Halloween is a BIG weekend for the infamous Umphreyâ€™s McGee. These novelty shows usually follow a tradition of busting out a handful of debut covers in a variety of ways, including combining them together into one beastly monster called a â€˜mash-upâ€™. I knew I couldnâ€™t miss a single night of this yearâ€™s mash-up run, so I took up residence at a hotel suite directly across from the Milwaukeeâ€™s Riverside Theater along with ten of my closest friends. The first night of the run was actually on Halloween, plus all three shows were being streamed and taped for later release. I guess it goes without saying that this weekend was destined to be mashed to another level.
I spent the first half of Halloween day sewing together my Hellâ€™s Belle costume, which was a mash-up of the devil and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I was definitely ready to rock and roll in my AC/DC get up and, needless to say, the members of Umphreyâ€™s were also dressed to impress for this special holiday. Brendan Bayliss was HeisenBert Reynolds, Jake Cinninger was Silent Bob Seger, Kris Myers was Dr. Phil Spector, and Andy Farag was Paul Ryan Braun, to which the Milwaukee crowd booâ€™d and hissed as he was introduced. But the best costume had to of been Joel Cummins dressed as Uncle Jesse Pinkman.
The first mash-up song of the night came at the end of the first set. It featured â€œWhen Doves Cryâ€ by Prince, blended with Umph original â€œPay the Snuckaâ€ and Blue Oyster Cultâ€™s â€œ(Donâ€™t Fear) The Reaperâ€. While â€Donâ€™t Fear the Doves, Snuckaâ€ was fairly well mashed, I felt like it didnâ€™t have quite enough cow bell to really pull it off.
Halloween nightâ€™s second set contained the next mash-up; â€œPapa Can Change a Blurred Stoneâ€. This was probably my least favorite debut of the weekend, mostly because Umphreyâ€™s covered Robin Thickeâ€™s â€œBlurred Linesâ€. This pop song has haunted me at every wedding, club, and dive bar I patronized over the past six months and the fact that I had to endure it once again while watching my favorite band was the ultimate Halloween trick. Not only that, but it completely overpowered The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and LCD Soundsystem in the process. I am not sure whose idea it was to cover that specific song but I have a feeling bassist Ryan Stasik was involved, especially since his mash-up costume was Batman & Robin Thicke.
The final mash-up of the night stayed true to the yearly Halloween Mash-up Show tradition of saving the best for last. â€œHighway to Electric Avenueâ€ was probably the most well mashed song of the Halloween show and seemed deliberately put aside for the showâ€™s encore. Umphreyâ€™s original â€œThe Triple Wideâ€ helped set off the mash-upâ€™s pace which eventually evolved into a game of double-dutch between AC/DCâ€™s â€œHighway to Hellâ€ and Eddy Grantâ€™s â€œElectric Avenueâ€.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this mash-up contained a song by the same band that inspired my Hellâ€™s Belle costume. Besides the three mash-ups, the setlist from Halloween contained heavy hitter after heavy hitter without a single song from the albums Mantis or Anchor Drops thrown in the mix. Fancy that.
Originally posted: summercampfestival.com/2013/11/04/mashup/