Before Unknown Mortal Orchestra took the stage, opener Jackson Scott stunned the audience with an energetic mix of psychedelic songs from his debut album, Melbourne. Scott’s vocals, a weird mix of haunting, unnerving, and self-aware, made him an especially fascinating live act.
Lo-fi psychedelic rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra are well-known for their laidback sound on their two critically acclaimed albums, which made their performance at Cat’s Cradle in Raleigh all the more interesting. What seems calm and relaxing on record translates into a much more intimate – and somewhat frantic – sound during a live show. In concert, it is much easier to notice just how intricate some of the band’s melodies really are. Many of the songs drifted into extended guitar solos, showcasing the talent of lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Ruban Nielson, as well as the rest of the band. The band controlled the tempo of the audience as they took their songs from records to the stage. This quality helped the show alternate from exploding into the forefront of the room at one point and then the next retreating for a more casual listening experience.
Their performance was approachable and enjoyable yet commanding and entertaining. They truly brought their music to life in a way that is enjoyable for the concert goer but they lack the sort of wow factor that would make listeners demand that their friends go. This is a band that you should catch in concert and watch as they continue to accelerate on their road to popularity through quality music.