@AndyShore “Uh…do you mind standing? It’s kinda crowded in here?” I said no and paid the cover, before even looking up to see what the doorman meant by kinda crowded. The Baked Potato is a tiny bar, filled with two dozen or so tables. There is no dance floor. We pushed our way to the back by the bar, but soon realized that we would be in the way any place we stood. Almost as soon as we settled, the band weaved their way through the crowd and up onto the miniature stage. So what is OHMphrey? It’s Jake Cinninger, Kris Meyers and Joel Cummins from Umphrey’s McGee and OHM members Robertino Pagliari and Chris Poland (also of a little band you may have heard of called Megadeath).
OHMphrey is the like the darkest, most evil sounding prog songs that Umphrey’s has to offer (“Wizard Burial Ground”, “Miss Tinkle’s Overture”, “Eat”), and adds another heavy metal thrashing guitar player and a bass player that drops jaws slapping a 6-string fretless bass. From my vantage point, the one and only thing I could see through the sea of heads was Cinninger’s hands. That’s all I needed, as long as I could hear the rest fine (and how could you not hear a prog band like that in such a small room?). To my surprise, the insanely fast shredding I was hearing was not coming from the hands of Cinninger. In my defense, I didn’t know Poland had played with Megadeath.
The first OHMphrey CD stemmed from a two-day recording session and yielded six tracks. The band had spent the week leading up to this show in Poland’s LA studio recording a new album. The music they play is based in harmonizing guitar riffs and driving bass. The thumping drums of Myers pushes the whole thing forward. You realize Joel is there when he comes in with his proggiest of patches on his synth.
They improvise a lot. Sometimes too much…at least they take too long to get where they’re going. That will happen when you can count the amount of shows the band has played on one hand. The solos from Cinninger, Poland and Pag dropped as many jaws as a Derrick Rose highlight reel. At times I got so caught up with how ridiculously talented OHMphrey was that if I didn’t love Umphrey’s McGee so much, I would wonder why Cinninger and Myers did anything else.