Touring their newest release, Sex & Food, psych-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra played The Wiltern in Los Angeles Friday night. From the faux plants to white shag carpet to a turntable and collection of accompanying vinyl, it was as if Ruban Nielson invited the entirety of the sold out crowd into his basement and said, “hey, let’s get a little weird.” Highlights of the weirdness that ensued included Nielson taking a jaunt through the venue and all the way up to the mezzanine for a quick jam session, a brief break between songs for members of the band and some of the techs to take a group tequila shot, and a stripped down but crescendoing version of “Not in Love We’re Just High” that managed to feel heartbreaking considering the subject matter. A departure both sonically and thematically from their applauded third album, Multi-Love, songs off the fourth release garnered less enthusiasm from the crowd than the former. Still, the set was full of a candid personality that made the entire night feel intimate, and well, weird. In a good way.
Photography & Words: Kirby Gladstein