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Live Photos + Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Whammy Bar, Auckland

Live Photos + Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Whammy Bar, Auckland

Photography by Lea Taillefer / Review by Chris Cudby / Wednesday 12th September, 2018 9:16AM

In the hours leading up to Unknown Mortal Orchestra's triumphant Auckland Town Hall show on Saturday, Ruban Nielson's band announced an afterparty at the underground confines of Whammy Bar, sending the internet into a frenzy, and easing the FOMO anxiety of music fans who also wanted to catch the rugby league that night. Cruising up to the Karangahape Rd venue from UMO's dramatically lit, epic scale performance in front of the Town Hall's ginormous pipe organ - which conveyed an eerie Suspiria-like presence - it was apparent that many attendees were heading into their second UMO show for the night, super psyched to see the band play again mere hours later. The Whammy gig felt like a homecoming event even though the band have never actually publicly played there before (they've rehearsed and recorded there). The impact UMO and the Nielson brothers' projects have had on New Zealand's young independent musical community is immeasurable, their well-known progression from punk roots (ie. small venues at the start of their career) to international success on their own terms represents an ideal scenario for any local up-and-comer, and Whammy provides an invaluable launchpad for similarly adventurous breakout talents today - think of the recent rise of Wax Chattels.

Whammy Bar was thankfully not too squashed as the four-piece busted out singalong hit after hit from throughout UMO's career, including numbers they didn't play at the Town Hall (someone on the internet correct me if I'm wrong - 'Necessary Evil'), with Ruban Nielson showcasing his startlingly soulful solo vocal skills (and audience roaming abilities) on 'Not In Love We're Just High' and brother Kody Nielson being a microscopically precise whirlwind on the drums. They were complemented by an array of hypercoloured tube lights, creating a buzzy futuristic aura and stimulating front row dancers to shake their stuff throughout what felt like a perfectly balanced forty five minute set. The vibe was electric and emotional - audience members still wanted more, fortunately Australian tour mates Divide and Dissolve emerged to unleash a powerfully wrecked performance of crunchy low end guitar, hammering drums and looping brass instruments. We could have watched the formidably talented groups do their thing all night, but made do with a handily located vegetarian burger joint and a 4am walk, singing 'Hunnybee' as we pounded the pavement home.

To view more of Lea Taillefer's analogue snaps from the crowd click the images below...


Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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Links
unknownmortalorchestra.com/
instagram.com/americanlean/

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