Monday, February 7, 2011

Umphrey's McGee, 1/31/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

Umphrey's McGee, 1/31/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

This was a "surprise" gig that Umphrey's announced while they were playing at the Nokia Best Buy Theater a few days earlier. I was excited for the show but had a particularly rough Monday due to my dog being really sick and nearly bailed. However, fresh air seemed like a good idea and I made record time getting to Brooklyn Bowl- it took less than an hour to drive, park, and have a margarita in my hand. For the record, this was the 3rd night in a row I was drinking frozen strawberry margaritas and seeing Rock n Roll. It's a good bender.

DISCLAIMER: My heart wasn't really in this show and I considered not reviewing it at all. Were it not for my outrage at two things, this post probably wouldn't have happened.

1) In general, the sound at Brooklyn Bowl is pretty horrible. The sound at Brooklyn Bowl for this show was fucking atrocious and actually far worse than I've ever heard it before. How much of that was the Umphrey's mix is hard to tell. It's a smallish venue and they loaded in enough equipment (including lights, but we'll get to that) for a place 3 times the size. All that did was create such a Perfect Shitstorm of Sound that it was impossible to enjoy any music in the entire front half of the room. I know this because I was standing in front of Joel for the first song. My ear-filters were in and it was still much too much. The low end was so loud ("how loud was it?") that I could feel every one of my major organs vibrating-- not in a good way. Not in a Phatty Rob Derhak Bass Solo IN MY LUNGS kinda way.

*BOOM BOOM BOOM* *EXCESS EXCESS EXCESS* Too much, too much, too much! My guts were hurting-- that's fucked up. Before the first song was even over, I had retreated all the way back to the soundboard area to avoid permanent hearing damage. I didn't even stay up there long enough to take any pics! You see, there are choices in life and I choose NOT to go deaf listening to Umphrey's McGee.

2) Earlier in the day I had seen the promo trailer for Umphrey's Light Designer, Jeff Waful's web-based reality show on, Jeff Waful +1. Here's the thing: I don't know the guy personally and he's a really talented dude, but this trailer makes him come off as a totally ego-centric douche (that's what blogs are for). In fact, it's the very definition of "douchetastic".

As a TV Producer, this crawls under my skin. Admittedly, I've worked on some real pieces of shit, but I'm insulted that someone has decided to throw this together and pass it off as entertainment (though Waful throws around the word "Journalism"? Couldn't tell if that was sarcasm or not.). I can also tell you that the entire point of a promo trailer is to get the audience to REALLY WANT TO WATCH the show. Show me something that I want to see- like a band member passed out in his own sick-- because I would tune in for that! No, this was "me, me, me, me, me +1". This trailer made me roll my eyes, dry heave (maybe a little bile in there), and then--- the point of this whole rant--- it made me have a really difficult time enjoying the (many) lights, because all I kept thinking about was what a self-absorbed douche that guy is. Maaaybe I'm totally off on this (I'm wrong on occasion, it happens) - if that's the case: Waful, you need a Producer. Totes cereal. And maybe even a Publicist to fix this.

Waful +1? Relix, are you fucking kidding me? Who cares?!

Oh yeah- the show. Great parts in set 1, but thought set 2 was better- more guitar shredding and less low end techno shoved down your throat foot stompers. They did a pretty cool Everybody Wants To Rule The World/The Way You Make Me Feel medley and Brendan nailed the MJ vocals (it was actually kind of scary how accurate he was). Umphrey's redeemed themselves from the center/sbd area.

Mark and I simultaneously called it a night about a half hour before the show ended, but almost got stuck in one of those big comfy couches in the lounge. We did eventually make it out okay, but it was a real close call.

Umphrey's McGee, 1/31/11, Brooklyn, NYC: 6.5 HUZZAHS^. Yeah, you heard me. But those crazy kids^^ up front didn't, cuz they're all deaf now.

Set 1: Mantis > The Triple Wide, Susanah, Got Your Milk (Right Here) > Jam, Professor Wormbog, London Calling > Morning Song, Prowler > Mantis
Set 2: Partyin' Peeps, Pay the Snucka > Everybody Wants to Rule the World/The Way You Make Me Feel, Ringo, Pipeline > Gulf Stream, Cemetery Walk > Jimmy Stewart > Cemetery Walk, Deeper, Pay the Snucka
Encore: Ride On Pony, Divisions


^ Points added for frozen strawberry margarita.
^^ (with their hair and pants).

No comments: