Members of Umphreys McGee, Phish, the Disco Biscuits, The Duo and the New Deal Collaborate Over Columbus Day Weekend
The past week proved to be a highly collaborative one for the members of Umphreys McGee and the Disco Biscuits. With the Biscuits off the road until December, Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner spent their time opening for Umphreys McGee as
both the electronic duo Conspirator and as part of the band Electron (the latter of which also features Joe Russo and Tom Hamilton). Last Thursday at Clifton Park, NYs Northern Lights, the paired performers did both, offering a surprise split Conspirator/Electron set.
As the tour progressed, the longtime friends collaborated with Umphreys McGee in a number of different settings. On Friday, both Umphreys McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger and drummer Kris Myers sat in with Conspirator at South Burlington, VTs Higher Ground, with Myers reprising his role the following night at the same venue. Magner also sat in with Umphreys at Higher Ground for Resolution, shortly before both Magner and Brownstein appeared with the group on the Beatles Dear Prudence.
While in Burlington, Electron offered a rare matinee performance at the Club Metronome. Partway through Electrons show, Mike Gordon took the stage with the quartet for a jam and remained onstage as the song segued into the Disco Biscuits Home Again. As many readers are aware, Gordon has toured extensively with Russo since first sharing the stage with the drummer in 2004. In 2005, the Phish bassist sat in with Russo and Brownstein at a L. Cool Trio show held at New Yorks The Knitting Factory and, that summer, joined Electron at New Yorks B.B. King Blues Club. Electron also co-headlined a club show at New Haven, CTs Toads Place Sunday evening with the Omega Moos, a group that features Umphreys McGees Brendan Bayliss and Ryan Stasik alongside the New Deals Jamie Shields and Darren Shearer.
Finally, last night a number of the abovementioned players performed the New Yorks annual Moogfest. The event, which celebrates the life of keyboard pioneer Robert Moog, took place at Manhattan Centers Grand Ballroom, boasting performances by Umphreys McGee, Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine and the Eric McFadden Trio featuring Bernie Worrell. In addition, the evening featured the debut performance of the spacey, all-improvisational group Prison Shank, which draws together Stasik, Magner, Russo, Shields and Cinninger, the latter of whom played one of only eight new, Moog guitars. Late Show keyboardist Paul Schaffer also presented Worrell with the annual Moog Award before joining the keyboardist and the Eric McFadden Trio, while Shields helped Umphreys McGee close the evening with a run through Abacab.
Umphreys McGee will begin a three-night run at New Yorks Blender Theatre this evening. Conspirator will appear next at Athens, GAs Georgia Theatre on October 22.