I’ve never really been a huge fan of “jam bands”. No matter how good (Bela Fleck) or how reknown (Dave Matthews Band), I usually can’t last too long through a whole album and definitely not an entire show. It’s not that I don’t recognize and respect the talent of the performers – it certainly takes a crazy amount of ability to make a ten-minute song interesting, and even moreso to do a whole night of it. I even have a few tracks in my musical library that might full under the “jam band” headline (although its likely a shorter track or something like Black Crows or Spin Doctors or something) and love watching a band like Muse really let it rip for a minute. But there is just so long I can hear the same riff underneath a round-robin of solos. Admittedly, the jam band fans often lend themselves to certain indulgences that likely help make the music more accessible.
That’s why it was surprising that I spent most of yesterday evening blasting Umphrey’s McGee who, as it turns out, are also big fan of mashups. Mashups are a regular staple of their shows and they even went so far as to release a whole album of them in 2016. Some of it is a bit out there (Chicago + Zappa or Motorhead + Ween), there are some other gems in the mix including this delight that combines “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant, “The Triple Wide” by Umphrey’s McGee. The production is slick and the arrangement is super clever. There’s also a brilliant live version that they smoothly medley out of a different song into this one and then probably extend the bridge for 22 minutes (I checked out at minute six).