It's been a while since i have been to The Drunken Unicorn, but not much has changed there. It still has a sort of "thrown together quickly" feel combined with a level of grime and filth that tells me the people who do the cleanup there are very hungover when they do what little cleaning there is. My advice -- try and avoid having to use the restrooms there! They are unisex and kind of off to the side behind a door that might or might not have a working lock at any given time. Oh, and then there is the cleanliness issues...
Still, The Drunken Unicorn is not Dotties -- that was a stink that still lingers in my consciousness after all these years!
So, it was to this dive-ish club off of Ponce that i ventured on a recent Friday to see a reunion show by Sleep Therapy. I had first encountered this band back in 2005, and saw them several times over the next few years, until they apparently went on hiatus in 2008 or 2009. I was looking forward to this show and it's nostalgia for the decade long since passed. Oh, those heady days of the early part of the twenty-first century...
We got to the club just before 9:30 and, wonder of wonders, the first act was already on stage! This was a four-piece band called Moonbase, and i believe they were local. The band has two guitarists, including one playing a lovely Rickenbacker hollowbody, a bassist, and a drummer all playing instrumental rock.
They started off doing something like surf rock -- the hollowbody twanged and the rhythms chugged. After about the third tune of this, i started to get bored. Now, surf rock is not my genre by any stretch, but this seemed kind of uninspired.
Fortunately they took a left turn into shoegaze, amping up the distortion and making things a little noisier. This was slightly more interesting, but still seemed a little generic to me.
Overall, i was not impressed. Perhaps they need some time to come together as a band, but for now Moonbase did not impress.
The second act was, likewise, a four-piece in the standard indie rock band lineup, only this time the middle guitarist was a tall, lanky fellow who sang, growled, and bellowed his way through the tunes.
The first two songs vaguely reminded me of the good stuff that Weezer were doing early in their career. It was catchy, had fuzzy guitars, and rocked, but not too hard. But then on the third song the rhythm sped up and the distortion increased while the singer really bellowed. For a second i thought they were covering Fabricoh, and you cannot believe how excited that made me! I mean, you never see bands cover Archers of Loaf. And why is that? AoL filled The EARL for three nights on their reunion back in 2011, which means they have a pretty big fan base. So why don't people cover them?
Well, at any rate, Microwave continued to rock. There were a few other minutes that were Archers-y, some Weezer-y, and in general they were a solid indie rock band. Really enjoyed their set. A new local band to watch for.
And then, finally, Sleep Therapy took the stage. Vocalist / guitarist John Lally started out by stating that the standard four-piece band on stage had not played together in 10 years!
It's been a long time since they rocked and ...
Wow. That made me wonder if i had seen this lineup before, and given the number of times i have seen Sleep Therapy i bet i have. However, the bearded guitarist did not look familiar to me. Maybe the beard is new...
It is important to stay hydrated while assisting with tuning.
But as soon as the band started playing, it took me back. Sleep Therapy make heavily effected rock that is kind of shoegaze. But Lally has a good dramatic voice, and he sings long drawn out notes in the manner of an early 2000s emo band. However, that emo-shoegaze blend really works.
The guitars were great tonight, a real lush wall of sound that reverbed throughout the basement that is The Drunken Unicorn. Lally's voice hung lazily in the air through this reverb, and the overall effect reminded me of seeing The Autumns at SxSW back in 2008. There was a sort of unreal quality to the reverbing, as massive amounts of effects pedals twist the sounds into strange shapes.
I recognized several of the songs they played, but could not tell you the titles of them. Somewhere i have a copy of their album. Maybe i should go find that.
I really enjoyed their set, and am glad to see that Sleep Therapy are making music again.