I was always into "good" music -- my dad taught me right, bringing me up on a breadth of classic rock spanning from Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen to Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. As I started to develop my own personal music taste, I knew what to look for in other "good" music.
I had a strong background in jam bands, and eased my way into the jam scene with some Dave Matthews Band, and eventually Phish. But it wasn't until Summer of 2005 that I was truly enlightened. Although I wish I could say I discovered the band on my own, I have to give credit to a boy. He was a HUGE Umphrey's fan and followed them religiously. Then i started listening to them on my own. No sooner can you say "Umphreak" that I too became an obsessive fan.
When you become so passionate about something so quickly, it's easy to think you'd get bored after a while, or grow out of the phase. It's four years later and Umphrey's McGee is still on constant rotation of my playlists and CD's (yes, I am yet to convert my car to iPod compatible). Archive.org has become my favorite site, as I am able to stream almost all of their live shows.
My favorite part about the band is 100% their diversity. True to the nature of jam bands, a song is never played the same way twice. At the peak of my obsession I compiled a CD -- the only song on it was "Glory" (one of the best instrumental songs I've ever heard -- the intricacies of the bass line eventually meet up with the lead guitar, and then the tempo picks up and volume increases right at the climax of the song -- its like candy to the ear). Anyway, although the CD only had one song, it had ten tracks -- a version of Glory from ten different shows, laced with jams and teases ranging from Michael Jackson to Led Zeppelin.
The band knows how to have fun and play off the audiences -- the trippy shows are always a rockin' time. And due to their most recent studio album Mantis (the first album fully composed for the studio sessions) my band is finally a smash hit, receiving praises from the bibleof all music literature -- Rolling Stone.
Umphrey's McGee plays the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Wednesday 8th at 8PM. You can score tickets here.