Kick Out the McJams
A review of Umphrey's McGee.
By Jim Caligiuri,
11:06AM, Mon. Oct. 8, 2007
I showed up at Stubb’s Saturday night at 7:45 for Outformation's 8pm start and they were already well into their blast of Southern boogie. This is how you know they're road dogs. Led by former Widespread Panic guitar tech Sam Holt, the quintet played for 30 minutes without taking their first break, winding through some loud, hard Americana. Comparisons to Panic are not unjustified, but Outformation took a more blue-collar approach. Lighter on the space jams and further into the blues a la fellow Georgians the Allman Brothers, they closed with a revved up take on the Marshall Tucker Band’s instrumental “Long Hard Ride,” which illustrated the point perfectly.
Though they could be described as a "jam band," headliner Umphrey’s McGee comes from a different direction than those emulating the Grateful Dead. This was obvious from a couple of speed metal/prog rock guitar excursions, especially second set (yes, there were two) opener, “Wizard Burial Ground,” on which guitarist Jake Cinninger set his guitar on stun. While they occasionally drifted into the realm of noodling, the Chicago sextet also mixed in techno beats, Steely Dan soul, and reggae, proving they're capable of almost any style, but two lengthy sets may have been a bit much for unfamiliar ears.