well i for one like UM a lot. I don't know why so many people on this board are so down on them, while you may not apreciate their style, their musical ability and creativity are more abundant than any of the "up and coming" artists i have heard of late. I for one have never been all that impressed with WSP and feel had they been coming up now they would not have experienced the following they have, i believe they benefited from the time of theie emergence and lack of a "jam" scene. just my opinion. I love Phish to death, and i seem to think that my becoming conscious of music in the late 80's and early 90's having grown up with bands like Primus, RHCP, the Dead MIlkmen, Fugazi,fishbone, Jane's Addiction, The Pixies and other band's at the time deemed "ALTERNATIVE MUSIC." my affinity for band's like PHISH and UM stem from the similarities i hear in their music and creativity to the bands i grew up listening to.
while not a jam "BAND" i think Keller Williams deserves a nod on this thread, as do the Mike Gordon and Leo Kotke project albums. these are two "bands" or Groups or artists or whatever that i would call in sick to go see. I am a believer that there is a ton of good music that still exists,
i could care less about how loaded you can get at the parking lot of their show and more about how blown away i will be by the music of the band i am going to see. Hence why i refuse to pay 150$ to see the stones bang away at the old tunes i can hear on the radio for free.
regardless of Phil's singing ability he has put together some great line ups and the shows have yet to cease to amaze me, most of which i listen to on cd theese days.
the last Phil show i have been too happens to be the 1st time i saw Umphery's at back in 2005, for the mardi gras show in SF. Umphrey's blew my mind, not only do they sound tight as a collective unit each member of the band seems to me to have complete mastery of their instrument. i walked in thinking i was going to see some old fogey jug band open up and was captivated by what unfolded before me. there has not been a band in RELIX or any where else that has stoked me like i was stoked by UM.
the only other band i have seen live and was taken completely aback by were the funk brothers when they opened for the dead back in the 2003 new years show in Oakland. they tore the roof off that arena and not a single tune was played off the mark. they had this Mahelia Jackson-esque woman on the stage who probably did not need a microphone to be heard at the top of the arena. phenomenal show.
on a side note there is a local band where i am from called The Kung Fu Conspiracy who are pretty fun to hear. They have some videos on you tube and have a myspace page, they are very small time out of Modesto good musicians great guys and they recently did some recording with former members of tower of power. I have been having fun the few times i have been able to go out and see them play and its nice they are local and play gigs near home.
A couple of other mentions of bands i think people should hear are two bands from SF that i happen to know a few members of:
Judith & Holofernes i know all 4 members of this band they play a blend of a traditional Folk music know as FADO and blend their Punk/indy rock back grounds (there are no power chords or mo-hawks involved) Chris and Tracy the two singers have very good singing voices and the Potugeese 12 string guitar chris palys has a phenomenal sound. They have CDs avail through Vangaurd squad records and should be checked out
The Last of the Blacksmiths these guys have a really neat soft country rock sound reminiscent of American Beauty or working man's Dead. You really have to hear them to under stand