Nostalgia for the ’60s and ’70s is back in a big way in 2013 and you need no more definitive proof than this fine Friday evening at the Media Club. Placing two of this year’s most buzzed about bands on one bill, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Foxygen brought their distinct interpretations of reverb-heavy psych-pop to a sold-out and enthusiastic crowd.
The night began with Portland, OR’s Wampire, another flag-bearer of the psych revival. While the set started out slow, the band picked up energy during an excellent Kraftwerk cover, complete with German vocals, and it seemed after this the band found their step.
Now, it should be noted the Media Club was packed wall-to-wall by the end of Wampire’s set. The demand for tickets was extremely high and they could have easily sold out a much bigger venue. However, this packed and sweaty room added to the atmosphere of insanity that was about to ensue.
When it was time for Foxygen to hit the stage, lead singer Sam France walked on in an oversized (faux?) fur coat like he already owned the place. The band kicked into their first song with an explosion of energy that sent an electric current through the room. Despite it being so packed, the band was able to work the audience into a dancing frenzy. The set was punctuated by rants from the unhinged and eccentric France, including bits his feeling towards Seattle and about how “technology makes nothing real anymore, y’know?” Expect big things from this band in the future.
Capping off the night was a solid set from headliners Unknown Mortal Orchestra. While Foxygen and UMO share certain similarities in regards to musical aesthetics, they are completely different live bands. While much more subdued, UMO is an impressive music-making machine. Each of the three members are wizards of their respective instruments and it was difficult not to stare in awe of the musical prowess; all the while, you are being swept away by their washed out ’60s/’70s psych pop tunes.
Beginning their encore with a Jay Reatard cover was a great change in pace for the band, showing off a different set of its skills. This was a really great way to start the end of a great show.
By Joshua Erickson
Photo: Sarah Whitlam