Arriving a few minutes before doors, there was a line of people waiting to enter Cat’s Cradle for Sunday night’s rock n’ roll show featuring Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alex G, and Birds of Avalon. The line featured a diverse group of individuals, some presumably there to see Alex G based on their Teen Suicide shirts (a band who would be considered a peer to Alex G), but this was a sparse population as many were most likely there to see the headliner Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Raleigh psych rock band Birds of Avalon before the show.
Opening, they came out with 2 drummers and a guitarist playing with a 12-string guitar. The band played a continuous set without breaks between songs. They played a brand of psych-rock that sounds reminiscent of the 1970’s, filled with many harmonies and ample opportunities to jam out. Amidst one of their songs, the keyboard player used aluminum foil as an instrument, to my disbelief.
Up next was Alex G, the reason I was at this show. I was quite interested in seeing the contrast between Alex G (an artist known for his sparse lo-fi, bedroom pop-esque music) and the wall of sound that was Birds of Avalon.
Alex G came out with a full band and a new haircut. He started by engaging the audience in amusing stage banter, telling us he was going to play “original songs” and such, between each set. He played a collection of songs from his discography, but most came from DSU, his most recent release. The highlight of the set was during a DSU cut “Icehead” where at the climax of the song, he diverged from the recording and yelled into the microphone to a shocked and excited audience.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra took the stage and finished the night with one of the most upbeat sets I have ever seen.
It was filled with happy dancing from start to finish, a definite change from the punk shows I’m used to where I’m constantly watching out for fists coming my direction. I wasn’t very familiar with their material besides their first album featuring the delightful “Ffunny Ffriends,” which they played to the great joy of the audience. The set featured a jammy drum solo at one point that the audience ate up, as well as a T-Rex puppet during the encore. It was an eclectic evening of bands that all put on one great rock n’ roll show.