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It was Superbowl Sunday. I live in Texas and of course the Cowboys are no where near the annual football match up between the two best teams in the NFL so it was an easy decision to skip the game and go see some great live music instead. It was really no question to go see Unknown Mortal Orchestra live at Emo’s in Austin last Sunday.

I was really looking forward to also seeing Lower Dens who was scheduled to perform as well. We have been fans of the Baltimore based band for a while now and were super shocked to hear their tour van was stolen in San Antonio the day of the show so they were not able to perform in Austin. Luckily, the San Antonio PD recovered the van within 24 hours. Fans of Lower Dens have set up a crowdrise page to help replace their personal items (laptops, wallets, portions of gear that were stolen, etc). We hope to catch them live the next time around.

With just UMO scheduled to perform they came on at a prompt 9:30 which was great for my aging body who had to work the next day. This is my first time seeing Unknown Mortal Orchestra live and I knew they were awesome, but I did not realize I was in for my expectations to be completely surpassed.

Throughout the show each member was given their time to shine, and that’s exactly what they did. It’s no question Ruban Nielson is an awesome singer-songwriter and his amazing guitar skills were also displayed throughout the night. Nielson takes a moment to move back and forth all over the stage and even jump in the audience for a short minute. Nielson’s stage presence is endearing and makes you feel like you know him, like he is a familiar friend that just happens to be on a stage performing in his band that just recently gained international success.

Drummer Riley Geare impresses us with an awesome drum solo mid-way through and Jake Portrait on bass and Quincy McCrary on keyboards both show off their talents as well. Each song almost transforms into it’s own personal jam session and that makes their live set even more energetic and exciting.

Once Multi Love comes on, the crowd bursts into applause and the entire almost completely full Emo’s starts moving and swaying and singing along.

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a must see live band. Nielson’s vocals are better than the recordings and the band as a whole puts on a great show. I will be sure to keep an eye on their tour schedule and keep coming back as each album is released to learn a little more about Mr. Nielson. If you haven’t checked out the backstory behind Multi Love, go here.

All photos courtesy of Gabe Guevara.

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