Umphrey’s McGee, CBGB, NYC- 4/21
Umph Pays Homage At CBGB’s
On April 21st, roughly 250 fans got a chance to see Umphrey’s McGee in the most classic of venues, CBGB’s. Umphrey’s first and last show at CBGB’s had people packed to the brim of the legendary rock club and more waiting outside to get in.
CBGB’s is rock and roll. CBGB’s is what you’re thinking of when you’re listening on your headphones and you want it just a little bit louder, when you really need 11. Everyone talked about how small it was, but neglected to mention how fucking loud it is. But a crisp clean loud, that still lets you still hear the crispness of the guitars.
Anyways, my ranting on CBGB’s over, the show started off with “Believe The Lie” and like I said, it was loud. It really is hard to describe just how loud it gets, it’s almost like your body is literally getting hit with music. “Dump City>Got Your Milk (Right Here)>Blue Echo>Techo Echo>“Jimmy Stewart”>Dump City” takes a nice part of the first set smoothly. “Dump City” comes and goes as guitarist Jake Cinninger grabs and bends smoothly into “Got Your Milk (Right Here).” Guitarist Brendan Bayliss quietly pulls the bouncy “Milk” into “Blue Echo” as the rest of the band catches their breath and Cinninger joins to start out slowly. Little jams before and after the “Techo Echo” portion of “Blue Echo” make for two great distinct improvisations. The “Jimmy Stewart” leading into “Techo” is slow and prickly almost as Cinninger leads switching from a small catchy riff to slapping his fingers across the octaves before everyone quickly slams into “Techo Echo.” Drummer Kris Myers shines as he carries the superhuman drumbeat he usually lays down on the E-drums. A short jam out of “Techo Echo” stretches gradually building back into “Dump City” with the crowd’s approval. A few teases including The Cars “My Best Friend’s Girl” give way to “Walletsworth>”Jimmy Stewart”>Glory.” The “Jimmy Stewart” builds slowly with what seemed to me like some older early nineties song jam and brief “Muffburger Sandwich” teases before Cinninger stretches the chords of “Glory” out slowly before taking his solos and beautifully driving the song for five glorious minutes, a little longer than normal. “Making Flippy Floppy” closes the first set as Rob Marscher from Addison Groove Project joins keyboardist Joel Cummins on the Talking Heads tune.
Second set wastes no time starting off with an energy filled “40’s Theme” that has Cinninger pulling notes seemingly out of nowhere perfectly to ride the jam for one of the most high-energy moments I’ve had at an Umphrey’s show. Cinninger shined the entire night and the second set really let him roam. “You Shook Me All Night Long” teases funnel into “The Bottom Half” for a brief slowdown. It was almost as if Cinninger needed the space in “The Bottom Half” to breathe again because right after, he was once again the driving force behind a nearly 20 minute “Jajunk>Jimmy Stewart>Jajunk.” Bassist Ryan Stasik thumps the deep bassline of “Jajunk” before the first verse and then Cinninger starts the “Stewart” alternating between a few shuffling riffs and calming, almost twinkling ping off his strings. Cinninger and Cummins then start trading off slamming “Jajunk” to an end. “Fussy Dutchman” is short but sweet as it Bayliss and Cinninger keep their harmonizing tight. After Cinninger teases a fan with Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” the band slides into an instrumental version of CBGB alum Television’s “Marquee Moon.” Cinninger toys with the songs main riff, adding in quick little solos to spice up the repetitive riff. The Make Believe’s Brian Felix joins Cummins for a nice little keyboard throw down before an effortless segue into the relatively new “Eat.” The heavy progressive tune makes for a flawless transition from “Marquee Moon.” Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” teases flow quickly into “Pay The Snucka” to close out the second set. For an encore “Puncle Wally” a sped up punk rock version of “Uncle Wally” makes for a high energy before a “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” sends everyone back onto the streets of New York City with a nice smile.
CBGB’s is one hell of a dingy little shithole and one of the best and most unique places to see a show in the entire world. The sound practically indescribable as you literally can feel the little hole in the wall shake with every riff. That being said, this night will always stick with me, not as a best show, but definitely one of the most memorable I have been to.