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Live / stage review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Leadmill, 23 Nov

You don't expect to see ferns dangling from the roof of The Leadmill during a gig - especially when that's combined with the sound of distorted guitar and radish red lights beaming into the crowd to open a set - but that's exactly what Unknown Mortal Orchestra brought to the table.

Setting the tone with an extended, intoxicating version of 'From The Sun', the audience responded well to the New Zealand four-piece, who were down to give everyone a good deal on the evening of Black Friday.

Frontman Ruban Nielson takes himself and his guitar through the crowd, much to the delight of the punters, but maybe not to the runner following him and carrying a giant LED glowstick. Still, it's a nice touch, and after a quick stroll to down a beer with the sound technicians we're back into the swing of things.

The enticing riff of 'Ffunny Ffriends' steps up the tempo. UMO know when to play the more upbeat tracks to keep the audience interested, but also when to show off the variety of their back catalogue. There's been criticism of sound issues on this tour, but there's no sign of that tonight and certainly no lulls. The performance exudes the confidence you'd expect from an accomplished band several albums into their career.

They close the set on 'Multi-Love', one of their most popular tracks, which goes down great with an awe-inspired crowd, before returning with an encore of 'Hunnybee', a particular highlight of the night.

Proceedings finish in style with a brilliant performance of 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone', bringing some funk to Friday night and making their mark on this historic local venue. Let's hope it's not too long before we see UMO and their ferns again.

Brady Frost

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