Depth Charge > Slacker
Drew: I’m totally with Rob on this. Depth Charge doesn’t really do it for me. Slacker does, however. Slacker does a lot of things for me. Especially this version. The composed sections were tight, as always. Joel absolutely destroys this version. It’s almost unfair the amount of fire he’s playing with, and the peak interplay between Joel and Kris is next level.
Rob: I hate to start this show review off with a negative comment, but I’m not the biggest fan of the Depth Charge JO, however this Slacker is worthwhile. A little mellow compared to most other Slacker’s, but that is never a bad thing. Joel has a great little breakdown where he takes control and drives the jam into the last section. You can’t blame him for playing with a little fire after having his setlist vetoed shortly before this show.
Drew: I really love this song, and this one doesn’t disappoint at all. The jam works out extremely well, and turns into a very Pony driven groove, and it gets locked in to, and expanded upon, in no time at all.
Rob: The forgotten Local Band Does OK cut, I always love seeing this pop up in sets. Drew and I saw this at a small record store in St. Louis before the New Year’s run kicked off, and it was great. As far as compositions go, this is right up there for me with “Words” and “Wife Soup.” Something about tunes that start with a “W” that seem to be stellar compositions. I’ll call this the Umphrey’s version of “Guyute” actually. Some of those sections in there remind me a lot of the (much maligned) Phish tune.
Drew: I haven’t seen this song since my second show, and I can take any version of Walletsworth. It’s just that great of a song. This version fits the mold of being just as good as any other. Bayliss is sporting some strength on his vocals here, and it shows. It’s almost like he’s showing off with how well his vocals have developed. The segue with Joel’s organ building is a really class touch.
Rob: Smooth segue from Water. Wow. Absolutely flawless. Jake adds a little mustard on the breakdown section before the chorus. Joel once again shines as he takes the band to the end. Solid version.
Drew: August is one of my unsung hero tunes. It gets respect, but is sometimes overlooked for other heavy hitters, when August, in all fairness, is an amazingly fierce jam vehicle. I have to take notice of the Bayliss solo, because I’m a sucker for a purely soulful Bayliss solo. He steps out and really shines on the final piece of August.
Rob: First long improv of the night, and the band makes it count. The Michigan boys, Jake and Ryan, take the lead on this for most of the way. In the three sections that make up this jam, Jake adds a little funk, a little blues, and then a little rock to each one. He really paces the jam well. Bayliss does a good job staying with him and keeping the funk alive throughout most of it. As they climb towards the rock ending, Joel hops on the Moog to make it weird for a little bit, and Jake picks up on it, mirroring him in the process. Pretty cool moment of improvisation within an improvisation. Bayliss nails his solo at the end, closing out the tune.
Through the Cracks
Drew: I support this song. A lot. I’m a fan of how the chord progression almost sounds out of time, but it still can lock in a tight groove. Jake’s solo hits some of the highest highs and lowest lows possible with ease, and I like that it wasn’t just about getting as many notes in as possible. It starts out deeply patient from Jake, and he finally shreds off. Very tactfully done, Mr. Cinninger.
Rob: After an introduction of the Michigan products, they launch into the song written by Niles, MI native Jacob Alan Cinninger. I really enjoy this new tune. When they play it with confidence and comfort, that groove just feels infectious. The early versions seemed a bit tentative, but this one (and the last couple run-throughs) have been played with confidence. The David Bowie/Sting qualities really come out when Jake is able to get those vocals out there, as he does with this one. An Umphrey’s tune in it’s infancy is doing just fine as this may be the best version yet. Jake goes all David Gilmour on us at the end as well with a beautiful, soaring solo to close it.
Der Bluten Kat > Last Train Home > Der Bluten Kat
Drew: Um, this is…. well, saying fire would be a giant cliche, but this is an other worldly DBK sandwich. First portion of DBK is tons of melted face, but the beauty and majesty of DBK is hammered home with the appearance of Last Train Home. This is pure class. Simple as that. The other DBK bun on this is just beautiful. The initial bass line Stasik drops on is thick, with Jake laying down Funk-lite on top. Tiny soaring uplifting interludes…. anyone else get hints of that?
Rob: Always up for a DBK at every show, but this one is particularly tasty. Come for the beautiful take on Pat Metheny’s “Last Train Home,” and stay for the filthy second jam. For all the class that LTH brings in the middle section, the second DBK jam erases all of that with a groove that will make your walls shake. Make sure your desk is bolted to the floor, or you will flip that thing when Kris Myers kicks into full gear.
Drew: This is my number one song. Any and all performances work. File this on the better end of Morning Songs that have ever appeared. I enjoy the small prelude before the kick in. Just makes for a more surprising drop to the lyrics. BB’s vocals, again, are stupid confident on this. I really can’t say anything else… It’s a truly fine example of how tight and well oiled the Umphrey’s machine has become.
Rob: Brendan Bayliss on the vocals. Enough said. Hauntingly beautiful work from the newest father in the Umphrey’s McGee family. Morning Song is one of those songs that needs Brendan to be at his best, and he was in this case. Just take a listen and you’ll understand. The little Moogy interlude leading into Triple Wide is noteworthy as well. Very well executed.
Triple Wide > Roulette
Drew: Not typically a fan of Triple Wide. But I will attribute 1.31.2011 at BK Bowl, and this version, to me respecting it. It maintains the dance vibe as it does, but instead of being stagnant or sticking at one plateau, this opens up to a different level, and becomes something very interesting to listen to. Roulette didn’t suck coming out of this. Not one bit of suck seeing Roulette, ever.
Rob: Again, Joel really steals the spotlight on this closing segment. After a nice, funky start to the Triple Wide jam, Joel grabs it by it’s throat and takes it way deep down- creating a sound that would make the guys in Big Gigantic proud. Roulette was very unexpected, I didn’t see that coming. Always nice to see another often forgotten oldie make it into the set.
Drew: Please kindly refer to my friend Rob below. If you aren’t pleased hearing a Kimble well…. Kindly take your kick ball, and go home.
Rob: I dig Kimble. It’s Kimble. How can you hate it? Always so solid and consistent. You never leave a show saying: “Man, that Kimble sucked!”
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Drew: This thing is deadbolted. Absolutely on 100% lockdown. Musically, harmoniously, everything. This is a great way to get the people on the road. Please be prepared for raunchy Pony fills.
Rob: This band totally nails Beatles covers every time they take a crack at them, and this is one of my favorite. The way Brendan, Jake, and Joel take on the vocals and make them their own is fantastic. Musically, Joel is everywhere, and Jake does a fantastic job of burning down the house one last time before the happy hometown folks stroll off into the warm summer night.
Depth Charge > Slacker, Water > Walletsworth > August, Through the Cracks > Der Bluten Kat > Last Train Home > Der Bluten Kat*, Morning Song > The Triple Wide > Roulette
Kimble, I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
G. Love & Special Sauce opened
* with Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Michael Jackson) teases