Gig Review by Olivia Faye Wood with Photography by Megan Levers

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

On Friday 25th September, New Zealand-American band Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) showcased their unique sound to a packed-out venue at The Ritz, Manchester, with support from talented Jaakko Eino Kalevi.

Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Formed in 2011 by frontman-singer, songwriter and guitarist Ruban Neilson (formerly of The Mint Chicks) with Jacob Portrait, bassist, Riley Geare, drummer and Quincy Mcrary, keyboardist, UMO have been a favourite band of mine, since their self-titled debut album was released. In that first album, Neilson captured a sound that seemed undefinable, a concoction of psychedelic-atmospheric-pop, with just a pinch of electronic sound in the mix. To my delight, this was retained in the second album ‘II’, released in 2013 and their most recent album ‘Multi-Love’ released in May of this year, which has a more pop-like quality.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

To say I had high expectations of the show would be an understatement, but to my relief I wasn’t disappointed. The atmosphere of the Ritz was spectacular, with the majority of the audience whispering (or often shouting) along with Neilson’s lyrics. Favourite tracks from the new album included ‘Can’t Keep Checking my phone’ and ‘Multi-love’, both of which are compelling in their subject matter. Particular excitement arose over the dream-like quality that is ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)’, an old favourite, which saw the band descending into a jam that reverberated into a fuzzy psychedelic pool of sound.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Guitar and drumming solos from Nielson and Geare respectively were particularly impressive, with Geare’s prowess being clear, whilst Nielson’s fingers travelled effortlessly between riffs (and guitars!).  Most captivating however was Nielson’s bar-top serenade, which dismayed security, but created a connection between band and audience, which is sometimes lost in live performance.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

It seems that with UMO you either love them, or have never listened to them. But I’d certainly recommend that you do.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

One Response to “Unknown Mortal Orchestra + Jaakko Eino Kalevi at The Ritz, Manchester, UK – 25th September 2015”

  1. Garry McWhirter Says:

    Who is this girl….. Megan Levers? Awesome photos!

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