[Venue] The Drunken Unicorn

13 10 2009
The Drunken Unicorn

The Drunken Unicorn

OVERVIEW:
The Drunken Unicorn is probably my favorite venue in Atlanta.  It’s small, so forty people can look like a huge crowd, it’s dirty in a rock & roll way, and it’s got descent drink prices.  The cover at the door is decently priced for most of the shows and the bar has a unique look.
One thing you’ll notice right away about the Drunken Unicorn is that they don’t have a sign and can be hard to find.  They’re in Downtown Atlanta off of Ponce De Leon in the back half of what (a thousand years ago) used to be a parking deck.  Most people like to think of the Drunken Unicorn as the back half of MJQ Concourse which, while technically correct, can be a bit misleading. You can’t access The Drunken Unicorn from MJQ until late at night – and even then it’s after the bands have stopped playing.  Your best best is to park in the parking lot (if you can find a spot) and then walk to the top of the hill.  There you will see some arena style steps descending to some double doors.  If you’re intoxicated these doors will look like the opening to the gates of hell… and on good nights, it is.
Another thing about the Drunken Unicorn is that the bar is separate from the stage.  You can take this either as good or bad, depending on if you’re the band or if you’re a patron.  Honestly, I like the fact that is a set comes up that’s not my style I can bail out to the next room and drown it out with alcohol.  As a band though, this can lead to people getting lost in the next room and never coming back.  If you’re an under-age band (or if your drummer is dating an underage girl) you can play all ages shows here (due to the separate bar area).  I personally hate all ages shows, and if you play them I probably won’t be there.
SOUND:
Try and remember that this is a converted parking deck.  Basically you’re in a concrete tomb with little air circulation and little to no noise dampening. Add in a powerful PA with a full back-line and you’ve got yourself some real noisy sound.  If you’re a band, monitor world can be pretty muddy even when mixed correctly, so make sure you’re band is tight.  If you don’t practice that much, or if you’re not that good, then you’re going to suck here.
On a plus side, the sound guys are typically johnny-on-the-spot and will do their best to fix any problems.  For best results, tip them before going on.
BOOKING:
The talent buyer’s name is Gavin.  For more details on how to get booked read their link here: http://thedrunkenunicorn.net/unicorn_details.html
Gavin is one of the more responsive talent buyers in Atlanta and is willing to give most bands a shot at proving themselves.  As with most places, if you’ve never played here before don’t start asking for Friday and Saturday night spots… that’s the quickest way to get ignored.  Look at their calendar (it’s usually up to date) and pick a spot 6 weeks out for a Mon – Wed night spot.  Also, it’s best to request a night with an already filled out bill.  So, find two other bands that are flexible and want to play, and request a hold on the night.
Once you get a night, go print up a thousand fliers and drop a stack off at the club a few weeks ahead of time.  Litter the streets, call all your friends, and bring some people out.  If you can’t bring 15 people on a Monday night, then you’re not ready for this venue.

OVERVIEW:

The Drunken Unicorn is probably my favorite venue in Atlanta.  It’s small, so forty people can look like a huge crowd, it’s dirty in a rock & roll way, and it’s got descent drink prices.  The cover at the door is decently priced for most of the shows and the bar has a unique look.

One thing you’ll notice right away about the Drunken Unicorn is that they don’t have a sign and can be hard to find.  They’re in Downtown Atlanta off of Ponce De Leon in the back half of what (a thousand years ago) used to be a parking deck.  Most people like to think of the Drunken Unicorn as the back half of MJQ Concourse which, while technically correct, can be a bit misleading. You can’t access The Drunken Unicorn from MJQ until late at night – and even then it’s after the bands have stopped playing.  Your best bet is to park in the parking lot (if you can find a spot) and then walk to the top of the hill.  There you will see some arena style steps descending to some double doors.  If you’re intoxicated these doors will look like the opening to the gates of hell… and on good nights, it is.

Another thing about the Drunken Unicorn is that the bar is separate from the stage.  You can take this either as good or bad, depending on if you’re the band or if you’re a patron.  Honestly, I like the fact that if a set comes up that’s not my style I can bail out to the next room and drown it out with alcohol.  As a band though, this can lead to people getting lost in the next room and never coming back.  If you’re an under-age band (or if your drummer is dating an underage girl) you can play all ages shows here (due to the separate bar area).  I personally hate all ages shows, and if you play them I probably won’t be there.

SOUND:

Try and remember that this is a converted parking deck.  Basically you’re in a concrete tomb with little air circulation and little to no noise dampening. Add in a powerful PA with a full back-line and you’ve got yourself some real noisy sound.  If you’re a band, monitor world can be pretty muddy even when mixed correctly, so make sure you’re band is tight.  If you don’t practice that much, or if you’re not that good, then you’re going to suck here.

On a plus side, the sound guys are typically johnny-on-the-spot and will do their best to fix any problems.  For best results, tip them before going on.

BOOKING:

The talent buyer’s name is Gavin.  For more details on how to get booked read their link here: http://thedrunkenunicorn.net/unicorn_details.html

Gavin is one of the more responsive talent buyers in Atlanta and is willing to give most bands a shot at proving themselves.  As with most places, if you’ve never played here before don’t start asking for Friday and Saturday night spots… that’s the quickest way to get ignored.  Look at their calendar (it’s usually up to date) and pick a spot 6 weeks out for a Mon – Wed night spot.  Also, it’s best to request a night with an already filled out bill.  So, find two other bands that are flexible and want to play, and request a hold on the night.

Once you get a night, go print up a thousand fliers and drop a stack off at the club a few weeks ahead of time.  Litter the streets, call all your friends, and bring some people out.  If you can’t bring 15 people on a Monday night, then you’re not ready for this venue.

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2 responses

15 10 2009
Keith

Drummers should also note that there is no riser and “backstage space” is limited to a very small utility room connected to a even smaller staging area.

Get there early (insert drummer joke here) and setup your kit in front of the stage if you can squeeze parts of it through the small hallway… or claim your space in the utility closet to setup.

Also, like most local clubs – you won’t get a full set of mic’s on your kit, but the sound you will get is still pretty killer!

15 10 2009
Timothy Johnson

That’s an important point, Keith. It should probably be mentioned that there’s no “real” green room and incredibly limited space backstage. Also, the equipment room is filled with pipes that like to seep water/sewage onto the floor – so don’t put anything down on the floor that can’t handle getting a little dirty…

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