Thomas Pridgen's The Memorials shake things up at Five Spot Friday

This story was originally for Examiner, but the site is down (at least, every time I get on it), so I wanna share this story with you guys about Thomas Pridgen's new band The Memorials. I will have the entire interview (along with a few special others) up very soon, the schedule has been hella tight, but I digress...

When it comes The Memorials' Thomas Pridgen, whom some may remember from Grammy Award-winning group The Mars Volta, his new band has just one request when they perform at the Five Spot tonight. Don't tell them they sounded like Fishbone.

In their debut tour, The Memorials are bringing their highly rocking talents to Little Five Points after what seemed like a tough battle to kick off in the first place. In fact, they have been doing things in an indie/grassroots type of way when it comes to getting funding for their tour. "We're all doing this by ourselves, no one is really helping us out money-wise," drummer Thomas Pridgen says. According to their Kickstarter website, The Memorials have raked in a little over $1400 and are taking things one month at a time. "It's just crazy to see the hustle," he adds.

All that aside, fans are sure to get a quality from this band as they transcend from the studio to the stage. One thing for sure is that stage presence is not a problem. "I think people are freaking out on the energy on stage," Thomas Pridgen says. "Especially with people of color. They look at us strangely thinking we're gonna do one thing, but by the second song they're bobbing their heads, and then by the third song they're like 'fuck, I know this song.' And they love it."

Another surprise about The Memorials is their vintage twists as what Pridgen considers "a rare Black rock group." At one point, listeners of their new album, named after their band, will hear something strikingly similar to nu-metal. At another point throughout the album, listeners will get a few tracks that tap into Thomas Pridgen's breakthrough progressive rock sound. There is even a tinge of funk added to a few tracks, so this band has the predictability of Atlanta's snow patrol. Even Pridgen gets lost in identifying The Memorials' sound. "I'll be sitting behind the drums, and I have a crazy catalog of music in my head, and I can't figure out what we sound like," he says.

One thing's for sure, the trio aims to do their kind of music - no gimmicks, no targeted audience, and definitely no spandex. "I'm from the Bay, and we don't wear spandex," Pridgen says. "We don't need to put on no ridiculous costume or sing a certain way because white people listen to rock, we just need to play. We're a progressive rock band, so no matter what color we are all we have to do is play our ass off."

When doors open at 8 p.m., prepare to be blown away by the opening acts Just Like Vinyl (featuring Thomas Erak formerly of The Fall of Troy) and Bodega Roja. Cover will be $10.

The Drunken Unicorn Chronicles: OK, Not Really (Video)

The reason why there was no post last week is that I was waiting on getting some photos and video from a show I attended this past weekend in Atlanta. After being invited to an Attention System concert when I covered them for AOL City's Best, I decided since I was doing nothing else (but watching the slickest box set of the universe, The Wire) I should take my behind to the Drunken Unicorn.

With the walls full of band stickers and other illustrations eluding to music and fantasy figures (i.e. unicorns and robots... If they count anymore), this music venue instantly reminded me of The Union back at OU in Athens. Even the sound system's booth was identical to my favorite bar on Union Street! But back to the music...

I'll just get to the point. Attention System was everything I imagined them to be live, and then some! They had a light show, lasers, fog, and all kinds of bells and whistles associated with a rock concert, even though the size of The Drunken Unicorn is a quarter of the size of a typical arena. Their music was on point, and if my battery hadn't died, I would have video footage, so just go by this visualization: you're playing laser tag during the early 00s at a small nightclub during Armageddon while a band that looks nearly 40 performs like they're 20. If that sounds like fun, you would enjoy this show.

Although I do not have video of Attention System, I do have video footage from their opener Siberia My Sweet. This band had the most distinctive, untouched, and non-faux sound I have heard coming out of the A. Siberia My Sweet is a combination of new wave, electronic, emo-darkened, acoustic indie rock, and whatever else they could create on a keyboard. These women (and the drummer guy) had everything going well for them, except enough time. The video I have is actually the weakest part of their set, although the song is great!