As a long time fan of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, I would have done anything to get into their secret free show at Baby’s All Right on Friday night. Luckily I didn’t have to commit anything illegal to find my way at the foot of the stage grinning from ear to ear. This gig, a last minute nod to the fans that couldn’t get into their headlining show at Warsaw (aka me), was exactly what we needed at the bleary eyed 2am set time to reenergize us for the weekend ahead.
Having had their newest release Multi-Love on repeat for weeks, I was more than ready to leave this place in great spirits. What I didn’t expect was so many dancing people in the front row. That energy seemed to amuse lead singer Ruban Nielson who cracked a smile on more than one occasion at the crowd’s enthusiasm. With Multi-Love coming in as one of my favorite albums of 2015 thus far, the fact they played many songs off of the record made my entire night. Dancing along to “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone,” “The World Is Crowded,” and “Stage or Screen” felt so right and so necessary after such a long workweek. Behind them, Baby’s signature lights were in top form, showing off twinkling patterns and a wide array of colors. I have no doubt this is the most well lit show I’ve ever seen at the club to date.
While Nielson jammed on his guitar, dipping to the floor on multiple occasions, the only complaint the crowd had was that his vocals seemed to get lost in the mix at times, which gave the masses every excuse to sing along even louder. Bassist Jake Portrait added heft to the music in all the right places, drummer Riley Geare steadily hammered out the funkiest of grooves and filled in on vocals when needed, and Quincy McCrary added a ton of flair on keys. With no signs of letting up, they launched into crowd-pleaser “Ffunny Ffrends” at nearly 3am.
By the time the song everyone had been waiting for, the title track “Multi-Love” was played, the dancers were still upfront and in full swing. Near the back of the bar, a beer was spilled directly on me, but it didn’t matter because this is the song I had been waiting for all night. Leave it to UMO to make a song about polyamory completely danceable.
And just like that the night was over. No encore, but who can complain when one of the best bands around puts on a fantastic show for free.
Article: Lesley Keller