Written by Bill Whiting – [email protected]
Umphreys McGee’s triumphant return to Covington, Kentucky’s Madison Theater began with the epic strains of “Cemetery Walk” off of 2009’s highly underrated Mantis recording. Jake Cinninger’s bottle neck slide guitar work pushed the opening movement forward as Brendan Bayliss’ unmistakable vocals colored “Cemetery Walk’s” harmonic lines. “2nd Self” followed, with Andy Farag, Kris Myers and Ryan Stasik combining to take the packed theater on a rollercoaster musical journey that led into the fan favorite “Ringo.” On “Resolution” into “White Man’s Moccasins,” bassist Nick Blasky of Ray’s Music Exchange fame joined the ensemble to kick out the jams, and Umphreys Mcgee’s extended improvisations hit a first set peak. They returned to the refrain of “Cemetery Walk 2,” and it’s grooving dancehall propulsion to close out the set. When the group returned to the stage, the pounding salvo of “Der Bluten Kat” shook the walls of the veteran Covington building, and the tight crush on the floor began to sway to the beat. “In the Kitchen” took on a life of it’s own with Bayliss and Cinninger trading barbed and twisty lead guitar solos. Keyboardist Joel Cummins got a workout on two different tracks from the Pink Floyd classic, Dark Side of the Moon on the songs “Breathe,” and the free flowing “Great Gig in the Sky.” All members of Umphreys McGee walked offstage to a rapturous ovation after they delivered the tightly driven rhythm gem, “Gulf Stream.” Coming back to encore with “All in Time,” Umphreys McGee awarded the Madison Theater audience with a classic experience, and there was a buzz as the patrons left the building with a sense of satisfaction from the r sound and light musical magic on March 6.