See Umphrey’s McGee and Matisyahu on Thursday in Central Park

July 7th, 2009

Some stories seem like you’ve heard them before. But that’s probably not the case with Matisyahu’s. As a teenager on Phish tour, Matthew Miller had an interest in hip-hop and reggae. Later he grew interested in the strict Lubavitch Hasidic sect of Judaism and joined a synagogue where his musical ambition was encouraged. Soon enough Miller had a talented backing band and—under the name Matisyahu—he became an engaging performer of his own mash-up of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae and rock.

Umphrey’s McGee, the progressive-rock group that began at the University of Notre Dame, is part jam (their live shows feature extended onstage improvisation) and part ham (their first studio release was titled Greatest Hits, Vol. III). The band allowed taping of its shows from the very beginning, and as those shows were traded across the country, Umphrey’s earned a following in places the band hadn’t even played yet. They’ve been a national touring band ever since.

What, you ask, does one have to do with the other? They’re both playing SummerStage this Thursday, July 9th. Check out this video of Umphrey’s McGee playing “Made to Measure,” the first song of their most-recent studio album, Mantis. Tickets are still available for Thursday’s show, and if you are, too, get yourself to Central Park.