I was greeted by a warm hug from Gokul Parasuram, lead singer and guitarist for Pillage and Plunder, as I walked up to the front door of the Drunken Unicorn. I have known Pillage and Plunder for some time and heard their debut EP, Look Inside for the Prize, online, but never before had I had the chance to catch one of their live shows. I couldn’t have expected to hear what they laid down on stage that night.
From the first ear-crushing tune, I was sold on their riff rock melodies, which were pounding out sexy on to the dance floor. Hsiang-Ming Wen, Pillage’s bass player, owned the venue from on and off the stage while playing lines that normally could only be found in art rock gods like King Crimson and ELP. The vocal mix was off, but that was only a complication with the man behind the board. Nevertheless, a vocal mix and a monitor issue didn’t stop them from laying down their single “The Artisan” and tearing through other material like “Moo Cow.” After watching their performance, I thought they would have been better suited with a later spot in the night, because they are certainly more than an opener. I can see why they made it to SXSW this year and I’m glad I was there to imbibe in their set.
The Dandyls were second in the lineup. I’m not sure what I wanted from them. In fact, I still don’t know what I got, although I could appreciate the Col. Bruce Hampton quality of eccentricity. It was being channeled through a joke punk vein that at times sounded like a circus of vomit. They will certainly please the weird and the wicked with their Quasimodo stage banter, but as far as a serious Atlanta band there is not much to comment on except that I was impressed by their stage presence as they were certainly as comfortable on the microphone as sitting on the shitter.
Gun Party closed out the evening with their first show in over a month on the homefront. Having talked to bassist and guitarist Parks Miller, I gathered that there was a sense of apprehension on the part of the band. That thought was quickly dismantled, however, as Gun Party’s family of fans, who have propelled them thus far on the trail, poured in like a sea of neon fed mutants starved from months of separation. The band of the week, who wore sexy out, should certainly be awarded to Gun Party for this one. If you like transsexuals in Star Trek and flight attendant costumes with high heeled moon boots, your lead singer to be dressed in a shear night gown wearing a Chinese drab robe looking like she walked out of a scene in Scarface, and her brother, the co-lead singer, getting down and dirty with anyone who would approach him in his gypsy chimp suit, then Atlanta punk pop has never gotten any better. The last time I saw them play was their album release show at Star Bar, which brought down the house, but their show at the Drunken Unicorn truly exhibited their progress as a vital and striking noise of the Atlanta scene. I saw them culminate musical ideas reminiscent of the Eagles of Death Metal which progressed to the sounds of something like Man Man by the end of their set. They were incredibly tight, laid down some new sounds to look forward to, and when they stopped I gradually felt myself itching for more.
All I can say is I need more feather boas.