Unknown Mortal Orchestra jams through a tight set at Republic

Ruban Nielson led Unknown Mortal Orchestra straight through its flawlessly chosen setlist Feb. 11 at Republic New Orleans.

After the slightly bizarre, yet wildly entertaining opening act, Lower Dens, the psych-rock outfit took to the stage and kicked the night off with the uppity track “Like Acid Rain.”

The setlist mostly comprised of the band’s latest album, “Multi-Love,” but still included songs from its first two albums like “Thought Ballune” and “FFunny FFriends.” The upbeat feels from “Multi-Love” were only improved upon with the live performance. Guitarist and singer Nielson, drummer Riley Geare, bassist Jake Portrait and keyboardist Quincy McCrary maintained a tight set, but weren’t afraid to entertain variations and jazzy solos.

More than once, Nielson found a comfortable spot to kneel on stage and zealously pick his guitar. Somewhere between the “Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)” and “So Good At Being In Trouble,” he put down the guitar, grabbed the mic and scaled the Republic’s balcony, generating plenty of cheers and support from the audience.

Between the wall of changing, colored lights that backlit the band and the passionate renditions, it was easy to feel completely wrapped up in this fiery performance.

The band was accompanied by the Revivalists’ horn and saxophone players for a colorful encore of “Necessary Evil,” and it’s safe to say that no one was checking their phone during the finale, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone.”

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