No matter how famous or how popular some bands can be there is often a tendency to lose their luster in performance. No matter how many concerts they’ve performed, they can forget the audience deserves fresh performances, fresh enthusiasm.
That problem rarely occurs when Umphrey’s McGee takes the stage. The group may disavow being purely a jam band, but being so is in its blood. Changing set lists and improvisation are part of who the band is. As the Grateful Dead was historically or Phish is now, there is no telling what Umphrey’s McGee will perform in any given set and the musicians can often surprise themselves. They remain as bold as when they released their first album back in 1997 and audaciously called it “Greatest Hits, Vol. III.”
Umphrey’s McGee plays the MontBleu Friday, March 10, coming off last year’s release of the group’s 10th album “ZONKEY,” a collection of mash-ups covering 40-plus years of song by the likes of Nirvana, the Beastie Boys and Ted Nugent. (7:30 p.m.; $35; Ticketmaster)
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Saturday, March 11, finds a different style at the MontBleu when Trombone Shorty plays a rare show in Northern Nevada, bringing along his band, Orleans Avenue. He has released 10 albums of his own as well as playing as sideman on multiple albums by a diverse set of talents, from Harry Connick Jr. to Allan Toussaint, Cee Lo Green to the Zac Brown Band. He’s a force in his hometown of New Orleans, where he provides musical instruments for students through his Horns for Schools program. (8.p.m.; $30-$40)
Members of indie band Portugal. The Man have recognized the obscure name as sort of an alter ego, like Ziggy Stardust. The band, which came out of Wasilla, Alaska, has several albums and some of the most intriguing videos in the business, such as “Sleep Forever” involving band leader John Gourley and his sled dogs. The band plays Harrah’s Tahoe Friday, March 10. (7:30 p.m.; $32; Ticketmaster)
Elsewhere this week
Circus Circus Reno goes in a strange direction not without a bit of controversy (just fun, or exploitive and demeaning?) with tonight’s Micro Championship Wrestling, an offshoot of “Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling” (7 p.m.; $39.95; circusreno.com).