Photos By: Emily Gibson
By: Emily Gibson
The Unknown Mortal Orchestra show at Emo’s on February 7 can be easily summarized by the exasperated shriek of a girl at the barrier: “Holy shiiiiiit, I can’t believe this is happening right now!”
After waiting an hour and a half with no music because the opener, Lower Dens, got their van stolen in San Antonio (in the words of UMO front man Ruban Nielson: “fuck you if you do that shit, seriously”), I felt a bit challenged to have a good time. UMO made that challenge an easy one to win.
On a technical level, UMO is a powerhouse. Though Nielson’s voice is almost unreal, there isn’t one member who carries the band, rather they’re more of an unfair collective of talent. Their music is the type that can make you cry while you’re dancing – or, in the case of seeing them live, just kind of stand there, mouth open, staring in half awe/half jealousy.
Nielson embodies what a front man should be: talented, charismatic, but most of all, passionate. In a world of front men who put stock in looking, being and acting too hip, it’s a refreshing deviation to see someone who is engrossed too much in their lyrics – in their words, and their emotion– to be bothered with making sure they’re aesthetically cool.
All I really had to say as we prepared to leave was that I wished they would take the stage and play “Multi-Love” 20 more times. Still waiting on that, though.