The hometown trio of Unknown Mortal Orchestra recently played a set aboard the Portland Spirit
as the vessel cruised along the Willamette; the dated aesthetic and overall schmaltz of the Spirit
proved an inspired atmosphere. Neon lights pulsated amid waterfront scenes as the unassuming, delightful performance took place. UMO's sound is distinguished by intriguingly chameleonlike qualities—there's frontman (and New Zealand transplant) Ruban Nielsen's pleasingly accented vocals, Julian Ehrlich's polished and perfectly punctuating drums, and guitar riffs from Nielsen and bassist Jake Portrait that run the gamut of instrumental intonations, from twangy to trippy. MARANDA BISH Also, read our article on the Helio Sequence.