CONCERT REVIEW: Umphrey's McGee Blows Minds @ LA's Wiltern

Written by Jessica Klausing

Umphrey's McGee photo by Paul Citone.

Umphrey's McGee photo by Paul Citone.

Umphrey’s McGee entranced the Los Angeles’ Wiltern theater for two, high energy-packed sets.

Amidst the hypnotic psychedelic light show and LED visuals, Umphrey’s McGee seamlessly weaves progressive rock, jazz, disco, funk, metal, and electronic genres into a cohesive dance mix. Each band member has a keen musical ear and an uncanny talent to communicate with each other on stage.

If you’re not familiar with these technically adept musicians then you might be a bit overwhelmed. At any given minute, the band may take a blues ballad and feverishly drive it into a tripped out psychedelic groove. Their classic hits are consistently being re-worked into a whole new sound.

The die-hard UM fans or “Umphreaks” will proudly express how each show is a completely different mind-blowing experience. Umphrey’s is known for their extended complex instrumental jams and abruptly switching songs mid way only to be re-visited later on in the set.  

Organ Freeman photo by Paul Citone.

Organ Freeman photo by Paul Citone.

The opener, Organ Freeman heated up the night with some organ centered instrumental jams. Rob Humphreys (drums), Trevor Steer (organ, key bass), and Erik Carlson (guitar) manage to intricate a funky aesthetic into their peppy soulful grooves. The trio had everyone up and swaying to the beat.

Umphrey’s came out next and launched right into the rock heavy hitter, “Dark Brush,” followed by the funkier “Bad Friday.” The first set comprised mostly of progressive rock melodies with Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals) and Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals) alternating vocals between hard shredding electric riffs and bluesy stripped down rhythms.

Jefferson Waful (Umphrey's McGee Lighting Designer). Photo by Paul Citone.

Jefferson Waful (Umphrey's McGee Lighting Designer). Photo by Paul Citone.

After a twenty minute intermission, Umphrey’s returned with a more electronic trance fused second set, forcing everyone back up on their feet for “Wappy Sprayberry.” “The Floor” followed with Kris Myers (drums, vocals) and Andy Farag (percussion) flawlessly interweaving powerful percussions within the dreamy arrangements.

Without warning, Ryan Stasik (bass) rips us back in to the rock n’ roll endeavor “JaJunk.” Before closing out the set, Umphrey’s treated fans to a transcendental rendition of the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” The performance left many excited whispers exchanged throughout the venue.

From left to right: Ryan Stasik (bass), Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals), and Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals). Photo by Paul Citone.

From left to right: Ryan Stasik (bass), Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals), and Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals). Photo by Paul Citone.

Umphrey’s McGee continues to astound with their precise technically crafted musicianship, their vast variety in sound over their discography and their ability to create sophisticated and fun-loving tracks to just dance to and enjoy. If you’re looking for a band that challenges the multi genre scope, Umphrey’s McGee is well worth the listen!


Set I:

Dark Brush

Bad Friday


Example 1

Rocker Part 2



 Set II:

Wappy Sprayberry

The Floor

Booth Love


Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads cover)

Maybe Someday



The Silent Type

CONCERT REVIEW: Umphrey's McGee at NYC's Central Park

Written by Eric Ruth

Where do I begin?

 I missed my train and then ended up getting lost in NYC. When I finally made my way to Central Park, I was in for a surprise. I was nervous that the line would be out of control. Instead, there was only about a dozen or so people in line. While everyone was standing over to the left, I decided to go over to the right, and just go straight to the front of the line. 

Once inside I made my way to the rail where I got to stand front row in the center of all the action! The guy to the right of me just got back from going on tour with Dead and Co. The guy to the left of me just got back from seeing Umphrey's McGee at Red Rocks. We actually made room so a 12-year-old kid could enjoy the show from the front row. This kid plays the piano and got an opportunity to play with with Umphrey's, Taz and has opened up for Billy and the Kids. His dad was with him and showed us photos.

The opening act, Aqueous, came out to play a total of two songs! The first song lasted at least 20 minutes long. The band announced that they only had "one more song for us." After the second song, they left the stage. That was it.

After a quick change over it was showtime. Some bands take three songs to get warmed up. Not Umphrey's. They came out like gangbusters. It was balls to wall intensity. They turned it up to 11 from the start.


Ryan Stasik photo by Eric Ruth

Ryan Stasik photo by Eric Ruth

However, problems arose within the first verse of the opener, "October Rain." This issue led the band, especially Ryan Stasik, the bass player, to curse and storm off the stage. Ryan was having issues with his bass. They tried to do a quick fix while the band continued to play. Instead, they had to leave the stage while the crew fixed the problem. After if was fixed they came back out to a loud cheer from the crowd.

The band returned with the electrifying “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” featuring stellar guitar harmonies from Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss. There were no breaks to be had, folks. The only break happened during the set break. These guys were on fire for the duration of the show.

From left to right: Ryan Stasik, Jake Cinninger and Brendan Baylass. Photo by Eric Ruth.

From left to right: Ryan Stasik, Jake Cinninger and Brendan Baylass. Photo by Eric Ruth.

The biggest surprise came during "Uptopian Fir." The band played bits of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love." The band played with so much passion that it started to rain. Just kidding. Of course, it did actually start to rain. Gallons of water poured from the sky but it did not perturb the fans. Everyone stayed put still in awe of the show.

Whether you're a fan of Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic, Funk, Jazz or Electronic music-- Umphrey's McGee has you covered. The band easily weaves its way through lots of different musical styles sometimes all within the same song to create a sound all their own.

P.S. Don't forget your dancing shoes. 




  • October Rain 
  • Bridgeless
  • Miss Tinkle's Overture
  • 2 x 2
  • Example 1 
  • Dump City 
  • Bridgeless


  • Plunger 
  • North Route 
  • Utopian Fir
  • Driven to Tears  
  • Preamble 
  • Mantis 
  • The Triple Wide   
  • Mantis


  • Rocker Part 2