Umphrey's McGee

Umphrey's McGee Announce Fall Tour, Halloween, and NYE Dates

Umphrey's McGee is gearing up for a busy fall season that will take them to all parts of the U.S, including some final festival stops of 2009 - Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival, moe.Down, and Telluride Blues and Brews - and a special Halloween play in Yosemite, California.

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In June, the band released their new DVD, Umphrey's McGee - Live.  Recorded during their 2007 performance for PBS's Soundstage, Umphrey's McGee - Live is offers an incredible 13-song set on DVD, including six favorites not shown during the PBS broadcast, which premiered last February.

Legendary on the live music circuit, Chicago-based Umphrey's McGee has perfected the art of progressive improvisation.  With swirling guitar textures, multi-faceted arrangements and their signature blend of power and finesse, the sextet brings jamming to a new level.  During the summer of 2007, Umphrey's McGee came home to Chicago to record a special live performance for the award-winning PBS music series Soundstage at WTTW's Grainger Studio. UMPHREY'S McGEE - LIVE features over two hours of dazzling music presented in High-Definition and mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound, plus two bonus tracks (including "Made to Measure" off their most recent studio album Mantis).  A visual showcase of the band's spontaneity and innovative prowess, UMPHREY'S McGEE - LIVE, is a must-own for all music enthusiasts and progressive rock fans, and is available now in stores and online.

The band's complete list of confirmed appearances is as follows:

August 27-28  Canopy Club  Urbana IL
September 2  Whiskey Roadhouse  Council Bluffs IA
September 4  Mishawaka Amphitheatre  Bellevue CO
September 5  Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival  Aspen CO
September 6  moe. Down  Turin NY
September 9  Varsity Theatre  Baton Rouge LA
September 10  House of Blues  Houston TX
September 11  La Zona Rosa  Austin TX
September 12  House of Blues  Dallas TX
September 15  Rialto Theatre  Tucson AZ
September 16  House of Blues  Las Vegas NV
September 17  The Depot  Salt Lake City UT with Keller Williams
September 18  Mesa Theatre & Club  Grand Junction CO
September 19 Telluride Blues and Brews Festival Telluride CO
October 1  IU Auditorium  Bloomington IN
October 2  Michigan Theatre  Ann Arbor MI
October 3  Eagles Ballroom  Milwaukee WI
October 7  City Opera House  Traverse City MI
October 8  House of Blues  Cleveland OH
October 9  Orbit Room  Grand Rapids MI
October 21  Knitting Factory Spokane WA
October 22  Showbox Seattle WA
October 23  McDonald Theatre  Eugene OR
October 24  Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
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
December 10-14  Carribean Holidaze  Runaway Bay JA
December 29-31  TBA Chicago IL

Michael Jackson & Mr. Miyagi: Umphrey's McGee at Ginter Botanical Gardens

The day Michael Jackson died was a particularly beautiful one, here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Blue skies, just enough clouds, and uncharacteristically low humidity greeted the audience along with the stunning natural scenery of the Ginter Botanical Gardens, in Richmond, Virginia.

ROTHBURY Announces Additional Artists

The second annual ROTHBURY Festival at the Double JJ Ranch in Michigan promises four days and nights of music by 60+ bands this July 4th Weekend.  Today, ROTHBURY announces a handful of new artists just added to the lineup.

Umphreys McGee Embrace Change

Change.  It has been the ringing theme across America throughout the last six months, not only politically but socially.  Our country has finally come to the conclusion that "business as usual" can no longer work, seen most prominently by the economic turmoil facing the nation today.

 

umOne area reeling from its own such financial crisis is the music recording industry.  Sales from physical albums have massively plunged over the last decade, due mostly in part to the rise of the digital age.  There are too many options via the internet for people to get their music for free or cheap, making the purchase of CDs virtually too expensive or unnecessary.

 

Record company executives have been scrambling to figure out ways to make money off of their artists, and some are beginning to try new revenue streams in hopes of making their products profitable again.  Yet many still seem to be relying on tired methods of heavy marketing, and fighting digital retailers such as iTunes.

 

Artists have taken note, with some prominent names deciding that they no longer necessarily need distribution labels to sell their music.  There is a fundamental shift taking place in the music industry, one that now seems long overdue.  A change in approach has become evident, and no group this year has embraced such change more than the progressive rock outfit Umphreys McGee.

 

The popular touring band from Chicago started off 2009 fresh with a brand new studio release called Mantis.  Musically it was their most bold, complex, and well-produced album to date.  But what really made this project so special was the means by which they chose to market it.  The campaign consisted of a grassroots-type effort of giving fans more music through their pre-ordering system.  What it came down to was the more orders that got placed then the more fans would get out of it.  Levels of digital bonus content would be "unlocked" if more folks purchased orders for the new album.

 

In addition to the ordering campaign, the group incorporated a new technology into the disc itself that worked like a "key" to getting even more bonus material from the internet.  Using this PUSH product, users only needed to insert the disc into their home computers, which would then direct them to a website where they could download more content such as photos, liner notes, and live songs.

 

And the strategy worked.  Fans old and new excitedly purchased the new album, landing the release on the coveted Billboard Top 200 for that week.  This is from a band that went from modest CD sales to #62 on that chart.

 

umUmphreys McGee did not stop there when reworking their image.  Shortly after the release of Mantis, the band hit the road in support of the album.  They are no strangers to large tours, but decided to also alter the way they approach touring.  First they brought along famed lighting engineer Jeff Waful to set up a new light rig and wow fans with a more visual experience.

 

Second, they are considering changing the two-set format that most jam bands use in performances to one longer set with an extended encore.  This will give fans the same amount music, but will inevitably cut production costs with shorter overall venue use.

 

As if the experience of the show is not enough, fans can also purchase downloadable copies of each performance through their partnership with Live Downloads at UMLive.net.  The concerts can be purchased as MP3s or the higher quality FLAC files.  The band will also soon be delivering shows in a new HDMP3 format, which will give listeners lossless audio files that are compatible with standard MP3 players, thus providing much better quality overall sound.

 

The band has those who want the whole live music experience, but cannot be there in person, covered too.  On a recent string of shows the band partnered with iClips to allow fans the opportunity to stream live shows as they happen.  For a modest fee of $5 anyone could get a virtual experience of a live Umphreys McGee concert.

 

umThese revolutionary methods are working off the mantra, the more you give the more you get.  And because of this thinking, the band is experiencing their most successful year of their career.  By embracing change the group is laying the groundwork not only for their future, but the future of those who follow.

 

As artists and recording companies look for ways to survive in a suffering industry, Umphreys McGee may be the ones to lead the charge of new methods of not only sustainable, but profitable growth.

Umphrey's McGee Boulder Theater Photos

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Grateful Web's Sam Holloway was on-hand at last night's Umphrey's McGee show at the Boulder Theater, in Boulder, Colorado.  Please check back soon for Sam's review of the evening.  In the interim, we invite you to check out some of Sam's great crowd and band photos.  And check out some previous Umphrey's reviews on the Grateful Web as well as our interview with Jake Cinninger from a couple of years ago.

 

Enjoy,

The Grateful Web

Attention Colorado: Umphrey's is on the Way!

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Chicago's favorite export is coming to Colorado, and I'm not talking about either crooked politicians or Da Bears.  I'm talking about Umphrey's McGee, who will be doing a four-night stint along the Front Range later this month, beginning at the Aggie in Fort Collins on the 22nd.  From there, UM will be stopping at the Boulder Theater on the 23rd, with back to back gigs in Denver at the Fillmore and Cervantes on the 24th, and a show in Breckenridge on the 25th

Umphrey's McGee is touring in support of their new album, Mantis, and are sure to draw some huge crowds along the way, so get your tickets now if you don't want to miss out.  For the album, Umphrey's is waging an innovative, and fan-driven pre-order campaign.  The more pre-orders that come in, the more bonus material becomes available.  The idea: fans spread the word so that everybody gets more swag.  Brilliant. 

Anyone not yet on the Umphrey's bandwagon deserves to know that the band is as innovative with their music as they are with their marketing.  Jazzy, jammy, danceable, psychedelic, intellectual, and above all experimental, UM is finding more fans and more acclaim all the time.  Last time they came through Boulder, we were lucky enough to be a part of the special all-acoustic Umphrey's experience.  This time, the band will be all-electric, turned up to 11, and pedaling high-energy mania like cheap beer – as much as you want for as long as you can take it.  The acoustic shows are fun, but this time it'll be Umphrey's in their element, the way they were meant to be seen. 

After they leave Colorado, Umphrey's McGee will hit the road again for the rest of their national tour, with stops basically everywhere from the here to the East Coast.  Check out the band's website for dates, and to download a free holiday EP featuring never-before released material culled from holiday shows over the past few years.  See you at the show!

Langerado Announces Initial Artist Lineup

Held for the first time this year at Bicentennial Park on Biscayne Bay, Langerado now calls Miami - one of the world's must cultural cities - home.  Today, festival organizers make an initial artist announcement to make the Magic City proud.  Death Cab For Cutie, Snoop Dogg, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Thievery Corporation (Live), Slightly Stoopid and Dashboard Confessional join Flogging Molly,

Listen to the first single from Umphrey's McGee's MANTIS

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Umphrey's McGee's single "Made to Measure," from their forthcoming studio album Mantis (street date: January 20, 2009), was just released.

Listen now here.

Chicago's Umphrey's McGee enters its second decade together with their hardest, darkest, and most artistically cohesive album to date. The new album hits streets on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, when Mantis casts another Windy City family into the limelight. Over 2 years in the making, Mantis pushes the envelope in composition, arrangement and group interplay.  In an Umphrey's McGee first, the album offers 100% new material  - a drastic change of pace for a band whose typical modus operandi is to work out the material live on-stage before recording studio versions.

In addition to a one-of-a kind pre-order campaign where fans can participate in "unlocking exclusive bonus material, Mantis incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver new content throughout 2009.  PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc will act as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available.

Umphrey's McGee is preparing for their always-epic New Year's eve run in Chicago.  This year at the Auditorium Theatre, the band will be joined on stage by musical icons Buddy Guy, Stanley Jordan, Joshua Redman, Jeff Coffin, and Koko Taylor.  Previous guests who've shared the stage with Umphrey's include Tortoise, Taj Mahal, The Wailers, Los Lobos and many more.

Umphrey's Mantis Pre-Order Takes Off

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Umphrey's McGee's one-of-a-kind pre-order campaign for their highly anticipated new studio release, Mantis (January 20, 2009 / SCI Fidelity Records) is already being recognized as a brilliant and innovative use of digital technology. The power of this new pre-order concept is in the hands of the fans.  Umphrey's offers fans more free bonus content the more Mantis pre-orders they receive; the fans "unlock" levels of content by getting more of their friends to pre-order the album.  The idea is to give the fans incentive to help spread the word about the album, and to offer a totally unique music experience.

Industry and fan response to the Mantis pre-order has been stellar.  Industry tastemakers and digital news leaders have taken notice, declaring it "one of the coolest pre-order ideas this side of [Radiohead's] In Rainbows and [Of Montreal's] Skeletal Lamping" and "...a pretty brilliant idea!!"

Thousands of fans have already passed around the Mantis widget, posting it on their Myspace and Facebook pages, blogs, etc.  In under a week, Umphrey's sold out of "deluxe package" preorders (which at $49.99 offers a copy of Mantis on Vinyl, a bonus DVD, and a number of other goodies that will be a surprise for fans who were able to grab one of these limited edition gems), and the band has taken more pre-orders than any release in their 11 year history.

Of course, all of this action has already helped unlock content Levels 1-6 of 9 possible levels. Fans are tracking their progress, and the bonus content they'll receive, at the Mantis pre-order page: umphreys.com/mantis.  The music has already begun to flow. Just last week the band gave their fans an unexpected nod: those who have pre-ordered were given exclusive download access to a live track from the band's recent Halloween show in San Francisco and a special "fly-on-the-wall" vocal rehearsal from back stage that same night, as well as a free MP3 of the first single from Mantis "Made to Measure".  Next, on December 4th, the band releases all Level 1 bonus content.

Chicago's Umphrey's McGee enters its second decade together with their hardest, darkest, and most artistically cohesive album to date. The new album hits streets on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, when Mantis casts another Windy City family into the limelight. Over 2 years in the making, Mantis pushes the envelope in composition, arrangement and group interplay.  In an Umphrey's McGee first, the album offers 100% new material  - a drastic change of pace for a band whose typical modus operandi is to work out the material live on-stage before recording studio versions. 

In addition to a one-of-a kind pre-order campaign where fans can participate in "unlocking exclusive bonus material, Mantis incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver new content throughout 2009.  PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc will act as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available.  

Mantis is yet another innovative music experience to be offered by Umphrey's McGee, who have proven adaptive and inventive both in music and business over the last 10 years. Through online community building, creative web-based promotions, and open taping policies allowing live music sharing among fans, Umphrey's McGee has harnessed the internet's momentum to spread their music far and wide.  The band's download store UMLive.net is an archive of their ever-diverse live performances, hosting downloads of over 300 shows with 750,000 tracks sold since 2004. Umphreys.com hosts the iTunes friendly UM Podcast which releases two 75-minute episodes of live material each month to its 20,000 subscribers. Since 2001, Umphrey's has released soundboard recordings of each night's concert immediately after the show in both physical and digital formats - and each show typically sells upwards of 300 copies per night. The band's unique approach to online and digital distribution, paired with word of mouth buzz, has helped Umphrey's McGee sell out shows nationwide while keeping their fans a top priority.

Look for Umphrey's McGee on tour now, including their upcoming New Year's eve run at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, where they'll be joined on stage by musical icons Buddy Guy, Stanley Jordan, Joshua Redman, Jeff Coffin, and Koko Taylor.  Previous guests who've shared the stage with Umphrey's include Tortoise, Taj Mahal, The Wailers, Los Lobos and many more.

Umphrey's Announces Innovative Pre-Order for Mantis

photos by Tim Hurley- for the Grateful Web

Umphrey's McGee launches a one-of-a-kind pre-order campaign for their highly anticipated new studio release, Mantis (January 20, 2009 / SCI Fidelity Records). The pre-order, which offers an MP3 download of the album in addition to the traditional compact disc, also promises unprecedented downloadable bonus content that will actually increase in volume depending on how many pre-orders are received, and will use innovative PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to continue delivering exclusive bonus material throughout 2009.  The Mantis pre-order offer is available now.

Over 2 years in the making, Mantis pushes the envelope in composition, arrangement and group interplay.  And in an Umphrey's McGee first, the album offers 100% new material - a drastic change of pace for a band whose typical modus operandi is to work out the material live on-stage before recording studio versions.  Coupled with an innovative pre-order campaign offering unique bonus material incentives where fans can actually influence the amount of extra material that is offered, Mantis is creating plenty of anticipation and chatter among fans and industry alike.

"We wanted to do something special for the fans, make this release as exciting for them as it is for us," explains Umphrey's McGee's Jake Cinninger.  "We wanted to put the reins in their hands, get them involved in spreading the word about the album, and give the release a human touch by giving the fans more.  It's the give and take between us and the fans that makes it possible for us to tour and grow as a band; the fans play an important role in everything we do."

Mantis bonus material "Part I" offers bonus tracks for pre-order customers - outtakes and alternate recordings of songs on Mantis, tracks culled from the Umphrey's McGee archives including often requested rarities from the band's annual acoustic holiday shows, tracks from historical "Taper Appreciation Nights," plus odds and ends from studio jams, sound checks and more.  The more pre-orders that are purchased, the more tracks the band will unlock. Fans can use the free Mantis widget to track the growing list of free bonus material, which will be delivered via digital download the week of the album's release.

Mantis bonus material "Part II" incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver additional bonus content throughout 2009.  PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc will act as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available - such as recent live versions of songs from Mantis , rehearsals and impromptu "bus jams," and more. Considering Umphrey's musical creativity and smart sense of humor, 2009's bonus material is sure to offer plenty of surprises.

This pre-order is yet another innovative music experience to be offered by Umphrey's McGee, who have proven adaptive and inventive both in music and business over the last 10 years. Through online community building, creative web-based promotions, and open taping policies allowing live music sharing among fans, Umphrey's McGee has harnessed the internet's momentum to spread their music far and wide.  The band's download store UMLive.net is an archive of their ever-diverse live performances, hosting downloads of over 300 shows, while umphreys.com hosts the iTunes friendly UM Podcast which releases two 75-minute episodes of live material each month to its 20,000 subscribers. Since 2001, Umphrey's has released soundboard recordings of each night's concert immediately after the show in both physical and digital formats -and each show typically sells upwards of 300 copies per night.  The band's unique approach to online and digital distribution, paired with word of mouth buzz, has helped Umphrey's McGee sell out shows nationwide while keeping their fans a top priority.

Look for Umphrey's McGee to bring the songs on Mantis to the live stage beginning in January -when the band will work out the songs live and without a net, and fans can watch how the songs evolve as the band experiments, deconstructs, reconstructs and realizes the full potential of the new material in a live context.

Until then, Umphrey's McGee wraps up the year with dates in U.S. cities east and west and points between, including their annual New Year's run in their hometown of Chicago.  This year, the band hosts three nights at the city's stunning Auditorium Theatre, where they'll be joined on stage by musical icons Buddy Guy, Stanley Jordan, Joshua Redman, Jeff Coffin, and Koko Taylor.