“Dark Brush” was on the menu in more ways than one when Umphrey’s McGee wrapped up their winter tour with a performance at Whigfest in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday night. The closing track off the band’s new album it’s not us got its live debut during the show’s second set, while a beer of the same name—the Dark Brush Imperial Stout brewed in partnership with 7venth Sun Brewing and Hidden Springs Ale Works—was sold for the first time at the festival.With the exception of those big debuts, last night’s show was a fairly normal one for Umphrey’s McGee. The first set featured a mixture of live favorites like “Rocker Part 2,” “Higgins” and “Nothing Too Fancy” as well as offerings from the band’s two most recent albums. Among those were “No Diablo” and “The Linear” off of 2014’s Similar Skin, and “Half Delayed” and “The Silent Type” from 2017’s it’s not us.“Nothing Too Fancy”The title track from 2007’s The Bottom Half opened the second set before the band delivered the night’s big debut of “Dark Brush”. That surprise was followed by one of the night’s biggest jams—a delicious “In The Kitchen” that acted as the bread to a “Utopian Fir” > “Den” sandwich. “Crucial Taunt”—a tune that returned to regular rotation in 2017—was next up before giving way to the “Nothing Too Fancy” reprise that ended the set. Finally, the band returned for a typically-blissful “Glory” that jammed into Van Halen’s “Panama” to close out the show.Umphrey’s McGee will return to the road in a few weeks when they head to Colorado for a three-night run at the Belly Up Aspen to kick off their March tour.The Band Enjoys A Refreshing Dark Brush Imperial StoutSetlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Whigfest | Tampa, FL | 2/18/18Set I: Rocker Part 2, Higgins, No Diablo, Nothing Too Fancy > Half Delayed, The Linear, The Silent TypeSet II: The Bottom Half, Dark Brush*, In the Kitchen > Utopian Fir > Den > In the Kitchen, Crucial Taunt > Nothing Too FancyEncore: Glory > Panama*live debut
Singer Richie Stephens and musician/producer Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden were honored at the ASCAP Music Awards in London on October 16.Stephens walked away with two awards: Song of The Year and Top Digital Song, while Marsden earned a writer’s award for Luv, a song by Tory Lanez and Let Me Love You by DJ Snake and Canadian pop star Justin Bieber.A beaming Richie Stephens with his ASCAP Awards at the ASCAP Music Awards in London on October 16.Richie Stephens was recognized for his Sail Away rhythm, which he produced in 1998. The beat was sampled by Rihanna and Drake for their international hit song, Work.Once signed to Motown RecordsThe 50-year-old Stephens was once signed to Motown Records and is known for a number of dancehall hits including Fight Back (with Garnet Silk) and Maniac (with Bounty Killer). He had a big production 19 years ago with the album Sail Away which yielded several hit songs in Jamaica. This is his third ASCAP award for 2017.In May, Paul Williams, president of ASCAP, presented Stephens with a songwriter’s award for Work during the 34th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles.Biggest hit of 2016Work was arguably the biggest hit song of 2016. It was co-produced by Jamaica-born, Canada-based Matthew Samuels.Marsden has been one of Jamaica’s top musicians/producers for over 20 years. His biggest success came with the Diwali rhythm, also released in 1998. It drove several massive hits including Sean Paul’s Get Busy and No Letting Go by Wayne Wonder.