We’d been keeping on top of Unknown Mortal Orchestra since their sophomore full-length, cleverly titled “II.” We were initially on the fence as to whether we wanted to catch the Portland, Oregonian foursome – mostly because we’d just come off the Newport Folk Festival the previous weekend. But we admit: we had a good time of it at Fete in Providence.

Yes indeedy.

So, obviously the UMO played some cuts off their latest jam, Multi-Love. No surprise there. But what we enjoyed about this performance were two things: how adaptable their songs were. Yes, as enjoyable as listening to Multi-Love is (and it’s certainly enjoyable), we really enjoyed the disco beat the group had given to many of their songs. And the extended keyboard jams. And the drum solos.

Which actually brings us to #2 on the list of things we loved: this lady (photo (c) Marie Amara).

Newcomer Amber Baker on the tricked-out disco drums.

We probably should’ve made her #1, but we like making surprises for y’all. Miss Baker on the explosive disco-shredding drums was possibly one of the funkiest things we’ve seen. Perhaps funkier than keyboardist Quincy McCrary’s hair (though our photographer may somewhat disagree with us there). Baker can certainly handle her drumset, and we’ve got to make her out as a highlight of the night.

So yes, we were surprised how tight and dance-y this group can be. They played to a small crowd maybe a bit under 50 people, but they know their stuff. Funky, exploring, jammy, too – the only Mortal Orchestra that shouldn’t go Unknown. That was kinda catchy, right? Well, probably not as catchy as their extended jam closer “Necessary Evil,” but we’ll have to live with it. Our verdict? Yes, yes and yes. Definitely worth the price of admission. Catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra at your soonest convenience.

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