The Beat Review: Umphrey’s McGee The rock-jam band showed D.C. some love at the Anthem.

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Having seen Umphrey’s McGee nearly 50 times, I can say with authority that the band always comes out with a bang, but sometimes the real rockin’ moments are saved for the second set. That was not the case as the band made its debut at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., my 47th time seeing the band, in a stellar show from the first note to the last.

After a soulful opening set from rising star The Marcus King Band, Umphrey’s kicked off the show with epic instrumental “Catshot” into the funky “40s Theme.” The first set, which featured songs from all over the band’s catalog, ended with a surprise sit-in from bluegrass guitarist Larry Keel, who played “You & You Alone,” an acoustic track from Umphrey’s McGee’s latest album, “it’s not us,” and The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” with the band.

The second set kicked off easy and upbeat with the “it’s not us” track “Half Delayed,” which segued into the first half of the guitar theatrics of “JaJunk.” The set featured the funky “it’s not us” song “Speak Up” ad the alternative rock sounds of “Turn & Run” before peaking with the heavy ending of “Puppet String.”

The band encored with new rocker “Looks” and segued into the second half of the always-crowd-pleasing “JaJunk.”

It was a roller coaster ride of genres and musical feels (as all Umphrey’s shows are), but the band clearly loves coming to D.C., and it shows in the music. For a group that’s celebrating its 20th anniversary, Umphrey’s sounds as fresh and tight as ever.

 

About THE BEAT: Marc Shapiro, a lifelong musician and concert-goer, writes about regional and national musicians, concerts, festivals and the music industry. He is managing editor at the Baltimore Jewish Times, a sister publication of Baltimore Style. More of his photos can be viewed on his Facebook page, and he can be reached at [email protected].

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