The Best of the UMBowl Ballot
Even though voting is limited to ticketholders, all (or most) Umphrey's McGee fans take a fair amount of interest into the selections on the annual UMBowl Ballot. While not all will be played, they at least provide a tiny scope into the band's mindset at the moment. Obviously, the Raw Stewage Quarter needs some more digestion (sounded gross on the second read), so let's stick with the All Request Quarter
Foo Fighters: "Rope"
A destructive rock song for a band who says they're ready to get back to being a rock band, "Rope" seems just about perfect. After all, UM dabbled in the Pearl Jam catalog at last year's UMBowl with "Porch" and has also covered "Release" frequently in the past, so their grunge roots are stronger than most.
Musically, Jake Cinninger is more than fit to handle the heavy lifting on the guitar for this song. In fact, something tells me Dave Grohl would find a way to steal him away as the eighteenth guitar player in the Foo Fighters if he got a copy of Cinninger wailing away on "Rope." Speaking of Grohl, who replicates the patented growl? Joel? He did bring Atlanta to its knees with GNR's "Patience." We shall see, I suppose.
New Deal Cover (Band's Choice)
The recently disbanded Toronto trio has some history with the members of Umphrey's McGee, as Bayliss, Stasik, Shields and Shearer formed 80s cover band The Omega Moos--performing sparingly over the years. However, some may be shocked to know that UM has never covered a full New Deal song, although there have been snippets in past jams. Now, the six-piece will potentially flesh out one of the infectiously danceable tunes that will probably throw the crowd into a complete frenzy. Sign me up.
Brand New Original
There are a couple opportunities for fans to get a brand new original debut at this year's UMBowl, as the group is offering up a brand new track (band's choice) from their forthcoming record Similar Skin as well as "Skypaper," a new Jake original according to Joel's brief Q&A on Twitter. Last year, UM treated fans to "No Diablo," a future album track. It went over well, so look for a potential Similar Skin preview (or Jake originals which tend to lean on the really awesome side) this year in Port Chester.
A surefire top vote-getter, Grateful Dead's "Crazy Fingers" is the lock of locks to make it into the All Request Quarter. The question remains how the band will arrange it. Most recently, Brendan and Jake performed the tune at their annual Holiday Show. Bayliss played piano while Jake took over on guitar.
The debut (which you can watch above) from 2008 features a duet between Stasik and Cinninger, which begs the question of how closely the band will stick to the original version. They interpret GD music well (see: "Help On the Way" from last year's UMBowl), making this another strong pick.