Friday, July 26, 2013

Kisses at The Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, July 25, 2013

Last night, LA's Kisses headlined a very satisfying show at The Drunken Unicorn, but the real revelation of the evening was the terrific set by a new (to me at least) band, Atlanta's Palace Wolves.

Palace Wolves were formed last year by songwriters Ryan Pace (guitars, keys, vocals) and Shannon Small (guitars, keys, vocals), along with Matt Katis (keys, programming).  Last May, they released their first EP, simply called 12 for the year they started.  I don't know how many gigs they've played prior to last night (their web site indicates they've played at least 5 sets before, all at the Unicorn), but if they continue to perform the way they did, word of mouth should quickly propel them to the upper echelons of the local music scene, if not onto the national stage. 

Here's standout song The Desert from 12, which ably demonstrates the band's skills:

You can stream the entire EP at their Soundcloud page, or download the individual songs.

Sealions' singer Joey Patino even gave them a special shout out during his set, much more than the usual "How about that opener, huh?"  I can't recall his exact words, but he expressed his own sincere pleasure at hearing Palace Wolves great set.

Not that Sealions didn't themselves deliver a terrific follow-up set.  We've seen Sealions a couple times before, back in October 2010 opening up for Metric at The Tabernacle and in March 2012 at The Goat Farm for the Atlanta Film Festival's Sound + Vision event ("Dude-I-Was-There!" video below).  As usual, last night they performed a satisfyingly loud set of slightly psychedelic guitar rock with touches of dream pop.

The headliners were LA's Kisses.

Kisses are Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson, and to say that their sound is anything less than sunny, happy, and delightfully summery would miss the mark.  These guys would make Cayucas sound introverted and mopey by comparison.

Naturally, the entire audience was up and dancing throughout the set, or at the very least swaying in place, and one particularly exuberant couple at the front of the stage set the tone for the rest of us, and even got Zinzi dancing along up on stage. Meanwhile, Jesse projected an extremely likable and engaging stage persona, and I don't think there was a person in the audience who wasn't won over well before the end of their set.

This was the band's first East Cast tour and first time playing in Atlanta, and they weren't sure what to expect.  Jesse asked for the air conditioning to be turned down, a rare request for a Southern California band in Georgia and one you'll never hear at the sweaty Masquerade or even The Earl.  They also weren't sure how they'd be received, so they played their usual encore song to close their set, and then were a little nonplussed when they were called back for an encore and had nothing else prepared. They managed to come up with something, though, a relatively longer song that nicely built up to a hip-shaking finale.  

So, three good sets by three good bands, and the discovery of one new band worth getting enthusiastic about.  Not bad for a Thursday night.

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