On Sunday, June 28th, over 50 artists and tens of thousands of fans came together for Justice Comes Alive, a one-day, virtual festival harnessing the power of music to bring about collective change in response to racial inequality. The donation-based streaming event generated $55,000 and counting in funds for the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues, as well as a number of social justice-oriented causes via PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund.
The 12-hour live-stream marathon featured new contributions by an array of amazing artists from around the world including prog-jam mainstays Umphrey’s McGee. The sextet’s two-song segment on Justice Comes Alive was captured at guitarist Jake Cinninger‘s Boondocks Studio in Niles, MI, where they convened for the first time since the pandemic began for a pair of virtual concerts on June 10th and June 11th, billed as “Live In The Boondocks“.
The clip opens with a rendition of longtime live staple “Glory”, which kicks off on a lighter note before Cinninger’s delicate opening riff gives way to the crash of cymbals and palm-muted shredding that fans have come to expect from Umphrey’s. After “Glory”, the clip shifts to a cover of Bob Marley‘s “Trenchtown Rock”, which originally appeared in the middle of the band’s “Live In The Boondocks” set on June 10th. While any take on the reggae stylings of The Wailers is bound to be chilled-out, Umphrey’s McGee does their part to imbue the classic song with their patented hard rock grit. One good thing about this Umphrey’s McGee performance: when it hits, you feel now pain.
Relive Umphrey’s McGee’s segment from Justice Comes Alive below. If you enjoyed the performance and have the means, consider making a donation to Plus1 For Black Lives Fund via www.JusticeComesAlive.com.
Umphrey’s McGee – “Glory”, “Trenchtown Rock” (Bob Marley and The Wailers) – Justice Comes Alive
Prior to Justice Comes Alive, both Umphrey’s McGee guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss and keyboardist Joel Cummins performed solo sets at Quarantine Comes Alive, the precursor to Justice Comes Alive, on May 30th. For his segment, Bayliss performed a cover of Huey Lewis & The News‘ “If This Is It” followed by his it’s not us ballad, “You And You Alone”. Cummins chose to tackle a combo never before played by Umphrey’s McGee: a rendition of “Cemetery Walk I” (with the pianist on vocals) with “Cemetery Walk II” sandwiched inside it. As a bonus, you can revisit both Joel and Brendan’s Quarantine Comes Alive performances below:
Brendan Bayliss – “If This Is It” (Huey Lewis & The News), “You And You Alone” – Quarantine Comes Alive
Joel Cummins – “Cemetery Walk I” > “Cemetery Walk II” > “Cemetery Walk I” – Quarantine Comes Alive
Presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with PLUS1 and Nugs.TV, Justice Comes Alive was conceived as a way to harness the power of music to bring about collective change in response to racial inequality. All funds raised from Justice Comes Alive will be split evenly between the artists on the bill and the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund, which was developed to address and continue the fight against anti-Black racism and violence in the U.S.
Directly supporting organizations like Equal Justice Initiative, Impact Justice, and The Bail Project, the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund focuses on empowering Black communities, movement building, keeping people out of the criminal justice system while dismantling it more broadly, and a collective, international narrative change toward the equitable treatment of Black people. 30% of the PLUS1 for Black Lives Fund is also committed to small grants for Black and Indigenous-led grassroots efforts combating racism. For more information on Justice Comes Alive, head here.