Picture Show: Umphrey’s McGee / Conspirator @ The Cap

Umphrey’s McGee / Conspirator @ The Capitol Theatre, October 17

Photos: Jeremy Smith
Words: Scott Bernstein

For your average band, the first show of a tour is the time to shake off the rust and get your sea legs under you, but Umphrey’s McGee isn’t your average band. The road warriors showed no sign of rust as they delivered two relentless sets chock full of aggressive rock improv at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester on Wednesday night that found them as tight as ever as they embarked on a three-week tour.

[All Photos by Jeremy Smith]

Jamtronica act Conspirator opened the festivities and were another band that was firing on all cylinders. Bassist Marc Brownstein and keyboardist Aron Magner have a chemistry that only comes after decades of performing together as they were finishing each other’s musical sentences on Wednesday night. Guitarist Chris Michetti had ample time to melodically shred over electronic grooves while drummer KJ Sawka anchored the intense excursions. When Conspirator landed upon the familiar riffs of Tom Sawyer by Rush it clear the quartet held the crowd in the palm of their proverbial hand. The Conspirator crew took full advantage of the newly reopened venue’s projection system which added the perfect visual to the group’s hard-hitting tunes.

Umphrey’s Setlist:

Set 1: Rocker Part 2WordsRoom to Breathe > Sociable Jimmy > Go to HellVisions -> Room to BreatheBright Lights, Big City

Set 2: Mulche’s OdysseyDump City > It’s About That Time -> Dump City2×2 > Glory > 2×2 > Theresa > 2×2I Am the Walrus[1] > Nothing Too Fancy[2] > Willie The Pimp > Nothing Too Fancy

Encore: Divisions[3]

[1] with Entrance of the Gladiators (Julius Fučík) tease
[2] with Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac) teases
[3] with The Pequod tease

[via All Things Umphrey’s]

Umphrey’s took the stage at 9:30PM with the aptly-named Rocker II and by the time the night was over, more than three hours later, they had treated their fans to a well-rounded show that displayed all the aspects of what makes them great. Beautiful instrumentals? Glory and the rarely performed Visions scratched that itch. Emotional rockers with deep lyrical content? Words and Room To Breathe filled that role. Off-the-cuff improv? Wonderful diversions into It’s About That Time by Miles Davis out of Dump City and a bombastic cover of Frank Zappa’s Willie The Pimp out of Nothing Too Fancy both were unplanned audibles not found on the pre-planned setlist. Dance jams? The Bright Lights, Big City which ended the opening stanza was 12 minutes of fire. Not to mention, the venue’s ample size and soft angles were the perfect canvas for Umphrey’s LD Jefferson Waful to paint.

Photographer Jeremy Smith was on hand to shoot both bands. Check out his shots…

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