It feels like it has been a long time since i was at The Drunken Unicorn, and the reasons for that include my increasing inability to stay up ungodly late as well as the general lack of interesting touring bands. Well, The Drunken Unicorn has obviously spent some money to renovate the main music room of the club. The murals have been fixed and the stage is slightly larger than before. Huh.
Promptly at 9:30 the first act took the stage. This was Deku, who is a local electronic musician, and is on the bill because he apparently is the roommate of the band in the middle of the bill. He had a MacBook and a bunch of mixing gear.
Can't make music with the hoodie down. Duh.
He flipped up his hoodie (very important to have your hair covered when DJing) and played about 35 minutes of interesting post-IDM music. This was not dance music, instead strange beats wobbled around under washes of synths. The music was very interesting to listen to, and i was kind of surprised that he had a crowd watching him. Does this music even make sense to people who didn't listen to Autechre back in the 1990s (when, coincidentally, most of the crowd were in elementary school)?
I really liked what Deku was doing, and am impressed that there is a local artist making this kind of music. This is the kind of stuff i play on my stereo when i am sitting on the couch with the cats reading or working on HTML formatting for that slave-driver, Brendan, or when i am at the office trying to convince some database to give up its secrets. That is to say, this was richly textured electronic music that was not designed for dancing. There are no throbbing beats here.
Now, that said, the last song he played Deku introduced as a remix that he was doing for some contest. He did not say what it was a remix of, though, so i have no context. However, the song was more upbeat and dancier than the rest of his set, which i suppose is the purpose of a remix.
I have to admit that i was really impressed with this performance.
Not so with the middle band, Clean White Noise. Apparently they were the draw tonight, since they were giving away a free EP that they had just released, and the crowd really swelled when they played. As the band set up, i noticed that there was a lot of electronic gear on stage, and given what Deku had said about hearing their new EP through the walls at home, i was hoping for something similar.
Well, Clean White Noise are a rock band that obviously has listened to far too much Radiohead. They played straight up pop music with very earnest vocals. The voice got to me after a while, as it was high-pitched and kind of whiney.
As the show progressed, i noticed that much of the gear they had on stage got used once only. This band was suffering from what i call "Have It Must Use It"-itis. I see this in quite a few bands -- they feel that since they have a bunch of gear, they have to use all of it each time they play live. (The entire career of Gringo Starr can be chocked up to a case of "Have It Must Use It"-itis!) They have a spare floor tom, so the bassist has to beat on it for one song, even though that doesn't really add anything to that song.
The guitarist has a Moog, so he must press a button every once in awhile, even though doing so makes no noticeable difference that those in the crowd can detect. Etc.
This kind of thing irritates me. It seems as if acts afflicted with this spend more time trying to use everything they own instead of trying to figure out what sounds good.
Clean White Noise played about 40 minutes to a large crowd, including some parents. All of their friends were there, and the friends seemed to be getting in to it. I have to admit that there are worse bands in Atlanta. Also, all of the members of Clean White Noise seemed very young, perhaps just out of college. Give them some time to figure out what they are really doing, and there might be something here.
I was glad when they were done, not because i hated them, but because they were just mediocre filler i had to sit through in order to get to Pacific UV.
EvilSponge has reviewed this band several times in the past. In fact, according to the band they have not played Atlanta in five years, which means that EvilSponge was at their last local performance.
Well, the band is now a three-piece. Instead of filling the stage with gear, they had one bench with a few electronics, a minimal drum kit, and a bunch of pedals. Their sound, on the other hand, was dense and swirling, a real sonic mess.
They played off of their recently released Weekends LP, starting with the ambient interlude Friday Night Dream before tearing into Funny Girl. This song is even better live, just a happy synthpop shoegaze ditty, positively uplifting.
They also played a version of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want that had a real wall of guitar sound over an almost disco-ish beat. The beat and the bright shining guitars made this song more upbeat any other version of it i have ever heard. Pacific UV made Morrissey happy. Who knew?
Their set was short. In fact, i was at home and in bed before 12:30 AM. Short, but excellent. I really hope that i do not have to wait five more years to see this band again.