop and the band hit heavy rock peaks only to sway down to a jazzy melody from keyboardist Joel Cummins. “The Linear” saw crisp vocals from Brendan Bayliss and fast paced rhythms from Andy Farag and Kris Myers. The set got dark with a haunting “Morning Song” with echoes from Jake Cinninger guitar picking before going into an upbeat “Out of Order”. Among the many reasons to enjoy an Umphrey’s McGee show is the light show. Lighting Designer Jefferson Waful’s lights are truly stunning especially with the raindrops reflecting every glow. The dimensions of color, light symmetry and precise timing soar as high as the music does. Umphrey’s McGee treated soaked fans to a three song encore, the reggae easy flow of “FF”, the electrifying boogie of “Bad Friday” followed by the first and only cover of the night, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”.
Umphrey’s McGee is a powerhouse of improvisational progressive rock clashed with classic metal and electronic funk. Fans can download this show and past shows from umlive.net. Be sure not to miss Umphrey’s McGee when they return to Upstate NY as part of their fall tour to the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on Oct 23 and the Forum Theatre in Binghamton on Oct 29.
Setlist: Ringo, #5 > The Linear, In The Kitchen, Morning Song > Out Of Order, Example 1, Educated Guess, Wappy Sprayberry > Eat
Encore: FF > Bad Friday > Let’s Dance