Initially, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) gained popularity when Ruban Nielson, UMO’s songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist, uploaded the track “Ffunny Ffriends” back in 2010 on Bandcamp. By 2011, the psych-rock band released its self-titled debut album. Since then in a seven years timespan, the band of New Zealand origin has released three additional albums to include the recently released Sex & Food. For UMO’s tour stop at the 9:30 Club, it was apparent the band’s catalog over the years has garnered them an immense amount of love and respect amongst their fans.
UMO’s music on Friday night filled the 9:30 Club with nonstop fun, stimulated by their cosmic driven tunes and their contagious energy. Despite UMO’s music relying heavily on synths and bass to pull their audience in for a ride, its heart can be found in Ruban Nielson’s powerful falsetto. Even though it seems Nielson has a laid-back demeanor that is applied to his live performances, the way in which he interacts with the audience is admirably personable. During one moment of the show, he maneuvered amongst his fans in the crowd while performing a guitar solo. Nielson’s fans also welcomed him while crowd surfing during the soothing “Not In Love We’re Just High.” The intimacy vibrated throughout the 9:30 Club Friday night.
UMO’s set ranged mostly from their new material from Sex & Food. “Hunnybee,” “American Guilt,” and “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays” were songs from the new album that hit home the hardest. When UMO turned back the clock to perform “Ffunny Friends,” their come-to-fame song of 2010, it allowed early fans to rejoice in nostalgia. “Necessary Evil,” “So Good At Being in Trouble,” and their highest charting single “Multi-Love” were also fan favorites of the night that had the side effect of infectious sing-alongs.
Kyle Molleson aka Makeness opened the night for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. His debut album titled Loud Patterns recently released on April 6th.