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ACL Live Shot: Umphrey's McGee

Zilker Park, Oct. 12

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 19, 2012

ACL Live Shot: Umphrey's McGee
Photo by Shelley Hiam

All aspects of what makes Umphrey's McGee attractive were packed into this much too brief one-hour set. The sextet's unpredictable nature gets them slotted with jam bands, but they bring a harder edge than others of that ilk, courtesy of dual guitarists Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger, who attract metalheads and Southern rockers. The band's affection for funk sidling mighty close to disco and electronic dance music led them to some discreet, yet happy spaces, ones that their assembled fans enjoyed immensely. As always, Umphrey's ensemble play was impossibly tight, recalling the latter day bands of Frank Zappa. The Chicago based outfit's progressive rock tendencies shone brightly on the space funk of "1348." They also shared the unreleased "Puppet String," which began as a slack power ballad but built into something emotionally charged. Near set's end there was a cover of Talking Heads "Making Flippy Floppy," an unlikely, yet satisfying combination of all of the above that led to a jam including a lean drum solo allowing the band to mount an impressive flying leap home.

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