Umphrey's McGee has enjoyed a rabid following among jam-band aficionados for years. With an approach based on classic song-based rock, the group possesses the chops to move into funk, jazz, prog-rock and metal — all of which helps make its live shows unique. Hear the band recorded live in concert from the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.
It was at the Bonnaroo and South by Southwest Music festivals that the group emerged on the national level, building an audience through its live performances.
Umphrey's McGee brings to mind the heyday of Phish. Its improvisational jam-band style has easily lent itself to the obsessions of the "Umphreaks," or "McGeeks," who trade the group's live recordings over the Internet.
The band first got together at the end of 1997, when two separate groups in South Bend, Ind., joined forces in the studio. Umphrey's McGee completed its current lineup in 2000, and has since released several albums — some live and meandering, others in a more straightforward studio format. The most recent is Safety in Numbers, an album inspired by and dedicated to Brian Schultz, a close friend of the band who was killed by a drunk driver. The disc serves as Umphrey's McGee's way of celebrating both Schultz's life and life in general.