BY JORDAN MULLANEY// Experimental jam-band Umphrey’s McGee will be making their debut performance at The Anthem this Thursday, touring their latest album it’s not us.
The Chicago-based band has attracted a unique cult following, reminiscent of Phish and the Grateful Dead, since 1997. Umphrey’s has sailed smoothly ever since, stabilizing their lineup which features nothing short of exceptional and creative musicianship. Most frequently referred to as jam band, Umphrey’s offers their die-hard cult fans with surprising arrangements, noteworthy takes on cover songs, and innovative segways into unprecedented improvisational segments that breach into unchartered categories showcasing an array of genres. A spectacular light show follows, seamlessly complementing the beautiful raucous created on stage. It’s clear that Umphrey’s McGee is a band that flourishes in their best form in live settings.
Released in January, their eleventh album it’s not us condenses the band’s progressive rock origins, funk-laden riffs, and vocal harmonies into a mere 52 minutes of easy listening. Songs such as “Whistle Kids” are spacious, filled in by tight rhythmic syncopations that almost counter the catchy melodies we never previously expected from Umphrey’s.
Opening the show is The Marcus King Band, an American roots band led by 21 year-old Marcus King who showcases nothing but maturity in his songwriting and guitar playing. Creating a brand of what King calls “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock,” The Marcus King Band is quickly rising as one of the nation’s top live acts.
Lovers of tight musicianship and improvisation will not want to miss Thursday’s show. Tickets are still available here.