Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s V Tour Visits Houston
Written by Sana Rajendran, Amarylis Rodriguez on November 2, 2023
Unknown Mortal Orchestra made a stop at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall on their V tour, celebrating and promoting the release of their fifth studio album. Out of the seventeen tracks on their setlist, seven were from V, including songs like “Nadja,” “Layla” and “Meshuggah.” That night, the band was composed of the primary regular members, Jacob Portrait, Ruban Nielson and his brother, Kody Nielson.
The audio and visual artist Amulets, who includes live guitar loops and pedal work during his set, occupied the stage before Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Amulets took the crowd on a half-hour journey with his very advanced soundboard and technical skills. Emotions rose and fell as the musician built tension with ambient beats and released it with powerful electric guitar solos.
UMO began their nearly three-hour long set with “The Garden,” a song that also appears on V as an opening track. Immediately, the crowd was immersed and only fell deeper under their spell as the band proceeded with a few older songs, like “From the Sun,” “Secret Xtians” and “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark).”
Throughout the set, each song was accompanied with colored lighting, and some of the more energetic tracks were given more intricate lighting designs. The band seldom addressed the audience, opting instead to focus on their craft. They broke this trend, however, during a sweet moment in which an audience member shouted out an “I love you!” between songs. Nielson responded with a shy, “We love you, too.” The band posted on Instagram before their tour began that this would be their first time taking a stage in over four years, which makes this moment even more special.
During their time on stage, the group incorporated several medleys of their songs. Rather than giving each song a full rendition, they chose to combine tracks; for example, their setlist included combinations like “Thought Ballune / Little Blu House” and “So Good at Being in Trouble / Waves of Confidence.” The crowd was extremely into this idea, and they went wild every time a smooth transition between songs occurred.
The psychedelic rock band saved some of their most popular songs for last, satisfying their audience, who was demanding an encore. The light show also ramped up during the closing songs, increasing the audience energy tenfold. Ending their concert with “Hunnybee” and “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone,” Unknown Mortal Orchestra sent their fans off with memories of a night they won’t soon forget.