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London Calling: Watch Umphrey’s McGee Cover The Best of British Rock and Roll

by Rob Slater on June 19, 2014

Tonight, Umphrey's McGee will kick off their three-night run at the newly opened Brooklyn Bowl London location. Whether you're at the venue or watching stateside via webcast, this is certainly a landmark moment for the group this year as they continue riding the success of their new album Similar Skin. Over the years, the band hasn't entirely toured extensively overseas, with this marking their first stop in London since 2008, but when they do get over there they tend to make an impact--particularly the 3/16/06 show in Paris where they stepped on stage and conquered a 34-minute "Hurt Bird Bath" to open the show. The wine was certainly good that evening.

Despite their lack of touring overseas, UM is no stranger to the influence of British rock and roll as they have offered covers of some of the country's best such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, David Bowie, The Clash and so many more. You can check out a full list here, but below you can watch some of the best of the bunch.

Radiohead: "The National Anthem"

A rarely played cover, this Radiohead tune came in handy in Richmond, VA in 2011 as the encore hit just shortly after midnight on President's Day. In fact, they even started the show with the (actual) National Anthem and you can watch both performances right here. Other Radiohead covers in the UM arsenal include "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi," "All I Need" and "Meeting in the Aisle."

Led Zeppelin: "Hey Hey What Can I Do"

All in all, Umphrey's has paid homage to nineteen Led Zeppelin songs over the years from all eras of the band's extensive catalog. Here, they dig into a more delicate number "Hey Hey What Can I Do" in between their original "Nemo." A bit of a newcomer in the UM catalog, Brendan initially utilized a mandolin on early covers of the song and still does from time to time.

Joe Cocker: "With a Little Help From My Friends"

From what may still be the band's most iconic New Year's Run (five nights in Atlanta may claim the throne, though), this Joe Cocker cover backed by a full choir in Chicago is one of the band's most viewed videos on YouTube and a performance that will leave you with all of the feels. Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime performance brimming with energy and enthusiasm.

David Bowie: "Let's Dance"

Continuing with the Jake Cinninger vocals theme, the newest fan-favorite cover is a dance-a-thon from the very start. Birthed just after midnight following the band's New Year's Eve show in St. Louis, rarely has the tune been played without a few special guests (most notably a horn section), so here's a version with damn-near all of STS9 on stage with the band during their joint tour.

Elton John: "Bennie and the Jets"

As you'll hear Brendan say before the performance of this Elton John classic, it is one of his favorite songs and one he has wanted to play with the band for a while. A mainstay in Bayliss solo acoustic shows and other settings, "Bennie and the Jets" finally made its UM debut on, of all days, the guitarist's birthday.

The Clash: "London Calling"

Too cliche? In the illustrious words of one Jay Cutler: "Don't Care!"



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