Down By the River: See Umphrey’s McGee and Lettuce at Penn’s Landing Saturday

Photo by Stephen Olker

Umphrey’s McGee show | Photo by Stephen Olker

This Saturday, July 18, prog-rock sextet Umphrey’s McGee will co-headline with funk combo Lettuce at the River Stage at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.

Lettuce, a sextet that will be performing with singer Alecia Chakour on this tour, formed at the Berklee School of Music over 20 years ago. Though they make music in the tradition of classic funk, Lettuce isn’t a nostalgia trip. Drummer and primary songwriter Adam Deitch says of the band, “We aim to smash those limits [of funk] by drawing on a range of styles that can be traced from the early ’60s through the early ’80s, incorporating plenty of modern hip-hop sensibilities — heavy bass, kick and snare — along the way.” 

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Father John Misty April-Fooled the Audience at Union Transfer Last Night

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“Are you ready for Father John Misty? He’s gonna make sweet love to your head. Your ears, I mean, and he’s not gonna stop. For at least two hours.” —opening act King Tuff

Striding on stage as a lurid neon script spelling out ‘No Photography’ flickers to life, Father John Misty seizes his microphone like a starving man after the last loaf of bread on earth. Everything about him is magnetized, engaged; he is aflame singing the opening and title track of his most recent album, I Love You, Honey Bear, swinging the microphone stand.

At the end of the song the front row, all male, all under 25, clap deliriously and snap photos. Thanking the audience for a great night and bidding us safe return home, Father John and his band leave the stage. The same techs who set up the guitars and tested all of the mics return, unplugging gear and ripping up a set list from the stage, handing it to a kid in the front row.

Set List

  1. I Love You, Honey Bear

April Fool complete, the band return to the stage and attack.

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PHOTOS: Phish at the Mann Center, Night 1

Photo by Scott Harris.

Photo by Scott Harris.

Any human person who can claim to write an objective review of the Phish is lying to himself, his editor and all readers.  It is impossible to separate the concert-going experience in all its sweat and smells from the pure musicianship of the band themselves, now in their 30th year playing together.

To the uninitiated, the tie-dyed horde of “phans” that descended on The Mann Center for Performing Arts on Tuesday, July 8th may be indistinguishable from the crowds that used to dog the Grateful Dead, America’s original jam band. Though also characterized by an obsessive following of smelly zealots and songs that leap from composed, complicated arrangements into simultaneous free-form improvisation by all four members, Phish’s similarity to the Dead begins and ends right about there.

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