Lemuria w/ Places to Hide + Jesse Nighswonger @ The Drunken Unicorn – 7/12
To anyone who’s seen a show at The Drunken Unicorn, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most bands that play there put on incredibly intimate shows. When you throw a headliner like Lemuria into the mix, the experience becomes something even more personal, to the point where it feels more like you’re seeing your favorite local band in a friend’s basement rather than seeing a touring band in an average venue. Given this perfect scenario, I knew this show would be a great one, so much so that I made the 4 hour drive from my new hometown of Savannah just to catch it.
The night was started off by Jesse Nighswonger performing a solo set. Some may know Nighswonger from his acoustic indie-pop band Jesse Nighswonger and the Great Perhaps. Nighswonger, accompanied by his ukelele, delivered a passionate set in classic singer-songwriter style. Nighswonger’s style somewhere in the spectrum of indie folk, with a focus on intensely personal, heartfelt lyrics. Nighswonger’s use of a ukelele over a more traditional acoustic instrument such as a guitar, helped to craft a sound that was lighter and perfectly complimented his style.
Following Nighwonger, was the local garage-indie punk outfit Places to Hide. I’d been introduced to Places to Hide’s material some time ago while living in Atlanta, however, this was my first time seeing them live. The first thing I noticed about Places to Hide was how far they’d come since the release of their first EP, Getting Old, which came out back in 2012. The band seems to have gelled together very nicely over time, creating a sound that blends a pop-rock sound with the aesthetics and lyricism of early emo bands like Jawbreaker to create a sound similar to contemporary bands like Yuck or P.S. Eliot. The band’s newest album, Almost Nothing, which was released last month, does a great job of delivering astoundingly introspective and borderline depressing lyrics in the catchiest way possible (in the same vein as bands such as Titus Andronicus) to the point where I found myself singing along with the line “I am almost nothing now!” during their performance of the track “Michael Jordan”, a song loosely dedicated to the “great golfer and baseball player”. Other standouts from their newest album, which is available both at their shows and on their bandcamp page, include “October” and “Michael Amenta”.
After Places to Hide’s set, Lemuria took to the stage with a round of great applause from the audience. Given that their last show in Atlanta was quite some time ago, it was understandable that everyone in the audience was more than a bit excited to see them back in Atlanta again. Lemuria’s set consisted of several classic songs of theirs such as “Wardrobe”, “Lipstick”, and “Pants” as well as newer tracks off of their most recent album, The Distance is So Big, released from Bridge 9 Records. Lemuria’s sound has certainly made several developments over the years, starting off with more of a punkish sound which has now settled into a more indie/pop rock sound. Throughout all of these changes, one thing has remained the same and that is the deeply passionate and heartfelt lyrics delivered by Ozella, Kerns, and Gregor which usually deal with the good and tragic side of relationships and romance. Perhaps, the best aspect of the show was how comfortable the band, Ozella in particular, felt with the audience. At one point Ozella even commented on how excited she was to see members in the front row singing along to the point where she could hear them over the music. Once Lemuria closed their set, I’m certain that the only complaint on everyone’s mind in the audience was that the show had to come to a close. All in all, the show was amazing and I hope they return to Georgia sooner rather than later.