first_imgLoad remaining images After twenty years, thousands of concerts, and ten studio albums, on January 12, progressive rock stalwarts Umphrey’s McGee released their newest album it’s not us. The creation and release of their eleventh studio album culminated in a very intimate concert at Chicago’s Park West that doubled as the release party. The atmosphere at Park West was definitely more casual and relaxed than the raging musical marathons a UM show is usually known for.The short set was highlighted by stories, anecdotes, and other nuggets of UM information that was given by the band members themselves. So instead of taking the stage and beginning with a spacey “Jazz Odyssey”, guitarists Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger discussed at length the genesis of the title of “Half Delayed,” one of the songs off it’s not us. They then played “Maybe Someday”, which could be traced all the way back to 2008’s “Waist Down,” a UM original that has disappeared from their repertoire.Bayliss detailed the life and love (and struggles) of having children and how that became the catalyst for the song, “Whistle Kid”. That song has a very catchy whistling part that won’t be forgotten by anybody that hears it—you could hear the tune being whistled by fans outside the venue three hours later after it was played. Bassist Ryan Stasik relayed how all members of the band took part in recording the whistling except for Joel Cummins and himself because they “only know how to suck while the others guys can blow.”The new material was given a respite when Bayliss announced that the next song “goes out to anyone that doesn’t like the new album”, and they launched into a fun “Bridgeless.” The song was stretched out slightly and had a “Cut the Cable” sandwiched inside. They brought out the acoustics for “You & You Alone” which definitely demonstrated how UM’s acoustic tunes are some of the best they have written, and then kept them out for a rendition of Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” which had everyone clapping and singing along. The last song not featured on the new album was a fantastic “Blue Echo.” A great jam vehicle, this version didn’t disappoint. After the composed section, Stasik immediately got the groove going with a catchy bass line that developed into a full “So Fresh, So Clean” jam that was the best jam of the night. They returned to their new material and ended the short set with two more songs from the new album, “Silent Type” and “Looks.”It was odd having the show over but people remaining in the venue. Nobody left because as the musicians exited the stage, the PA slowly took to playing it’s not us in its entirety. The band members gradually took to mingling with the crowd for conversations and photos with Umphreaks. Fans were very happy as they (we) noticeably had ear-to-ear grins while hanging with the band. The 1939 Underwood typewriter that was utilized significantly for the it’s not us concept art was on display. Fans were able to write messages for the band to read through later.Even with the show over, the environment was chill yet jovial, and it was a great way to hear the album. For some fans, it was the umpteenth time they had heard it, having listened to it almost religiously since it was officially released only three days ago. For others, it was the first time hearing it. Whichever category one falls in, the album is bound to be enjoyable. The only song remaining off the new album that hasn’t been played is “Dark Brush” and that is one of many things to look forward to as the Umphrey’s goes forth into 2018.Thanks to Kevin Higley on YouTube, you can watch a few videos below, plus make sure to check out a number of photos from last night’s show, courtesy of Ojeda Photography.“Half Delayed”[Video: Kevin Higley]“Maybe Someday”[Video: Kevin Higley]“Can’t You See”[Video: Kevin Higley]Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | ‘it’s not us’ album release party | Park West | Chicago, IL | 1/14/18Set: Half Delayed, Maybe Someday, Whistle Kids, Bridgeless -> Cut the Cable -> Bridgeless, You & You Alone, Can’t You See, Blue Echo, Silent Type, LooksUmphrey’s McGee | it’s not us album release party | Park West | Chicago, IL | 1/14/18 | Photos by Daniel Ojedalast_img