Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Massey Hall

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Massey Hall

. : : September 26th, 2012 : : .


I’ve mentioned a few times — I really, really hate the sound at Massey Hall, and have no idea how it’s earned the prestige it has locally or internationally. It has uncomfortable seats, poor sight lines, and stadium-tier acoustics in a mid-sized theatre.

Listening back to this tape of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a band I’d previous seen under significantly improved conditions at the far-superior Lee’s Palace, I was instantly reminded as to why the recording has sat on a shelf for the better part of a decade.

The instruments were muddy. The vocals sounded like they were in another room. You’d never know my seat for the show was actually pretty decent, if slightly off to the side (but closer to the speakers!). Even an extensive EQ job barely makes this recording roughly a C- grade.

And, reading back on my earlier blog entry, the band had failed to impress me with their performance then, and it wasn’t until listening back to the tape a few times while setting it up to share that a few of the songs started to really catch on to me.

This go around, they were opening for Grizzly Bear — a band an old friend of mine was in town to see, and I tagged along because, well, why not?

I remember Grizzly Bear’s set, mostly because I knew none of their music going in, and the awful, dreadful, terrible acoustics that diminished any chance they had at winning me over.

But if you asked me about who the openers were? Total blank.

So, even though Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s debut, self-titled album eventually earned a few rotations on my stereo, I had completely and totally forgotten I’d even ended up seeing them a second time.

The set list was similar to their previous set, with a preview of a song on their then forth-coming album replacing Nerve Damage! and a Pink Floyd cover added for good measure, but while the Lee’s Palace tape eventually grabbed my attention, this one is perhaps best left forgotten.

So much so, that I’m not prepared to waste precious hosting bandwidth on this recording — a first for the blog! An auspicious honour, to be sure.

I will, however, happily find a way to share it with any curious or hardcore Unknown Mortal Orchestra fans who wander over to these dark parts of the internet — just send me an e-mail requesting it and I will upload it to you posthaste!

(But before you do, you might want to give the MP3 sample below a quick listen to understand exactly why this one has been so derided)

  1. Little Blu House
  2. Thought Ballune
  3. Bicycle
  4. Jello and Juggernauts
  5. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
  6. [banter]
  7. Strangers are Strange
  8. Lucifer Sam [Pink Floyd]
  9. How Can U Luv Me
  10. Ffunny Ffriends
  11. [banter]
  12. Boy Witch

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Ffunny Ffriends (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

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