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  Corndog-o-rama 2006 - Day 1  



The EARL in East Atlanta, GA


Elevado, Casavettes, The Blue Hour, The Orphins, Psychic Hearts, Luigi, The Close, I Am The World Trade Center, Snowden, Shock Cinema, The Artist Formerly Known as The League of Evil

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



Ah, Corndog-o-rama! The annual celebration of indie rock in East Atlanta . A chance to spend an entire weekend standing around drinking beer, eating deep-fried battered meat products, chatting with other local scenesters, and seeing the best and brightest of the local scene. This years Corndog was pretty good.

Col. Slanders toasts the 'Rama with Jager.


When I attend Corndog-o-rama, I must remember three things.

  • One: pace yourself.
  • Two: Stay hydrated.
  • Three: Don't forget to eat.

This year, all three goals were easily attainable (despite the sweltering heat), and I ended the weekend none the worse for wear. Well, that, and the fact that both Saturday's and Sunday's lineups were front loaded with the bands I wanted to see, so I had no need to spend say 13 hours at the EARL in any given stretch (see Corndog 2005 for details).


Festivities started just after 6 PM on Friday night. We wandered in to the mostly empty EARL to catch Elevado, a local act who had emailed EvilSponge numerous times. Somehow, we kept missing them, so we made a point of showing up early to catch their set tonight. Elevado is a four-piece band consisting of a vocalist/guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist/laptopper, and a percussionist/trumpeter/backing vocalist. An interesting lineup at least. The laptop churned out some thick beats, and the rest of the band played frenetically around them. The end result is a kind of avante-dub music, like indie rock filtered through the English take on Jamaican dub. I found them interesting, and the songs tended to be catchy in a head-bopping way. I will try and make their next show. An unexpectedly pleasant surprise to start off the Corndog, which is a good omen.

Elevado dub/rock The Earl.

  In general, I liked Elevado, but hadn't made the dub connection until PostLibyan pointed it out. Ah well. Still, it seemed like perhaps there were a few sound issues occuring on stage, as there were multiple times when the alternate percussionist of the band seemed completely out of time. At other times, he seemed like a good enough musician, so I couldn't definitively conclude that the timing issues weren't deliberate. But it was distracting enough, that I thought perhaps he couldn't clearly hear himself or the others.  

Up next were Cassavetes, who look kind of like a Weezer influenced band (i.e., nerdy guys in glasses with guitars). They started to play some competent pop, and halfway into their second song, the power at The EARL flickered off. Oh dear, that counts as a bad omen... It was only off for 30 seconds, but it did not bode well for the weekend. To their credit, Cassavetes recovered immediately, picked the song up again, and finished their set with no problems. At times they had a high, distorted guitar tremolo sound that reminded me of The Del-Lords. Not bad, but not as original as the band who proceeded them.

Cassavetes, who do, in fact, look kind of like Buddy Holly.

Up next on the side stage was a band i have steadily grown to enjoy more and more, The Blue Hour. This is a three-piece involving the same drummer as Cassavetes, as well as Ms. Tracy Clark (formerly of Jetty), and a tall skinny singer/guitarist. They make a righteous new-wavey racket, and have at least one song that i really like. On the chorus of their standout tune, the vocalist chants "I'm freaking out, I'm freaking out!" over a chiming new wave guitar and thunderous rhythm. Really nice and catchy. Once again, i found that i enjoyed their performance.

The Blue Hour from stage right ....

...and from slightly left of center.

  The Blue Hour are a new-ish band who I've seem more than once over the past few months. Each time, they've grown tighter and more cohesive; this time was no different. Despite a few technical difficulties, many of which could be attributed to playing on the small "side stage", their set was catchy and enjoyable. Several of the songs bring to mind mid 90s bands like Polvo, and have an inherent drive that moves things right along. They're a fun band, and I find myself looking forwards to their performances.  

Now, during the previous three acts the Minions had noticed that certain members of the next act, The Orphins, were looking more and more annoyed. I am guessing that this was due to the (presumably traffic induced) lateness of their bassist. Well, she showed up on time, and The Orphins set up and played a loud fast set of post-punk poppishness. At this point, they are playing mostly new tunes, and the new songs sound great! When's that new record coming out again? Anyway, despite the bass and kick drum being a bit too loud for the overall sound, The Orphins put on a wonderful set, and the crowd really seemed to get into it.

The Orphins in furious guitar strumming action.

The Orphins in dual vocal action.

  In order to keep the sets moving along briskly, groups of bands on the main stage end up sharing equipment. In this case, the drummer from The Orphins was not playing on his usual kit, and it showed. The Orphins were very heavy sounding this evening. it was a different sound for them, but actually it was quite enjoyable, as the insistent thuds gave an extra intensity to the music.  
  After The Orphins played we decided that it was time for the first ritual Corndog. I had a jalapeno one. Yum. Minion K-Tron, his wife, and one of her co-workers showed up at this point, so we sat out front and tried to shout a conversation over the loud and eclectic mix of the front room DJ. He was spinning a weird set -- who spins the Nine Inch Nails/Ludacris mash-up right after some Hendrix? Odd.  

As PostLibyan and K-Tron listened to the DJ, I slipped into the back room to catch the last couple of songs from Psychic Hearts. I wasn't particularly familiar with their music, but, based on this, I thought they had a little darkwave mixed in with perhaps a little of The Jesus and Mary Chain. I didn't really hear enough of their set to really form an opinion, yet I still liked what I heard enough that I would like to see a full set on some other night.


After a brief interlude, we hurriedly headed to the back room, temporarily fortified with fried food on a stick, to catch Luigi. I like Luigi. They consistently play fun sets of catchy pop music. They joke around on stage, and banter with their friends in the crowd. It's always a good time at a Luigi show, and tonight was no exception.

Michelle DuBois of Luigi contemplates the crowd.

Luigi in action.


Luigi are one of the steadiest bands in the Atlanta Indie scene these days. I don't think I've ever seen them played an bad show, or even a mediocre one. Looking around, it appeared that many in the crows were there to see this set. And after watching them play, I can definitely see the attraction.


We then had a short break in the schedule, so the collected Minions headed out for a quick cup of coffee. We got back, java in hand, in time to see The Close. The Close make perky, keyboardish pop music. However, well, their stuff all kind of sounds the same. Tonight they made a point of playing songs from across the many years of their existence, and quite honestly all of the songs blended together for me. Maybe i just wasn't adequately caffeinated...

The Close, with calculated Rock Star Sneer™.

  The Close are a band which I get to see far too little for my likening. I can't think of the last time I heard them play, so I was definitely looking forward to their set. The played several old numbers, but focused on the more recent stuff. I hear changes in their songs across the years, and overall enjoy their music, which has a languid undertone to their angular dance sound.  

After The Close was a band i was very interested to see: I Am the World Trade Center. This is actually the third time i had set out to see them. The first time the power totally went out at The EARL, and the show was cancelled at the last minute. The second time was immediately after the vocalist was diagnosed with lymphoma, and again the show was cancelled. Neither time do i fault the band, it's just a weird coincidence.

I Am the World Trade Center is actually a dance band.

Well, i am glad that i finally got to see them, because they were a lot of fun. They are a two piece act consisting of a skinny David Spade look alike on keys/synths/theramin/drum machine/sampler, and a female vocalist. They made really cheesy synthpop, with her singing wonderfully and dramatically, and the guy singing through some sort of distortion that made me keep hoping they would break into Mr. Roboto. The crowd danced, and the band played a great set of dance music. They ended with a fun cover of New Order's Temptation, made all the sillier because she got lost in the words and started giggling.... On the whole, i am glad that i finally got to see them.

I Am the World Trade Center used odd percussion, inculding a thermin:

  I Am the World Trade Center are an oddly interesting act. A duo with a primary female singer and a frenetically hyper male musician (primarily keys and sampler) wouldn't appear to work on paper, but the energy they exudes from the stage brought the crowd into it, so that the people around me danced and bounced as one. They did a nice cover of Berlin's The Metro, and seemed to be having a grand old time. I'm not sure I'd want to see them all that often, but on this evening, they fit right in and seemed like a good prelude to the next band.  

Snowden were up next, and they have slowly become one of Atlanta's better bands over the past few years. They are back to being a 4-piece, having decided it was unnecessary to have a bandmate fully devoted to playing the synths and dancing. At any rate, they opened with a nice, slowed down, dubby, drum heavy version of Black Eyes, and then played a set of mostly new tunes. It was a great show of post-punk, and i really enjoyed it. The crowd really got into it as well, which is good for Snowden.

Snowden's bassist pounds the synths.

Snowden in head banging action!

Snowden, with vocals.

  I've always had mixed feelings about Snowden. They've gone through several changes over the years, so that there have been shows where I've thought they were interesting, and other times, well, not so much. Tonight, however, they seemed to be particularly on, and I can truly say I enjoyed their set. The crowd around me were into the music, and few people left after I Am the World Trade Center.  

Our attention was now turned to the side stage where Shock Cinema took the stage. They are now a five-piece (i could've swore there were only 3 of them when i first saw them months ago), all dressed in white, with the short vocalist having her face half painted black. They played in front of a screen projecting some images that i couldn't really see from where i was standing. I guess it's appropriate that a band with "cinema" in their name play in front of projected images. Overall, i stand by my initial verdict that Shock Cinema play energetic Blondie-influenced tunes filtered through a healthy dose of electroclash. It was loud, bouncy, and fun, and i like the vocalist's voice.

I swear: i couldn't have taken a shot this good if i had planned it! Fortunately,
i caught the singer of Shock Cinema at just the right moment.

Shock Cinema's vocalist in a calmer, less active, pose.

  From my place at the side of the opposite wall, I couldn't really see Shock Cinema, although I enjoyed their music. I did hear enough to figure out that apparently this is their last Atlanta show before a hiatus, as it seems that several of the members are moving away. Considering their talent, it seems like a shame for this to be true.  

In the meantime, the main stage was being filled up by the five members of The Artist Formerly Known As League of Evil (actually, The League of Evil, the new act of the Simony brothers from Sharks and Minnows). Tonight, they played Purple Rain, apparently on a dare. It was glorious; simply wonderful. I remember listening to that record quite a lot in high school, and there are so many wonderful songs on it. They did a fine job, not trying to replicate Prince and the Revolution's disco funk, but instead tightening up the beats on their normal indie rock while mostly preserving the tempo (and timbre) of the vocals. Who knew that Christopher Simony could sing in falsetto so well?

Christopher Simony sings Prince.

I think it really worked, and from what i could see of the crowd, everyone was having a great time. I have no idea what League of Evil normally sound like, but this was a wonderful end to the first night of Corndog. Seeing the stage full of local musicians all rocking out to the power-ballad Purple Rain was great!

Purple Rain ... Red Lights ... same thing.

Even Snowden joined in to sing Purple Rain.

  Purple Rain is one of those albums that you couldn't escape when I was growing up. When it first came out, I can remember sitting around with friends, singing along. Heck, I even owned the sheet music! Anyway, the prospect of seeing one of my favorite Atlanta vocalists, Christopher Simony, perform Purple Rain was something not to be missed. They managed to successfully meld an apparent straight forward Indie sound with the distinctive structures of Prince's music. It was loads of fun, and as the music ended I knew this was truly a great way to end the evening.  
  After the lights came on, we said our goodbyes and headed for home, fully satisfied. If every night of every music festival was this great ... well, let's just say that my liver would be in worse shape and it would be hard to work. Great job people.  
Related Links:

Read the entire Corndog-o-rama 2006 review:
    Day 1: Elevado, Casavettes, The Blue Hour, The Orphins, Psychic Hearts, Luigi, The Close, I Am The World Trade Center, Snowden, Shock Cinema, The Artist Formerly Known as The League of Evil
    Day 2: Jetty, Moresight, Brainbox, Ghost Tour, The Silent Kids, The Preakness, Hot Young Priest, Hubcap City (From Belgium), Casionova
    Day 3: The Jupiter Watts, Lust, The Protectors Of, Hell Mach 4, Untied States, The Liverhearts

Added bonus material:
    Photo gallery: nice guitars at Corndog06
    Photo gallery: Pedal fetishism at Corndog06

In addition, some of these acts have been reviewed before. Links within the review point you to the appropriate places.


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