This ain’t no jam show

An ear orgasm could be one way to describe Umphrey’s McGee’s performance at Higher Ground on Thursday, or you could just say they were freakin’ amazing. More than 300 loyal fans filled the ballroom that evening in support of this innovative and masterfully crafted work of art that is Umphrey’s. Some of them danced, some of them just stared in awe, while others probably had no idea where they were, but danced anyway. Thursday, the second night of their two-night stint at Higher Ground, the band walked onto a “Jock Jams” styled synthesizer introduction played by Joel Cummins. They then transitioned into “Out of Order” immediately showcasing what they do best, performing an all-out musical assault. Instrumentally, Umphrey’s are nearly untouchable. Brendan Bayliss dressed casually, wearing his glasses yet still rocking out to the best of his abilities. Bayliss and Jake Cinninger mixed up their playing styles going from funky grooves to heavy guitar riffs, showing what they are just a rock n’ roll band. Their eclectic mix of styles showed through their extensive jams. The light throughout the night can be described as a bowl of fruity pebbles laced with crack, synced with the beat of the music. During the song “In the Kitchen,” a jam broke out which progressed into “Great American.” The energy stayed constant throughout the jams, allowing them to transition back to the original song at a later point. During “Great American,” Benny Yurco, from the Burlington act Turkey Bouillon Mafia, joined them on stage to play guitar, surprisingly able to play to the same caliber as the rest of the band. There were many surprises that played out during the evening. One of the highlights came during the second set, second song, when the band broke into “Cherub Rock” by the Smashing Pumpkins. Considering the recent state of the Pumpkins, the Umphrey’s version sounded better than the original, with Cinniger’s own interpretation of the solo. The cover flowed right into “Mail Package,” a funkier song where both Cinniger and Bayliss let their voice go to a low growl during the chorus. Cummins gave constant Red Sox updates, getting mixed reactions from the crowd. When the final score was announced, Bayliss began a “1, 2, 3… F- You Joel!” chant. Chris Friday from the band Touchpants came on stage to lead the band in a version of “Pearl Necklace,” by continuously singing “She wants a pearl necklace!” Umphrey’s shows they are all about having fun and have a love of music. The showmanship displayed by Cinniger’s gyrations to get the sound he wants from his guitar, as well as drummer Kris Myers’ mix of heavy metal double bass drum fused with rock-style drumming. The band’s eclectic mix of genres makes them a must-see show for all music lovers.