All Things Umphrey's > 3x40oz → Reviews

3x40oz December 3, 2015
I can't remember exactly when I first heard this show, but I believe it was my freshman year of college, so let's say early 2005. I had just heard about this Humphrey's band and was looking to check them out. Somehow, I came into possession of this gem of a live concert, and soon enough, I would have a new favorite band.

The first set is gold. A standard Mulche's opener led to an OG version Haunt, followed by one of my favorite Jazz Odyssey's. Patient jazzy 2004 UM at their best. Sociable and 40's are both standard versions, followed by the Pequod/Ahab sandwich, a simple composition but one that is among my favorites. A blazing Senor Mouse cover sets the tone for FF and the peaking jam out of it. The improv starts out a bit reminiscent of Fire on the Mountain, before evolving into a blistering peak much like the 2/21/2004 FF. Robot World and a tasty Black Water cover round out set 1.

The second set picks up where the first leaves off; luckily for the listener, we don't have to sit through the 1 hour fire marshall-induced set break like the show's attendees! The band came out with a vengeance, as Much Obliged gets some nice treatment before making way for Haji and a 20 minute version of HBB. Fairly ordinary versions of Bottom Half and Crooked One sandwich a briefly extended Triple Wide. The unique dichotomy of Kat's Tune and the Metallica cover round out the set; the 20 minute FP encore with a verse of Kashmir melded in is a great close to a classic setlist.

There have been shows with more improv, and higher quality improv, but the smattering of jams throughout, the excellent flow and song selection, and some tight-ass playing of the compositions make this show an all-timer for me. It definitely does not hurt that this was also my first introduction to the band, along with 2/7/2004.

3x40oz November 18, 2014
I was sort of skeptical of this show's prospects when the band neglected to jam out of the opening JaJunk, dropping right into Booth Love from JaJunk part I. Luckily, the gift of hindsight allows me to feel foolish for doubting a winter ter 2011 show. Turn & Dub is a contender for best version ever; excellent second jam in this one. Improv was also neglected in the PtP > Deeper > PtP sammich, with a drop right into the second half of JaJunk to close a pretty pedestrian first set.

The second set is where shit took off: huge standalone Mulche's, standalone B1/2 with a nice lyrical, Bombtrack with Ilya for the br0z (should've been Sludge & Death!), and a CWII that eschewed the usual 4 on the floor thump for a more atypical, jazzy jam built over two Jake progressions. Sociable, Andy's, and National Anthem is a run of songs I'd be happy to catch at any show. The encore Bird Bath was short, but the Imperial March jam was super choice.

3x40oz November 14, 2014
Setlist orgasm. At the time, I remember leaving the show wondering what the hell they would play the next few nights. It seemed like they were unloading all of their heavy hitter songs in one go. Standalone Kitchen and Bridgeless are the highlights of the first set. Kitchen started with some uplifting JC/BB riffs and kept that progression going for a bit, allowing Joel a nice little Rhodes solo. BB cleaned the slate, and the band (particularly Joel and his synth) turned the vibe towards an extremely dance-friendly feel after a pretty heavily teased return to the composition. The eventual return to Kitchen from the second theme of 'prov was very patient and nicely done. Bridgeless's jam really took off over an ominous, plodding bassline from Stasik, doubled by Joel on synth, and the playing stayed loose, covering a fair amount of ground. Catching a Haunt was a treat and the jam leading out of it was enjoyable but a step below the Kitchen and Bridgeless jams, for my taste. Divisions was a fairly concise version.

Conduit had a nice jam to start the second set strong, but I can't recall anything else being particularly noteworthy. When they fired up N2F for the encore, I got excited, with visions of a standalone encore monster a la 10/17/2007 dancing in my head, so it was a bit disappointing to have the lyricless covers take the place of any improv.

3x40oz November 14, 2014
Really enjoyed this show live...classic 2011 UM shit. The opening AIT had a nice jam. Never can catch the Red Tape teases but the Life During Wartime tease was very apparent live and on tape. Butter smooth segue into PS. The Water > Day Nurse > August section felt a little disjointed with the juxtaposition of Water's tight composition, the electro-dance of Nurse, followed by a soaring August. The August jam would eventually become the opening riff of Similar Skin. Deeper jam was decent but not particularly noteworthy.

The AIT drop out of Prowler kind of caught me off guard. I thought for sure that would be saved until the end of the second set. 1348 seemed like it was about to take off when they segued to 2x2. I wish they had milked that jam a bit more. 2x2 is always a pleasure to catch. The band really liked the Tink's/Masoka Tanga pairing in 2011. I recall it happening a couple times. If they really did play Billie Jean off the cuff for the encore, that's fucking sweet. The crowd ate it up and it provided a nice transition into the second half of 1348.

TL; DR - All In Time, August, and 1348 are the highlights. Solid show all around.

3x40oz February 27, 2014
This show was sort of strange for my tastes in UM...lots of ups and downs in the first set. The Olympic walkout and opening Wappy portended a strong Saturday night show, but following it up with standard versions of Peeps and CWI seemed to bring the energy in the room way down. Snucka was initially welcomed, but I found the sit-in jam to be a bit noodly for my tastes. #5 and Sociable are two of my favourite compositions, and closing with two brand new tunes and Snucka III was an excellent move. Booth Love definitely got the room moving, and I remember wondering if the Linear was an obscure Police cover (first time played with lyrics, so I was totally in the dark.)

Set II started very strong, just like the first set, but managed to keep it's momentum rolling throughout. An unfinished Divisions with a nice funky MJ jam juxtaposed nicely with the powerful darkness of The Floor. I would have liked some improv in the Ringo, but this was the first Glory I had caught since my first show four years earlier at the E-Factory, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Abbey Road medley was another great rarity to catch, featuring vox from BB, Jake, and Joel on the various songs. 2x2 is a fantastic f*cking song; I was ecstatic to see this one drop late in the second set. A quick Mantis Ghetts into a full-on Baylor singalong Divisions ending was a great ending to the set. MP is perhaps my favourite Jake song (right up there with Bad Poker and Synco); a quirky tune with a strong dose of Zappa-ish humour and musicality. I expected Package's dueling guitar coda to end the show, so a focused CWII was a bonus that sent me out the door dancing.

3x40oz January 30, 2014
2011 was a year that featured one or two really good pieces of improv in almost every show, and this one did not disappoint. The standard Eat followed by Words was really the only slow part of the show. FF and 1348 were easily the highlights of set 1, as both contained quality improv and approached the 15 minute mark. FF had a very patient jam, beginning as spacey dub before shifting into more driving territory and closing with a Stranglehold jam before Anchor Drops started on a dime. 1348's jam started out with a heavy BB riff complimented by nice Rhodes work by Joel. The B section was uplifting, with a nice soaring Jake riff. The return to 1348 was very patient; they really eased into it, almost like they do with the intro. Slacker had a brief jam and brought a satisfying first set to a close.

Set 2 started very strong, with a Bloodline of Merlin sampled quote leading into WBG. The Hey 19 through Phil's Farm segment is undoubtedly the show highlight, with about 40 minutes of uninterrupted playing including several strong improv sections. Hey 19 featured a Midnight Hour jam with vox by Jake. My girlfriend presciently observed that it sounded a lot like Funkytown, which I scoffed at, only to be shocked and served when the band snuck in a brief Funkytown jam next! The Linear featured a spacey jam that followed FF's template and picked up in pace, highlighted by Jake's fingertapping that recalled PF's On the Run. For my money, Linear was the jam of the night. Linear dissolved into Phil's, which quickly took a turn into the space-dance sort of improv featured in this show. The ALS theme begins early on in the improv out of Phil's and led smoothly into Blue Echo. A hauntingly beautiful jam after the Echo section featured a Joel piano progression and very restrained but powerful playing from all band members. This stew was very similar to a 2006 version of Blue Echo (4/19/2006 possibly? The date escapes me at the moment.) Echo did not return to the "Techo" section, but rather dropped back into the second half of Phil's before a BLBC set closer. BLBC featured some funk jamming around the main theme, a solid version but rather ordinary when compared to the best versions of the song from 2011 (year of the massive Bright Lights?) 40's encore was welcomed but not particularly notable.

3x40oz October 19, 2012
Only UM show ever in Delaware! I would love for them to return; the venue was great and the elderly ushers seemed very confused by UM. This is an underrated show. The jam out of Ocean Billy was pretty unique. It was a 2-part jam that evolved out of what sounded like some prerecorded beats and samples and featured a nice BB riff. Spires included the outro, which was a treat, and Jake slayed the WMM solo per usual. Nice jam in LMS which may have been the best improv of the night. Toto cover and the Crazy Fingers excerpt were much appreciated. PtP also had an interesting jam with some samples of a baby's laugh and Jake mimicking it with some guitaromatopoeia. Bob tease before the encore.

3x40oz October 19, 2012
In my opinion, the early show at Festival Pier was the better show in terms of playing, but the energy in the TLA for the latenight was ridiculous. The jam between Snucka parts I and II got the party started. The rap medley following Regulate was also a highlight.

3x40oz October 19, 2012
Probably the best UM show I've seen in person, and the closest thing I get to a hometown show taboot. Roulette was extended, with a nice linear jam based on a BB riff. Mulche's had a nice jam as well, including a dub section, and the transition back into N2F before ending the set was very well done. Phil's was easily the jam of the night, but both halves of Ringo had some good jamming, with a Voodoo Child jam in the first section and Slacker and Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty jams in the second segment. Nice rarities too with Roulette, Uncommon, BtL, 13 Days, and Prophecy Now.

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