Filmed for the public television special, Soundstage, Umphrey’s McGee makes the most of their time in the spotlight on the Soundstage: Umphreys McGee Live. A two hour concert plus UM follower favorites "Made to Measure" and "Wizard Burial Ground" as bonus tracks, Soundstage presents a bare bones Umphreys experience that is sure to please even the uninitiated.
Beginning the show with the epic "Ocean Billy" from 2006’s underrated masterwork disc, Safety in Numbers, UM quickly settles into a groove that highlights the talents of keyboardist Joel Cummins and dueling guitarists Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger. Indeed, it is that gripping two-guitar attack, along with the band’s endearing sense of playfulness that makes Chicago’s finest improvisational ensemble such an attractive proposition to their fans across the globe. Whether they’re knee deep in the King Crimson- like structured, feedback laced glory of "Out of Order" or the pop fueled harmonies of "Believe the Lie," Umphreys McGee seems to be once again open and approachable. They are also an entity that either progressive rock enthusiasts or traditional lovers of country, jazz and blues can grip and spread around to others.
By the time the group launches into another Safety in Numbers track, "Words," the viewer is awed by the talented jamming unit, and no doubt, nodding heads and tapping feet ensue to the song’s insistent rhythms. Directed by Joe Thomas, Soundstage: Umphreys McGee Live is sure to win a new audience, and convert successive generations to the pleasures that the audacious sextet often provides on a nightly basis.
Soundstage: Umphreys McGee Live is out now on E1 Entertainment.