Lincoln Hall

UMBowl: Setlist and Recap

The first annual UMBowl lived up to the hype this past Saturday night as Umphrey’s McGee gave the fans what they wanted over the course of four “quarters” at the intimate Lincoln Hall in Chicago. There were bust outs galore, debuts and reworked versions of old classics as well as plenty of mash-ups. Quarter one featured the band on acoustic performing songs that were voted on by attendees and webcast viewers including the first-ever live version of the Safety In Numbers cut The Weight Around, the first-ever acoustic take on Hurt Bird Bath and a completely out of left field cover of Interstate Love Song by the Stone Temple Pilots.

A Humorous Video Introduced Each Quarter

For the second quarter, the Chicago-based sextet improvised on themes provided by fans through text messages. Before the first round of improv keyboardist Joel Cummins asked fans to text in mashup ideas and the attendees and webcast viewers responded with a number of good ideas including Bathtub Gin & Juice, Ocean Billie Jean and Cemetery Walk This Way. The second category given by Cummins was “Numbers, Colors and Shapes” and the final one was “Make Us Laugh” which led to such texts as The Folk Prince of Bel-Air and Reggae Titties and Beer.

Quarter three was an all-request electric set that saw the band dust off Muff II: The Revenge for the first time since 2002 and Muffburger Sandwich for the first time since 2005. Other treats included a dub version of Wife Soup and a funk-laden Der Bluten Kat sandwich with a Girlfriend Is Better filling.

READ ON for more on UMBowl and an extremely detailed setlist…

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Review: Tortoise @ Lincoln Hall

Tortoise brought a rare two-week tour to a close last Saturday in front of a sold-out hometown crowd in Chicago. Often just gigging sparingly, the time on the road had the band sounding as tight and cohesive as I’ve ever seen them, playing a masterful set that spanned their entire career.

Since entering my musical world a few years ago, I can’t think of another band more consistently in my listening rotation. Each record has carved its own place, being called on at specific times to serve their purpose. Intensely structured yet free flowing, Tortoise builds sonic soundscapes that are as dynamic or passive as you – the listener – choose to hear them. Genre-busting and wholly unique, Tortoise have been semi-quietly making some of the best and most influential records of the last 15 years.

As impressive as the records are, Tortoise is a band that needs to be seen live to fully grasp. It’s easy to get lost in their world of shape-shifting studio madness, but to see the same material performed by five dudes in front of your face is truly a whole other experience. The songs come alive, each section grabbing you and dragging you along as it twists and turns before seamlessly flows into whatever is next.

READ ON for more of Joel’s thoughts and pictures…

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