Special to The Prospector

Uknown Mortal Orchestra will perform at the Lowbrow Palace on Friday, Feb 5.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra to play first show at The Lowbrow Palace

February 2, 2016

The Lowbrow Palace has recently had an influx of popular artists and bands, making it one of the most sought-out venues for music fans here in El Paso.  Unknown Mortal Orchestra, an up-and-coming band in the indie pop scene, is a New Zealand’s psychedelic pop rock band. They will be embarking on a 60-date world tour. They will be performing at 10:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5 at the Lowbrow Palace. El Paso will be their seventh tour stop following Los Angeles.

Although it is their first show in the Sun City, their synth rhythms and live core instruments fit in with the current musical movements of El Paso, close to the likes of Tame Impala, Django Django or Broken Bells.

Jason Daw, frontman for El Paso’s Kilo and the Dew and a senior advertising major at UTEP, sees Unknown Mortal Orchestra as fellow riders of the indie-pop genre.

“They set up this really strange aura with their synth that takes you out of your place,” Daw said. “But at the same time, they’ve got guitars and drums that ground it and put it together.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is composed of singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare. Nielson does not hesitate to explore his guitar, sometimes exchanging his voice with a trippy, distorted guitar solo, but even when Nielson takes to the microphone, bassist Jake Portrait steps out of the walking bass-lines and keeps the string section interesting. As an article in Pitchfork puts it, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s music is of a “unique immersive and psychedelic quality without relying on the usual array of bong-ripping effects.”

The Feb. 5 show will be the one-year anniversary of the release of their latest album, “Multi-Love” and includes some of their more distinguished lyrical work. The better part of the album is a bitter, cynical view of relationships with lyrics like “checked into my heart and trashed it like a hotel room” in the title track “Multi-Love” or the sense of doom in “Acid Rain,” where you can find the lyrics “you and I are doomed to burn like white people in the sun.” By the third track, however, the music grows some teeth and keeps it bare. “She wants you, and love don’t come into the equation. What she loves is sex in the parked car and the Photo Booth at Cha Cha.”

Christian Yañez, booking specialist for the Lowbrow, said the venue is expecting more than 200 attendees for the Unknown Mortal Orchestra performance.  “With this show along with other ones, we’ve already been hosting plenty of up and coming bands,” Yañez said.

Willa McDonald, sophomore pre-pharmacy major, said she is excited to see them live.

“I’ve never seen them live,” McDonald said. “I’ve always imagined them to be better on stage so they can improvise more.”

The doors to the event will open at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for 21 and older and $17 for everyone else. Buy your tickets at

Mike Valdez may be reached at [email protected].

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