Thursday, October 8, 2009

What to Do Tonight: Umphrey's McGee

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 9:00 AM

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Mantis, the sixth album by 12-year-old Chicago jam-band Umphrey’s McGee, goes where very few jam-band albums go: into the studio with intentions other than pounding out some recent stage-worn songs. Most of the tracks were shaped during recording by the sextet, and the result is an album that plays around with sounds more freely than any other Umphrey’s record. Opener “Made to Measure” and especially the marching-over-mountains “Spires” are prog by nature, zipping through a catalog of gargantuan noises and time shifts for minutes on end. Yeah, other jam bands toil the same show-offy terrain from time to time, but Umphrey’s McGee have a real appetite for dragons-in-the-belfries prog-rock. Best of all, the band pulls it all off onstage, like it’s a quest handed down by King Arthur himself. Umphrey’s McGee play House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, houseofblues.com) at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. —Michael Gallucci

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