My First Night at the Drunken Unicorn

Posted 3/11/2009 by coelder in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,
Another night in Atlanta and another adventure in a smokey venue. The Drunken Unicorn, 12 steps down from street level and under the famed MJQ, creates an intimate setting for local bands and the occasional well known regional band. With the bar and stage separated by a narrow passage, there is a nice opportunity for splitting the way you pass the time. That's all I'm doing for the venue review; onward with the night.

After taking the extended detour to find the DU on Ponce, I made my way down the stairs and arrived entirely too early. A few websites said 9, I said, shit, I'll be there fashionably late into the first act and get there at 9:30. No dice, show started at 10:45. After getting an ever trendy and cheap but still flavorful (short) PBR, I made my way to the music area and killed time. I tried to strike up conversation with the bartenders, but after meeting a wall of personality, I resorted to checking the merch and getting a feel for the venue. Enjoy the pictures. With a new lens, low light is much more fun!

The first band up, Arms & Sleepers, was a synthesizing machine. Looping drums, pre-recorded vocal rhythms, and a melodica (see above left). As a warm-up band they entranced the audience with a projected back drop that was its own artistic experience through film. Though it may be viewed as gimmicky, the backdrop was staggering in it's mirroring of the music. One song (not named) included a piano being played by strings leading out of the video frame by a mysterious puppeteer. Overall a visually appealing show with multi-talented musicians.

Second up were the men of The Killer & The Martyr. 1960's West coast surfer riffs with well articulated lyrics cruise through almost seemingly 50's style bass playing. What that creates, hard to explain, but extremely tasty. Raw is overused, I'm going to say ... unpasteurized. Oh, it's nutritious but damn, it's grainy.
As a performance, they lacked connection with each other besides the occasional smile cracked between the members. The drummers girlfriend snapped pictures on the side with me (I apologize for cutting in front of you, drummer gf, I am an idiot). To get a full feeling of the band check out "Arrows" on their myspace page. Live, it sold me on the band. They're going to be a staple in the regional circuit, I guarantee.

Finally, we had Fight to the Death. By that time my PBR buzz was winding down for the ride home and I may or may not have started nodding off following them getting set up. I sat there, mind wandering and new the band was not getting my full attention; a true injustice. But the songs were stellar. Dynamic work between piano, accordion, drums, guitar and pedal steel, created a waltzing carnival theme to many of their songs. I actually did see an incredibly inebriated couple waltzing (kind of) in the somewhat packed viewing area. The shining light were the vocals. CJ Bargamian and company really come together in a moving song "A Call To Arms." Overall, a fun and pleasant group that I would pay twice what I did (5 smackers) to go see.

Best of luck to these guys and as always support the band! Go buy their merch and music!

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