Umphrey’s McGee Go Ultra-Interactive

It’s just like being a
member of the band!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Jamband kingpins Umphrey’s McGee recently unveiled their “Stew
Art Series” where fans essentially help “conduct” the band’s live
improvisations. Umphrey’s debuted the deal earlier this month and it was a
raging success: the first in a series of S2 events was held in Milwaukee’s
Eagle’s Ballroom on October 3rd, 2009, and as you’ll be able to see in the
4-minute video below, band and fans alike had one whale of a time. Wait’ll you
see the whole place turn into a Metallica concert, yo!

 

The Eagles
Ballroom show was received with overwhelming enthusiasm and to rave reviews.
The sold-out crowd of 50 fans submitted their ideas by texting descriptive
words, phrases, and pop culture references (pretty much whatever came to mind),
to the Umphrey’s Mozes mobile interface.  The suggestions were then
filtered by the band’s long time Sound Caresser Kevin Browning and projected on
a screen for the band to digest and turn into the next phase of the jam. 
The band’s music varied stylistically with suggestions ranging from “an
afternoon bus ride in Jamaica”
to “drinking pina coladas…in a hurricane”. As one elated fan
commented after the show, “S2 was the coolest thing I have ever been a
part of. It’s always been a dream of mine to meet the band, and the opportunity
to participate in leading the Jam for the band was a dream come true as well.”

 

As
highly skilled improvisational
musicians known for using a complex set of signals on stage to prompt
spontaneous musical changes, S2 is
proving to keep the band on their toes as they navigate through the audience’s
prompts. S2 events also include a Q&A session providing an
opportunity for fans to ask about what they’re witnessing (or ask anything else
for that matter). As part of the ticket (which will actually be a custom
laminate that will be different for each S2 event), every
attendee will receive an autographed CD of the Stew Art Series they attend –
minutes after the event has concluded. To be clear, each S2 show
is a TOTALLY separate event than the scheduled concert date and will be sold as
a separate ticket – getting a ticket to S2 does not get you
into the show later that night (and vice versa). The S2 experiment
is just that, an experiment. Keyboardist Joel Cummins explains, “The
improvisational elements of our show have always been one of our favorite parts
about playing together – and we think the audience feels that way, too. That’s
our inspiration for the S2 series. It’s also a great way to
stay on top of our chops.” S2events take place in the early evening
before the respective show start times. Prices and ages vary from show to show
– which should last one hour (with Q&A).

 

The
next S2 event is slated for Oct. 24 in Portland – see below for details on that and
the band’s “regular” tour as well.

 

Tour Dates:

 

October 21
Knitting Factory Spokane WA
October 22 Showbox Seattle WA
October 23 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
October 24 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR*** [S2 show that day]
October 25 Eureka Theatre Eureka CA
October 27 Crystal Bay Club Crystal Bay NV
October 28 McNears Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
October 29 House of Blues West Hollywood CA
October 30-31 Las Tortugas – Dance of the Dead IV Groveland (Yosemite) CA
November 11 The Opera House Toronto, Canada
November 12-14 Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington VT
November 15 Port City Music Hall Portland ME
November 17 Northern Lights Clifton Park NY
November 18 Water Street Music Hall Rochester NY
November 19 Mr. Small’s Theatre Millvale PA
November 20-21 9:30 Club Washington D.C.
December 10-14 Caribbean Holidaze Runaway Bay
December 29 Vic Theatre Chicago IL
December 30-31 Aragon Ballroom Chicago IL
March 21-23 Jam in the ‘Dam, The Melkweg Amsterdam 

 

 

 

 

 

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