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Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Whitney at Commonwealth Bar & Stage

Saturday 28th, May 2016 / 21:17
By Jamie McNamara
Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Commonwealth. Photo: Michael Grondin

Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Commonwealth.
Photo: Michael Grondin

May 25, 2016

CALGARY — It was hard not to feel the love at Commonwealth on Wednesday night. It was the final night of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s tour with support from Chicago duo Whitney, and the two bands invited the lucky Calgarians in attendance to take part in a funky farewell party.

Opening the night was freshman duo Whitney with their hungover take on Laurel Canyon rock. The duo, consisting of ex-Smith Westerns members Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich, brought along a three piece touring band to help flesh out the country rock tunes found on their upcoming debut album Light Upon the Lake.

Whitney at Commonwealth. Photo: Michael Grondin

Whitney at Commonwealth.
Photo: Michael Grondin

Once Whitney left the stage the sold out crowd filled in the front of the venue, eagerly waiting on Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The stage featured neon pot lights that managed to cover the band and audience in hues of fuchsia and turquoise. The band started the night with II cut “From the Sun,” complete with an extended jam that had almost every head in Commonwealth bobbing in unison.

It was the extended jams that seemed to propel the evening, frontman Ruban Nielson ripping through guitar solos with an impressive technicalit. Drummer Riley Geare also managed to wow with tight drum solos and an anchored groove that bassist Jake Portrait and keyboardist Quincy McCrary locked into with ease. The band covered material from all of their released works with emphasis on last year’s amazing Multi-Love.

Despite a few technical issues throughout the night Ruban Nielson and co. never stopped the funk. Even the marred start of the encore performance of “Necessary Evil” didn’t stop the crowd from losing their minds until the floor beneath bounced back with them.

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