Umphrey's McGee Brings "Power Of Soul" To Avondale Brewery September 11, 2015 10:49
Thursday night, progressive jam rock band Umphrey's McGee took the stage at Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham, AL. A rabid, rowdy crowd welcomed the group with open arms, just one night before the band was scheduled to close out Friday night at Lock'n Festival in Arrington, VA. While Avondale has quickly established it's strong reputation for live music since it's establishment in 2012, Umphrey's would be the brewery's biggest show to date, with roughly 2000 fans in attendance.
Umphrey's took the stage promptly at 8:00 PM CST, opening the show with "No Crying in Mexico," which progressed perfectly into "Bright Lights, Big City." Next up was "Rocker Part 2," which appeared on the band's latest release, The London Sessions. "Water" an oldie from the band's first album, Local Band Does O.K., would follow and segue into "Mad Love."
The band's metal side was showcased with a heavy hitting take on "#5," allowing lead guitarist Jake Cinnenger, bassist Ryan Stasik, and guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss the first of many opportunities to face off and trade licks center stage. "No Diablo," arguably the band's biggest hit off last year's release, Similar Skin, provided a nice change of pace and made for a nice sing-a-long for the lively crowd. "The Bottom Half," the title track from the band's 2007 release, would round out the first set.
The second set kicked off with "The Triple Wide," an instrumental, spacey dance tune which has developed into one of the band's bigger jam vehicles over the years. A smooth transition led directly into "Red Tape," the first and only tune of the night off of the Mantis album. The always uplifting, reggae-ish "FF" had everyone on the property grooving, showing off the band's inner Bob Marley. A sudden, powerful drop into "All in Time" sent the Birmingham crowd into a frenzy, before an early exit into "Booth Love" pulled things back into a steady, baby-makin' groove.
The band dug deep in the archives with "Out of Order," one which was recently rerecorded for the release of The London Sessions. Few songs truly embody the full package for Umphrey's more than "Out of Order." Constant chord progressions, swift vocals, winding riffs from Cinninger, and an eventually explosive build up. Having played all originals thus far, it was only a matter of time before a bust out cover, which came in the form of Jimi Hendrix's "Power of Soul." Drummer Kris Myers and percussionist Andy Farag held down a tight rhythm, allowing for Bayliss and Cinninger to pay homage to the legendary Hendrix. Hearing nearly 2000 people singing "With the power of soul, anything is possible" as the set came to a close was inspiring to say the least.
After a brief exit, the all too familiar opening notes of "In The Kitchen" provided a proper warning for an absolutely rocking encore. Bayliss guided the Birmingham crowd through one of the band's biggest hits to date. Many had forgotten that "All In Time" had been left unfinished, as usual. The drop back into "All In Time" gave one last shot of adrenaline before settling into one of the more peaceful, soothing segments of any Umphrey's tune. Bayliss's lyrics during the closing bridge always hit home and make for a powerful sense of nostalgia.
Umphrey's McGee heads to Arrington, VA today to play a late night set to close out the festival's opening night. For all additional info and tour dates, head over to Umphrey's official website and social media outlets.
Set 1: No Crying in Mexico, Bright Lights Big City, Rocker 2, Water > Mad Love, #5, No Diablo, The Bottom Half