Sold Out Umphrey's, Summer Camp, and more.

Sold Out Umphrey's, Summer Camp, and more.

Last Saturday I went up to Chicago for a sold-out Umphrey's McGee show at the Riviera. It was insane. There wasn't a bad song all night, but highlights include a furious "Phil's Farm" intro, the menacing reggae bounce of "Thin Air" with face-melting dueling guitars and one of the best jazz piano solos I've ever heard (followed by an "In the Hall of the Mountain King" outro), a "Red Tape" that shook the building, and three acoustic songs to round out the first set. The second set opened with a stellar 27-minute "Der Bluten Kat" that saw some very impressive improvisation as Jake and Brendan (the guitarists) flew off of each other's licks into otherworldly displays of musicianship. "Divisions", "Believe the Lie", and "Puppet String", all fan favorites by now, dominated the second half of the second set, with former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain joining the band onstage for a "Cherub Rock" encore. It was a night to remember (and the sweet poster I got doesn't hurt things either).

But I digress. There is much to look forward to as the snow finally begins to ease off its icy grip of death on the Midwest. Summer Camp is just around the corner, and what with the lineup including Slightly Stoopid, Primus, the Zac Brown Band, Lettuce, Chicago Farmer's New Feat with Old Shoe, and countless other amazing acts, music fans are beginning to stir in anticipation. And even further down the road, Shoe Fest is starting to peek its head out of Camp Shaw in Manteno, not to mention all the other great small festivals around Illinois. But there are countless other shows going on, like tonight down in Carbondale, the Easy Riders with special guest Steven Kaufman (an incredible musician who falls under the category of "ragegrass"). They're playing at Tres Hombres, 119 N. Washington in Carbondale. It would not be one to miss (I'll be stuck at work unfortunately). Also, tomorrow night at the Canopy, new fan favorites Soap will be joining EGI, Zaramela, and Acoustics Anonymous for what will surely be a good time. 

Keep listening everybody, that's what it's all about. Hopefully I'll see some of you on down the road!

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