Wednesday, 27 May 2015

On Stage: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The star of Ruban Nielson's Unkown Mortal Orchestra is rising. The Bitterzoet show sold out pretty fast, at least faster than I expected, so it left me without a ticket. Fortunately TicketSwap came to the rescue and I was able to get a ticket in the end. After listening to the new album Multi-Love I was really happy that I was able to get in since I definitely wanted to hear the new songs live.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, May 25 2015

The small but cosy venue is absolutely packed and we find ourselves a place all the way in the back. The band is off to a great start with a reborn Nielson who looks like he's in a good mood and more comfortable than the last time I saw them. New songs 'Necessary Evil' and 'The World Is Crowded' sound great where you can clearly hear the Prince and Sly Stone influences. The addition of keyboard player Quincy McCrary is a good one, which adds more soul to the songs. The new songs do sound more soulful and swinging anyway.

Somehow halfway the show the band seems to run out of steam and a couple of songs sound a bit uninspired. I have seen them play 'So Good At Being In Trouble' a lot better before. Fortunately things pick up again with 'Ffunny Ffends' and 'Multi-Love' where the band seems to find their groove again. The solo piano part that leads to 'Ffunny Ffends' is simply sublime and takes the song to new levels. At the end of the show they come back for an encore to play 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone' which is a great choice. The swinging song with it's disco beat is a wonderful way to end the gig on a high. It is typical for Nielson and co. that their shows can have several different faces. But you know it will never get boring. And at the moments where Nielson is working his magic on guitar and the songs totally take off it is pure bliss. Fortunately tonight there were plenty of those moments.

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