Get Lucky with Raw Stewage

UMBowl IV is upon us. Umphreaks around the globe are getting ready for Friday’s event. If you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket, you’d best get your Couch Tour setup in place. UMBowl parties are all the rage this year. They’re gonna make your Grammy Party seem like a party at grammy’s (unless, of course, you have access to her walk-in liquor cabinet). To provide a little more excitement, we’re gonna run a contest where you can win up to 10(!) mp3 show downloads from UMLive. Read on to find out how!

In three years, UMBowl has already built a storied tradition they hope to one day rival that of Notre Dame football. Already, UM has had more success in their Bowl performances. Endlessly experimenting, Raw Stewage is the genesis of the UM ethos, demonstrating their dedication to improvisation and the fans who love it. Those lucky enough to attend last year’s scrimmage witnessed an immaculate inception.

Prepare for this year’s Q1 by diving into Raw Stewage 2013. Bask in 30 of the finest Stewarts from the past ten years. Check out all 30 samples, but really…if you’re into the whole Umphrey’s McGee improvisation thing, and chances are that you are, you should grab the whole set…8 hours of music for $13. A deal so good we should go public, fire our CEO, and start shedding employees like a husky in summer.


Much like last year, the selections were compiled from band and fan selections. The 30 selections were then voted on by ticketholders. Not only were they responsible for their own fate and that of others watching at home, but also the (future) fanbase. Listen to UMcast 139 and hear the 5 selections from last year that got the full Raw Stewage Treatment and made their way into the band’s setlists. The UMBowlers weren’t just picking Stewarts for UMBowl, but potential new songs for future shows. Who knows, maybe some of them will end up on a future album? The fans spoke and the band took notice of what the fans wanted to hear again (and again).

The voting may be over, but this doesn’t mean we can’t talk probabilities and gambling for FUN and PROFIT. Your friendly, local Raw Stewage handicapper is here to set odds and line some pockets. It’s time for a new form of Umphreak camaraderie through illegal, yet publicly sanctioned gambling! Now, whether you’re Couch Touring or following @jeffersonwaful, you can liven up the action with just a few small bets.

First, let’s run down some of the selections, cover some of the most requested, and give some love to a few dark horses.

[4/23/03 – FDR (1-1), 2/15/06 – Visions of Parin (8-5), 3/23/07 – Intentions Clear (2-1), 1/30/11 – Blue Echo (3-1), 11/5/11 – The Haunt (2-1)]
A Second Chance: For Round #2, five of the highest vote getters that did not make the cut last year were brought back. Much like sportball Hall of Fame balloting, you may not get voted in your first year through no fault of your own impeccable credentials. There’s no question that last year’s nominees were a strong, deserving batch. These five may not have gotten the call, but enough votes last year granted these candidates a reprieve in 2013. Early chatter showed strong support for all five candidates. Could this be their year?

[7/6/05 – Robot World (7-2), 10/12/05 – Making Flippy Floppy (5-2), 10/19/05 – Der Bluten Kat (3-2)]
A Lyrical Trio: In an eventful year that saw the band recording Safety In Numbers in-between playing 139 shows, there was something else that defined it for me. If there was a Year of the Lyrical Stewart, it would unquestionably be 2005, when Brendan (and occasionally Jake) stepped up to the mic an astounding 27 times. The longtime fan favorite 4/8/05 Nemo was selected last year, while the epic 3/11/05 Phil’s Farm fell short. This year we have three new entrants long revered by fans as some of the best lyrical Stewarts yet to become their own song. I would not be surprised to see two of these pop up in the setlist. A late addition to the Stewcard, 10/19/05 DBK has gone from a long-shot to a near shoe-in…listen to the sample and try not to hum along by the end of it (BB getting a little Sting-y).

[9/14/12 – All In Time (7-2), 9/14/12 – Puppet String (6-1)]
The Gravity’s Real: In front of their largest headlining crowd ever at Red Rocks last year…the band did not play it safe, diving headfirst into serious improv the first two opportunities they got. The Pearl Jam-esque All In Time vocal Stewart had appeared in a rawer form in the 10/2/10 Ringo. Could a win push them to develop it further? The first Puppet String that they really opened up let everyone know this song was ready for the jam vehicle status fans were waiting for. After last year’s impressive Red Rocks showing, I am look forward to seeing UM topping it this year on June 7th.

[4/7/06 – In the Kitchen (2-1), 3/17/13 – Push the Pig (5-1)]
The UMBowl Connection: These two have appeared at previous UMBowls, does that give them an inside track? 4/7/06 In the Kitchen is based upon a Pony bassline that first appeared 7//17/04 JaJunk and was part of UMBowl II as #19. It doesn’t take but a few short minutes for the Stewart before the 3/17/03 Push the Pig to quickly developed from a bassline into a blissful climax based around a simple 4 note riff of harmonics from Jake. This was one of those “where did that even come from?” moments. That they can just whip something like that out of their pockets makes Umphreaks wonder sometimes…are they holding out on us? Can they just do that on command?

[2/4/11 – 2×2 (5-1)]
The Dark Horse Lyrical Stew: if you were at the show and didn’t know any better, you would have thought this was already a song. It has everything. It’s a fully formed tune. Could strong fan support make this “song” a reality?

[11/5/11 – Ringo (5-3)]
Upset Prediction: This one seems like a lock. A midwest show, the Cut the Cable lyrical Stewart has reappeared at Summer Camp and the New Year’s Run in Atlanta. It is beloved by many fans, even appearing in a 30db show and several Bayliss acoustic performances. Despite all that it has going for it, I think this one is going to get passed over in lieu of stronger candidates. But I also predict that we haven’t heard the last of this one.

[6/8/07 – Plunger (4-1), 11/18/08 – Water (3-1)]
Long Form Long Shots?: Though it was the winner of the popular vote last year, 9:30 (12/11/04 Triple Wide) did not stay in the rotation. It was not as adaptable to the catalog as some of the other pieces with a more traditional format. And really, it was simply too hard to duplicate such a unique in the moment experience. So what does that say for some of this year’s long form candidates? They can still make the UMBowl cut, but less likely to become part of the rotation. Regardless, these are two epic pieces of music that warrant repeated listens.

[6/9/06 – Utopian Fir (5-2)]
A Rebirth for TQ Funeral?: This jazzy gem felt like it had the become potential a song from its first appearance. It appeared as part of the Mantis bonus material in TQ Funeral, a curious creation that sounds like a pastiche of in-studio legos stitched together (that may only feature 2/3 of the band?). The B section always had the potential get dark and spacy, giving this piece great potential to receive the Raw Stewage Treatment and become an addition to the catalog.

Here’s the rest of the Stewcard:
9/19/03 – The Haunt (7-2)
10/29/04 – JaJunk (20-1)
12/10/04 – Blue Echo (12-1)
11/16/06 – Syncopated Strangers (10-1)
11/16/07 – The Fuzz (8-1)
12/29/07 – Higgins (15-1)
2/7/08 – Dump City (8-3)
10/9/08 – Plunger (6-1)
9/21/11 – Power of Soul (6-1)
12/30/11 – Plunger (5-1)
3/18/12 – Robot World (8-1)
1/19/13 – Higgins (10-1)
3/7/13 – In the Kitchen (4-1)

For those more experienced here’s a few more odds for you to work with:
Over-under on # of Stewarts played in Q1 is 8.5
Over-under on set length of Q1 is 52.5 minutes
Odds of FDR opening UMBowl IV is 3-2
Odds of Get Lucky being played at UMBowl IV is 2-1

Now that we’ve covered our competitors and all the odds the bookmakers are running, it’s time to lay out a game for you, one with a prize of up to 10 (11?) mp3 show downloads. It might seem complex, but it’s rather quite simple. This is a game of skill, one that requires 100% accuracy to win.

Which of these selections do you think they’ll play? How many can you say with confidence that you’re certain they’ll play? Your entry can submit as many selections as you want, but if they don’t play all of them, your entry is ruled out. Here’s the twist…the more guesses you get right, the more show downloads you win. Choose Wisely.

Example: if last year I submitted the selection 3/3/11 Intentions Clear, 4/8/05 Nemo, 10/20/07 Mulche’s, 6/10/06 Haunt, 12/11/04 Triple Wide, and FDR…it would have been beaten out by someone who had submitted only 2/11/11 Bright Lights.

If multiple people have the same number of correct guesses, the tie will be broken by who chose the longer odds.

Tweet your submissions to @McLSucks or email to with the Subject: Get Lucky with Raw Stewage. One submission per person. Valid submissions will be accepted until the lights go out at the Park West. Winner will be contacted on Monday.