Umphrey’s McGee keep the surprises coming while wrapping up their winter tour in LA

Umphrey's McGeeBy Josh Herwitt //

Umphrey’s McGee with TAUK //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
March 6th, 2015 //

Umphrey’s McGee have never been ones to mail things in — and no, I’m not talking about if they use the postal service or not.

Yet, the sextet that formed at the University of Notre Dame close to 20 years ago have always made it a priority to keep each and every one of their live shows unique. Whether it’s through special guests, a never-ending list of covers or their distinct setlists, Umphrey’s know quite well how to keep their fans on their toes.

Last year, we asked if Umphrey’s were LA’s quintessential jam band despite them not being your typical “jam band” in the traditional sense (read our review of the show here). While that question still remains valid today, their popularity in the City of Angels hasn’t dwindled one bit. At The Wiltern last Saturday, fans from all over California and even other cities west of Chicago — the band’s second home after college for all intents and purposes — were in attendance for Umphrey’s winter tour finale. We actually met one from Salt Lake City in between sets, in fact.

Umphrey's McGee

Some might think it’s crazy to travel to see a band perform in another city, but not Umph fans — and it’s not that hard to see why. Take this latest performance in LA, for example. Six songs into the first set, Umphrey’s invited former Frank Zappa bassist Arthur Barrow up onstage to perform “Soul Food I” and “Glory”. And yes, of course there was a Zappa cover in the form of “Treacherous Cretins” from 1981’s Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar. Meanwhile, covers of both Mark Ronson’s “Daffodils” (the original features Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker) and R. Kelly’s catchy party track “Ignition (Remix)” would come later, during the second half of the show.

What has always made Umphrey’s so intriguing to me is their affection for progressive rock and heavy metal. Sure, most of their fans are more likely to listen to the Grateful Dead and Phish than say King Crimson, Yes, Iron Maiden or Guns N’ Roses, but what makes them so different is their ability to channel all of those rock bands while creating their own sound. After all, an Umphrey’s McGee show is something more than your average rock show — it’s one full of sharp twists and turns, over peaks and through valleys. Improvised prog rock, or “improg” (live improvisation + progressive rock) as some say, is what Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals), Joel Cummins (keyboards, vocals), Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals), Ryan Stasik (bass), Kris Myers (drums, vocals) and Andy Farag (percussion) do best, and there’s really not any other bands out there doing it to this day.

TAUK


TAUK

That said, New York City four-piece TAUK proved to be an ideal opener for Umphrey’s. Their perfect fusion of instrumental rock and funk played well with what came after it, delivering a seven-song set highlighted by a cover of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”. Though still relatively young, TAUK have a promising future ahead and getting the opportunity to open for a band as respected as Umphrey’s should pay dividends for them down the road. As primarily an East Coast band, Matt Jalbert (guitar), Charlie Dolan (bass), Alric Carter (keyboards, organ) and Isaac Teel (drums) haven’t made it out to the West Coast all that much, but hopefully that’s about to change after their impressive hour-long slot at The Wiltern.

In many ways, booking Umphrey’s and TAUK together felt like a perfect marriage between two one-of-a-kind bands each doing their own thing, yet doing it extremely well at the same time. And in other ways, it was somewhat surprising not to see a collaboration between the two in some shape or form before the night was over. But with the kind of talent and musicianship both bands possess, I wouldn’t put it past them if they ever get to share a stage in LA again.


Set 1: Le Blitz > Educated Guess, The Crooked One > Example 1, Attachments, Soul Food I[1] > Treacherous Cretins[2] > Glory[1], Piranhas > Wizard Burial Ground

Set 2: 40’s Theme, Puppet String > Daffodils (Mark Ronson cover), Wappy Sprayberry > The Bottom Half, Hurt Bird Bath, Hindsight

Encore: Ignition (Remix) (R. Kelly cover), Upward > Puppet String

[1] with Arthur Barrow replacing Ryan Stasik on bass
[2] debut, Frank Zappa; with Arthur Barrow replacing Ryan Stasik on bass

Howl at the moon at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans for the 2015 Bayou Rendezvous

bayou-smallBy Steven Wandrey //

Satisfied Productions presents the 13th annual Bayou Rendezvous //
The Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
May 1st, 2015 //

On Friday, May 1st at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, many of the country’s finest musicians will come together during Jazz Fest to bring you an all-night live music event featuring nine bands on two simultaneous stages. The Bayou Rendezvous will go all night from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and is always one of the most memorable and unique night shows during Jazz Fest. This year’s diverse lineup brings several varieties of funk and dance music flavored with soul, afro-beat, jazz fusion, electronica and rock.

The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars will make their debut to open the night with a stellar lineup of musical legends forming a supergroup that is not to be missed. Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.), the Godfather of Southern alternative jam fusion and his Aquarium Rescue Unit bandmate and Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge will be joined by local New Orleans legends Ivan Neville and Johnny Vidacovich, along guitar masters Eric McFadden (Parliament-Funkadelic, The Animals) and Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys). Further solidifying the rhythm section will be Duane Trucks, the 26-year-old drumming sensation currently touring with Widespread Panic, and Doug Belote, who recently won Offbeat‘s award for Best Jazz Album for his solo release Magazine Street.

The second set of the night will be brought to you by SF Bay Area psychedelic soul-funk masters Monophonics. Touring in support of their timeless new album Sound of Sinning, Monophonics’ set will morph into the set of their longtime West Coast collaborators Orgone. This Los Angeles deep soul, rare funk and afro-disco rock powerhouse is also touring behind their brand-new release Beyond the Sun. Both of these bands will also be joining forces for a Jazz Fest exclusive set, Orgone VS. Monophonics, in which both bands will play together with all members on stage at once.

Kung Fu, hailing from New Haven, Conn., will perform a high-energy, late-night set in the main room. Kung Fu has quickly become one of the hottest funk bands in the new-funk movement, Kung Fu is blurring the line between intense electro-fusion and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music “cool” again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM-informed sensibility. Imagine 70’s funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

The Den stage, next door to the Main room, will start off with a bang, as Polyrhythmics, an 8 piece original hard-driving, modern afro-beat and syncopated, horn-driven funk band from Seattle, brings the heat.

The California Honeydrops, hailing from Oakland, will be up next, drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues and New Orleans second line. The Honeydrops will bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to the evening.

Out of the Northeast, TAUK will keep the dance party moving with their New York City style of heavy instrumental rock fusion. The transcendent four-piece seamlessly brings together genres as diverse as melodic rock, fusion, gritty funk, progressive rock, ambient, hip-hop and jazz.

New Orlean’s own Gravity A will continue the festivities, bringing their unique funktronica and eclectic sounds into their late-night set. As the sun rises, local New Orleans funk outfit Gravy will finish the night by hosting the sunrise breakfast jam with special guests.

Event Information:

Nine bands, two stages
Doors: 8 p.m.
Show: 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Buy tickets for $30 in advance.

Artist Lineup:

The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars are: Ivan Neville, Johnny Vidacovich, Col. Bruce Hampton, Oteil Burbridge, Eric McFadden, Roosevelt Collier, Duane Trucks, Doug Belote and special guests!

Orgone VS. Monophonics (playing full sets each, plus a special set together)
Kung Fu
The California Honeydrops
TAUK
Polyrhythmics
Gravity A
Gravy (Sunrise Breakfast Jam)

Schedule of Events:

Main Stage
9 p.m.: The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars
11:30 p.m.: Orgone VS. Monophonics
11:30 p.m.: Monophonics
1 a.m.: Orgone
3 a.m.: Kung Fu

Den Stage
10 p.m.: Polyrhythmics
Midnight: The California Honeydrops
2 a.m.: TAUK
4 a.m.: Gravity A
6 a.m.: Gravy
Sunrise Breakfast Jam with special guests

*All times local Central Standard Time

For more information, go to Bayou Rendezvous’ Facebook page or Facebook event page, Twitter and Spotify playlist.

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