I wasn’t expecting Wednesday night to be so much fun but Unknown Mortal Orchestra really knows how to put on a show. I’ve had friends tell me UMO were terrible live, and I haven’t listened to them enough to form a solid opinion, but Ruban Nielson and crew won me over. UMO’s sound and arrangements are a distinct blend of psych rock and mid-to-late 70s r&b disco funk which had all the cool kids at the sold out Fonda dancing and head-bobbing. While Ruban may not be the most technically proficient guitarist out there, he plays with conviction and layers perfectly over drummer, Riley Geare and bassist Jake Portrait’s bombastic rhythms. As an encore to their flawless set, UMO brought out local LA trumpeter, Todd Simon and direct from NYC, Budos Band sax player, Jared Tankel.
Earlier in the evening, the Baltimore based Lower Dens played a bit of a stripped down set with only singer and guitarist, Jana Hunter and drummer Nate Nelson. Despite missing half their band, Lower Dens played a mesmerizing set that warmed up the crowd perfectly.
Words & Photography: Ceethreedom
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Multi-Love” (Official Video)
Lower Dens – To Die In L.A. (Official Video)