Christmas Extravaganza at the Drunken Unicorn // Atlanta, GA // Dec. 19, 2009
You would’ve had a hard time on this night, if being stuffed into a room like a sardine in a can disturbs you. But, such is the atmosphere when Stokeswood and Jungol co-headline a stage in Atlanta.
Christmas-themed décor abound, both bands electrified the night through sight and sound, illuminated by a well-orchestrated light show. The bands each bestowed their holiday gift to the massive crowd in the form of several new songs along with familiar favorites.
Stokeswood started off with a maddening, magical array of voices speaking upon voices, almost like a subliminal rush of frenzied thoughts that found their way through the speakers. The introduction was menacing and suspenseful, a gorgeous build up into their first song, “The Extraordinary Mrs. Crickett,” with its soulful melody that gives way to carnival-type sounds, only to accentuate the chorus as it returns.
Stokeswood is a marvel to watch, as they switch between instruments, giving up their spot on keys, synths and guitar like a game of musical chairs, all the while keeping up an irresistible, danceable backbone to the imaginative melodies and powerhouse, gut-wrenching vocals of Adam Patterson. The band undeniably owns the room with their unique unpredictable sound, expressive beats and high-energy presence. The new songs were infused with confidence in a sound that can only really be called Stokeswood’s, with subtle influences of MGMT, observed during the band’s cover of “Kids.”
The musicality of Jungol is hyper-impressive, as the band turns out rhythms that are sustained beyond imagination. Songs like “The Hound” are delivered with explosions of tense, complicated rhythms intermingled with soaring, melodic harmonies alongside an ambient-infused soundscape. The three-piece create enormous sound and intensity, driven by killer drumbeats and flawless interchange of engaging highs and entrancing lows, reminiscent of early Radiohead or even Bjork. A highlight of the set occurred when the band invited hip-hop crew, Paperwork, on stage, and they transformed seamlessly before our eyes for this awesome genre-bending moment lead by funky rhymes and beats to make you shake what your mama gave you. This excitement was wisely followed by one of Jungol’s most seductive and alluring tracks, “Places.”
-Nadia Lelutia; photos by Natalie Ray