Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen - Bowery Ballroom - 2/28/13
If Unknown Mortal Orchestra's second album II is a wholly solid (if a bit uneven) record, last night's show reflected that sentiment. Juxtaposed against the eat-some-acid energy of Foxygen, UMO's set, played to a background of glowing red candles, lacked a certain vitality. That may have been due to the sound issues they appeared to be having, or it may be that (last night at least) Ruban Nielson seemed to be a much more impassioned guitar player than vocalist. But perhaps that's because it would be hard for anything to outshine his guitar playing: the guy is technically brilliant.
They figured it out in the second half of the show, using "Bicycles" off their first record to launch into a slew of singles. "Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)" seems to be a perfect embodiment of what UMO does best: a singable hook structured around hero guitar playing. They followed with "So Good At Being In Trouble," a song off II that seems to be a bit a of departure for them with a soulful croon replacing Nielson's usually muted vocals. But wherever it departed to was a welcome destination -- the crowd danced and sang along to this tune more than any other, jussst edging out "Ffunny Friends."
The Crowd: Lots of of industry types and members of other bands.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I started the whole leaving New York in Friday trend."
Random Notebook Dump: A lot of people, understandably, seemed to think Foxygen is from San Francsico; they're originally from Los Angeles. Also opener Wampire was quite a surprise, check out their single "The Hearse."