On the Cover: Will Umphrey’s McGee Be the Last Jamband Standing?
Whatever Umphrey’s McGee is lacking in rock and roll Gomorrah, they’re more than compensating for it musically. Each of the three shows that the band plays in St. Louis explodes in a different manner. They play some of the most densely composed rock around, changing keys and time signatures with head-spinning finesse. Their “Jazz Odyssey” and “Jimmy Stewart” improvisations—more or less interchangeable titles at this point—can go in any direction whatsoever. And they drop rehearsed or spontaneous covers like bonbons of the gods.
Once known as the band that rehearsed more than any other, Umphrey’s is now a smoothly oiled Transformer of a group, caroming effortlessly between head-banging rawk, syncopated adventures and four-on-the-floor dance grooves.
Umphrey’s unique collective identity was personified most strongly, perhaps, during the second set on December 29. Several minutes into “1348,” Stasik called an off-setlist option for “Dr. Feelgood” into the band’s in-ear monitors. The group switched gears abruptly, diving into the Mötley Crüe hit for a couple of minutes before, just as suddenly—like a small flock of geese in tight formation—returning to the setlist with “Cemetery Walk II.” From the hair-rocking ridiculous to the sublime, John Coltrane’s transcendent “A Love Supreme” bubbled up out of the middle of this mesmerizing instrumental house-beat epilogue to “Cemetery Walk,” the urgent, anxious rocker that followed the show opener “Jazz Odyssey.” As a topper, the group next debuted a new cover of TV on the Radio’s “Second Song.”
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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