Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review of Umphrey's Mcgee and The London Souls at the Fillmore in Denver on 1/2/16 (1st review)

The night of January 2nd, 2016 was no doubt a cold one for me. I was on a mission, and that was to go and enjoy Umphrey's show at the Fillmore off Colfax in Denver, CO. I took the bus (which was a bit late) to the bus station in Denver. The show's doors opened at 7 PM, and I got to the station around 7:00.

 I remember catching a glimpse of the clock, walking out towards the south stairwell, reading 7:01 and taunting me and saying "it's too late for coffee."  So I started walking down 16th street mall, taking deep breaths and remembering all the good and bad times I've had from walking and skateboarding to school and what not on those west-side blocks. I haven't even been in Denver that long, but it is intense to try and sense the mass quantity of "happenings" that each corner in a metropolitan United States city sees on a day to day basis.

So I was walking 16th street mall trying to get down east to Colfax. I can remember how cold it was, so I started running. Each block was a quick rest. In my mind, staying warm and getting to the concert faster sounded like a great deal to me. By the time I reached Lincoln, I was warm and ready to walk at a brisk pace to Colfax to see Umphrey's play. The next thing I remember, I was getting a nice runners high to start the night off. Thanks, mother nature, you made it interesting. Before I knew it I was there. I took a celebratory shooter shot and I was on my way. 

I got through to the other side just fine. The venue was still relatively empty. I was early, if anything. I took the first moments to take it all in, and get into the mood for a great concert. I got a tall brew with a strong ABV, and started to check out the pictures of the many performers that have played the Fillmore in Denver.  I remember most the pictures of Jeff Beck, ZZ Top, Bill Graham, and reading about how The Doors played there. There is definitely the sense that some serious musicians have played at the Fillmore auditorium in Denver, CO. Can I just take this moment to say that I am so happy to live near Denver. What a beautiful place.

After awhile, the opening band came on, and I bought another tall one. The band was called "The London Souls" and I must say, they were a great live duo that brought back feelings of good old bluesly rock and Roll from the 1960's. It was refreshing to hear a guitarist and drummer rock out with real instruments. The music was punchy, bringing great feelings of euphoria and love for the electric guitar. The drummer was equally captivating with the rhythm of a 20 ton stagecoach. The drummer's fills and finesse was a tribute to rock drummers of history. I could sense a Hendrix vibe from London Soul. It was impressive that so much sound was coming from 2 people, and nothing more. 

I went out for a smoke and met some great people. I used my phone to write down people's names, number's and businesses. Concerts are a joy to go to, and the smoker's section is a great place to meet people. I met a couple musicians, owners of a bar, and a couple people from out of state. As I walked back in the concert, The London souls were still rocking out great music, and putting on a great show. I really enjoyed the guitarists solos, because there is a sort of neo-blues feel to the music that they were putting out. As the night wore on, I waited for Umphrey's to come one during the intermission, taking to time to grab some food. 

 The London Souls had really warmed the place up, and by the time they left the stage there was a big crowd ready to hear more music. During the intermission while I ate, I continued to enjoy the fact that so many great musicians had played the Fillmore Auditorium in the past. When Umphrey's came on, the place was pretty packed. I was in a great crowd of people, and really enjoyed the amount of production used, starting with the first note. The lighting was amazing, the group was also playing some amazing music that created magnificent intro to their set. The first set they played was dreamlike, and the music was a mixture of jam band feel with heavier overtones. The music was such a mixture of genres that it was overwhelming. I couldn't help but dance...

Umphrey's is different than most artists I've heard in this day in age. Their virtuous playing styles mix in great with older styles of psychedelic rock. Their use of arpeggio's adds the feel that they are musically trained and influenced by the 80's metal guitar styles. I have to say that I was happy to stay the whole length of the show. During the second intermission I met some more great people, and by the time they finished their second set, I was still not ready to go home. They put on a spectacular show, with great production and not even one sound mishap. They played their encore, and I was back into the cold. It was so worth it, though, and I walked the 2 miles back to the station, music still ringing in my ears. 

Till next time, Denver

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