Friday, June 15, 2012

Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Glasslands June 8

The Unknown Mortal Orchestra song "Ffunny Ffriends" caught my ear last year as an amusing tune with this instant sing along chorus, starting simply with traditional la-la vowel sounds and ending with the title. (See official YouTube video below.) I thought how surely this was the work of a someone that doesn't take things too seriously,  which of course is part of the appeal.  A background check revealed how the music was created by New Zealand native Ruben Nielson from his Portland digs, and currently on the road. Investigating the rest of the self-titled debut release, there's such a mix in approach to each song as well as within each track -- influences of funk, psychedelic rock and punk. Since Neilson nor the band's two touring members were in their videos, the live show was basically an unknown.  In the tight quarters of Glasslands in Williamsburg, the trio was not only well rehearsed but veterans of the nuances of live performance. Plus, Nielson was quite the serious musician on guitar, allowing little room for any heartfelt off the cuff communication with the crowd between songs.  However, the room was packed and audience members clearly already knew most of the songs, which always makes for good energy at any concert.

Check out my photos and review on PopMatters here