Show Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Mohawk (2.20) + Tiger Waves

Rainy weather won’t keep us down, especially if we’ve got rock n’ roll on our minds.  The Mohawk gradually swelled to capacity with Foxygen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra having a huge draw in town, both touring behind pretty solid album releases in 2013.  I even stuck around to watch our friends Tiger Waves do their thing on the indoor stage afterwards.

Read on for brief thoughts and Brian’s rad photos.

It took a song or two, but once Wampire got into their groove, they really excelled.  They had a blend of psychedelic, noise and sunny pop, that was impacted by some darkly orchestrated keyboard playing.  You could tell that the group was having fun just by the way they reacted to one another.  Maybe the vocals could have been a bit louder, but their guitars were so spot on that it hardly seemed to matter.  I chuckled to see them partake in some refreshments from an audience member, illustrating the down to Earth attitude of the lads. They just signed with Polyvinyl, and they’ll be back for SXSW, so keep an eye out.

Foxygen burst into town behind their “Best New Music” moniker and their hit album 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.  You could feel the buzz in the crowd, which had swelled massively since the opening of doors. But, in my book, this was a huge huge letdown.  Sam France, the main man up front, was wholly unintelligible for the majority of the set, shouting into his microphone, which he had trouble finding at times.  It’s weird to me to know that a band can write such a solid album, albeit a huge nod to Sgt. Pepper, and struggle so magnificently on the stage.  I’ll give it to the group that they seemed to take it all in stride, and that the audience seemed indifferent to my attitude, but I was left with a really bad taste in my mouth–one that I’m not sure can go away.

Of course, for many, Unknown Mortal Orchestra was the night’s tour de force, and they nailed their role perfectly.  Even with their smooth polish on II, the group still were able to provide a much noisier night than I even expected.  From the get go, they just jammed it out, and powered through their set, all the way beyond the supposed sound ordinance. They played hits from all over their catalogue, which occasionally led to a little bleeding over sonically, though I didn’t mind it too much.  Those people who’ve familiarized themselves with the self-titled album and II were surely pleased, with almost every standout track making it into the set. They might not be the world’s most exciting act, but they’re great at what they do–I always appreciate that.

Of course, the show after the show involved Tiger Waves, one of our favorite Austin acts.  I had to welcome them home from tour, so I was more than glad to stay and catch their set.  I’ve said plenty about the band on these ATH pages before, but I’d like you all to know that touring has made them tighter than ever.  If they keep playing like they did last night, then the rest of Austin better watch out–they could soon be the best band in town.

Photo Guy Notes: Yeah, Foxygen was a mess. They were a fairly delightful mess, but a mess. Take the weirdest moments of an Of Montreal set and pepper in Jagger with confidence issues. Fun to shoot. Shakiest thing for UMO was the vocal. Needed to be more consistent, but hey powering musically. Wampire won the night for me, along with the great lighting. The Mohawk makes for a great backdrop, with plenty of character, when lit well and this was a delight.

More pics at the photo site


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