Midwest natives Umphrey’s McGee returned to the Canopy Club Wednesday night for their first show in Urbana since September of last year. The Canopy Club has always been a great place to see Umphrey’s McGee and Wednesday night’s show proved no different.
Supporting act EOTO (pronounced E-oh-to) played to a decently crowded Canopy Club before Umphrey’s took the stage. Comprised of Jason Hann (drums, sound effects) and Michael Travis (percussion, keyboards, sound effects, bass, guitar), both of String Cheese Incident fame, EOTO crossed the boundaries of how musicians can use electronics. The duo played a seamless set of 100% improvised break-beat, drum n’ bass music. While it was hard to discern which member was making which sound, EOTO was an extremely interesting act and a spectacle to see live.
An invigorated Umphrey’s took the stage a little after 10 p.m. and played close to three hours of music, covering both old songs and some newer ones. Opening with “The Floor,” a semi-new song that debuted on Halloween of 2007, Umphrey’s presented a revised version of song. The new version of the song had a much more natural flow and a very steady build that erupted into a head-banging outro. If this is a sign of what is to come on the next Umphrey’s studio record, it could easily become their strongest album.
Also contained within the first set was new song “Rocker Pt. II” and fan favorite “All In Time,” complete with Andy Farag and Kris Myers percussion-off. Chicago-Champaign pianist Brian Felix joined the band for an extended jam that focused heavily on tempo changes and an incredibly smooth guitar solo from Jake Cinniger.
Returning to the stage after a short set-break, the band opened with a rousing “40’s Theme,” the band’s homage to malt liquors. Segueing into “Resolution” and then back into itself, “40’s Theme” was one of the highlights of the entire night’s performance. Despite one slow spot in the second set with “Atmosfarag,” set two regained steam with “Much Obliged” and the closer, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles.
Encoring with “Anchor Drops” and a punk version of their song “Uncle Wally” (referred to as Punkle Wally), Umphrey’s left the audience feeling overall satisfied, but anxious for more. With Summer Camp Music Festival coming up in less than three weeks, they won’t have to wait long.