Unknown Mortal Orchestra Concert Recap

Photo: Avery Whaite

The New Zealand psychedelic-rock group Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) recently passed through Dallas for a sold out show at the Granada Theater. Touring in support of their newly released fourth record, Sex & Food, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have created a sound that merges the power and rawness of classic rock ‘n’ roll with the precision, groove, and warmth of psychedelia. UMO’s songs feature a blend full of deceptively catchy riffs and hooks, but also an intimately and personally produced sound. The fans were eager to see the group take the stage, as nearly the entire venue was packed for opener Shamir andher indie rock set.

Almost immediately as UMO came on, frontman Ruban Nielson began playing the bouncy intro riff to “From The Sun”, which received a good response from the crowd as they sang along to the tune. The song also ended with a very unique groove that sort of gives you a feeling like you’re floating in space. The fan favorites “Ffunny Ffriends”, and “Swim and Sleep(Like a Shark)”, both start off with a captivating and resonant guitar riff, fading into soft angelic vocals. Nielson also leaves the stage to join the crowd during a guitar solo in “Ffunny Ffriends”, walking up the balcony, and around the venue while still having his guitar strapped to him.

Photo: Avery Whaite

After starting off the show with some of the more recognizable tunes, the band quickly transitioned into playing some songs from their latest album such as “Ministry of Alienation” and “Major League Chemicals” which allow the listeners to get lost in the spacey instrumentals.

They also played arguably their most true rock song “Nerve Damage” which begins with a little riff to bring in listeners, followed by a sudden burst of energy from fast guitar and steady drum beats, almost giving off a Beach Boys vibe. UMO ended their set with the eerie dance tune “Multi-Love” which takes a soft and choppy piano melody and overlays haunting vocals from Nielson that turns into a perpetual dance tune. The band left the stage without really saying a word, which drove the crowd to chant “U.M.O” ensuing a much needed encore. UMO returned to play three more songs including, “Hunnybee”, “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays”, and ended the night with the funky melody of tech-anxious song, “Can't Keep Checking My Phone.”  

review 2Avery Whaite