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  Corndogorama 2007 - Day 1  



Lenny's Bar

  Midtown Atlanta, GA  

63 Crayons, Parade, Rev Rebel, The Bon Vivants, The Green Hit, Canada, "Mystery Band", Bad Magic Number, Magnapop, Luigi, and Ancient Chinese Secret

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



Corndogorama is a great chance to see a lot of local bands in one setting, all with the added convenience of crowd (fun people watching) and the chance to sweat profusely. I mean, really: what the heck were they thinking moving the festival to July, when Atlanta heats up absurdly? Sheesh.


I suspect that one factor in the move was a desire to get away from the rainfall. Normally in June, Atlanta is often beset by the near-ubiquitous "scattered afternoon & evening thunderstorms." These usually fade out more in July, and I'm sure that the prospect of sunny (albeit hot) weather had an appeal. As things turned out, this was not necessarily a good assumption…


EvilSponge arrived at Lenny's (the new, larger venue for the 'Rama) just after 5:30 PM, at a time when most Atlantans are still sitting in traffic trying, vainly, to commute through our overcrowded roadways. We thought ahead and left work early….

We walked in to a band set up on the floor in front of the soundbooth. This, apparently, was "the Side Stage", although it wasn't really a stage, more of an area loosely defined by the presence of monitors sitting on the floor. A four-piece band consisting of guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, and a guy playing Theremin and manning some sort of synthesizer, were set up and playing as we entered.

63 Crayons: one short of a box....

They made an oddly appealing yet quirky sound, very reminiscent of defunct local act Black Love, or perhaps mid-era Devo. The music was catchy, and had a really driving bass beat, which was odd since there was no bassist. I guess these sounds came from the synthesizer. We saw this band play for perhaps 15 minutes, and i was intrigued by them. Apparently they are called 63 Crayons, and i will be on the lookout for them to play again.

Meanwhile, on the main stage, pop band Parade were setting up. I have grown to like this four-piece over the past few years, and tonight they put on a short but sweet set. They started with their hit single Penelope Shoes, and the shoegazery guitars were balanced well with Carrie Hodge's voice.

Parade: Carrie Hodge on the sleighbells, Scott Trin on guitar.

The rest of the set was new tunes, two of which are on their brand new EP, and two of which are even newer. In their continuing attempt to shake things up, on the even newer tunes Ms. Hodge adds a second guitar to their sound. The band continues to grow nicely, and although i miss the whirling guitariness of their earlier work, songs like Hunting and That's Hott showcase good rhythms, hummable melodies, and Ms. Hodge's great voice. I thought their set tonight was wonderful, and would have loved to see them play longer. Alas, at Corndog, bands are in and out in 30 minutes or less: variety over in-depth performances, really. Parade managed well, playing their strongest tunes only, but other bands did not plan so well, as we were to see later on…


Over the past year or so, Parade has become more and more tight as a band, as well as more musically adventurous. It seems like the main guitarist uses fewer effects than previously, which gives his work a cleaner feel. And unlikely some other Atlanta bands, Parade continues to work o n new songs; in particular, I was fond of both new tunes that debuted on this evening. Even though their set was short due to time constraints, I was glad to see a number of people around me nodding appreciatively.

Parade: Carrie Hodge on guitar as well...


With Parade still buzzing in our ears, we walked down the hill to check out the outside stage. A 7-piece funk act was set up, featuring a backup singer/dancer who was really shaking it, and a lead singer in pink frilly shirt with massive dreadlocks piled on top of his head.

Rev Rebel ... your hair is a mess...

The music was really catchy, and although i had never even heard of Rev Rebel before, i thought they did a fine job of entertaining the commuters on Dekalb Avenue, who slowed down as they passed the stage. Really though, they did the funk thing well.


The outdoor stage this year was a real venue, with raised stage, loud and large PA, and a nice open space in front of the band for folks to dance and listen. Yeah, it was a blazing black top, but with a couple of strategically placed tents to relieve the sunshine, it seemed like a decent location. Certainly, it wasn't like the old tent on the ground, borrowing the band's PA, and the crowd's going to stand n the heat days of yore. The other first thought I had was that they were going to have issues if it rained. However, Atlanta's been in a drought all year, so what were the odds?


However, funk is not really my thing, so after about 10 minutes i was done sweating, and we headed back inside to catch The Bon Vivants. Tonight they were a three-piece, apparently absent their normal bassist. The two guitarists ended up trading bass duties, and this made them sound a lot like a jam-rock band.

The Bon Vinvants.

I don't think that's how these people normally sound, and i was completely underwhelmed. They did have one great moment where, for about two minutes of one song, they almost but not quite hit a Dinosaur Jr. spot of fuzzed out catchiness. I think that they really suffered from being down a member. That really sucks for them…

Unimpressed, we wandered outside to see what was happening in the heat and the smog. A band called The Green Hit had set up, and were playing decent 311 influenced rock. About three songs in, they finally hit the old school ska that they were shooting for, and I was overwhelmed by nostalgia for Pain, a long defunct semi-local ska-ish punk act.

At least 2 people enjoyed The Green Hit!

The Green Hit weren’t bad really, but the stage seemed a little big for them. Their set would have been more enjoyable crammed into a small, sweaty, smokey dive with 100 kids skankin’ and, well, having green hits…

We wandered back upstairs and stand around in the wonderful air conditioning (Ahhh!) watching the crowd ("Oh pumpkin – but some more clothes on!") while the next band sets up. Suddenly Tracers exclaims, "Good lord -- it's a two cello band!" while waving her can of PBR at the stage. Indeed, the act setting up had two cellists -- some sort of leftover relic from The Golden Age of Cello Rock (circa 1997 for those keeping score). The band was called Canada, so of course they were from Michigan. Aside from the dueling cellists (one rhythm, one lead i suppose), they had a singer with an acoustic guitar, a guy playing xylophone, and a drummer.

The rare contemporary 2 cello band.

They started off with a few songs of cello-driven post-rock, kind of like a really string heavy Potomac Accord. Not bad at all. But then they got … crazy. The drummer left his kit and stood beating on percussion and the two cellists stood up and sang along, all harmonizing really well. Canada became silly, catchy, and fun in a Tilly and the Wall sort of way.

Canada in chaotic, messy, fun, eh?

I like the juxtaposition of the serious and the fun in their performance. The balance really worked, and i enjoyed their set tremendously. Look for these people when they swing back on tour and can play a longer set.


Canada (from Michigan) were a bit of a surprise. When I first saw the cellos set up, I was thinking they would play some avant moody music. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by their first post-rock notes. That was good, but then when they became more poppy (think Saturday Looks Good to Me), I really began to enjoy myself. And it seemed like the band was having fun too, which goes a long way in my book.


I can only wonder what the Canada Michiganians thought of the next act, who started on the side stage immediately when Canada left the main. This was a four-piece act of scruffy, long-haired, cowboy-boot wearing dudes playing old fashioned Southern Rock. Are bands already damaged by The Drive-by Truckers? This really isn't my thing, although i must admit they had a really great beat, and the music was more honky tonk than anything Not bad, really, but sort of generic for this area. I have probably seen half a dozen bands at The Star Bar do the exact same thing… According the schedule they were called The Skylarks, but a Google Search reveals that The Skylarks are a different local act. I wonder who this last minute replacement band was?

Unknown, non-Skylarks, band!


The apparently random band was not so much Drive By Truckers damaged, but rather harkened back to folks like Gram Parsons and, more importantly, After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young. In short, not really Southern Rock per se. Either way, they did the Neil Young-influenced thing quite well with slightly mournful vocals and a heavier rock undertone.


The main stage then filled with Bad Magic Number, who turned out to be a sort of Atlanta supergroup, consisting of members of Luigi, Magnapop, The Silent Kids, and The Preakness.

Atlanta's Supergroup: Bad Magiq Number.

They played very solid indie pop that referenced such other bands as The dB's and Blur, which is to say it was catchy music with apparently meaningful lyrics (like i can understand lyrics at a show!), and lots of great guitarwork. Very impressive, and hope that this little side project continues, while still letting the other bands play as well.


Before they took the stage, I was a bit worried by Bad Magiq Number (no, that's not a misspelling). But once I really they were something a supergroup, I sat back and enjoyed the music. Like PostLibyan mentions, it was catchy indie pop, and it was nice to see Scott Rowe (normally the bassist for Maganapop and Luigi) take the front place and sing.

Scott Rowe on the nice hollowbody there in front.

I think this was one of their first shows, but you couldn't tell at all, which is a tribute to just how talented and professional the four members are.


While Bad Magic Number were playing, local Indie icons Magnapop (well, the members who were not already on-stage) tried to gear in. Local guitar goddess Ruthie Morris even asked me if i knew where people were stacking gear, and fortunately i did have a clue, so i was able to direct her to the appropriate corner for her guitar. Kind of a "geek out" moment for me, since i have been a fan of her work since i was in college.

Even a Guitar Goddess like Ruthie Morris has to tune.

And then Magnapop took the stage, Linda Hopper grinning wildly, dancing, and having the great time she seems to have whenever they play. They opened with Slowly, Slowly, played a few tunes off of their latest, Daemon Records release, and then ended with a slightly slower version of Merry and a revved up Open the Door. A very enjoyable set that really got the crowd going, as Magnapop always does. I was also impressed that Magnapop timed their set exactly, with Linda telling the crowd "We have one more" just as the Stage Manager was about to give her the "one more" sign. Guess they have been doing this long enough to plan out a 25 minute set pretty accurately.


Magnapop were one of the first "local" bands I really got into, back in the day. I was never as huge of a fan as most of my friends, but I did enjoy them. Then, they really seemed to refocus a few years ago, and I've really re-evaluated my fondness for them. Furthermore, as this set at Corndogorama shows, they know how to work a crowd and get them revved up, even with a limited time to pull out the stops. So, I suppose it wasn't surprising that most of this set came across as Greatest Hits sort of thing. But, considering how very very good Magnapop's "hits" are, I can't say I was disappointed at all.

Linda Hopper can be intense when she sings.


By the time Magnapop were done it was almost 9 PM, which meant that i had been standing around, listening to music, taking notes like a dork, drinking beer, and talking to people (well, shouting at them over the interstitial music) for about 4 hours. That's a long day when i got up at 6:30 in the morning, and i guess i didn't hydrate enough because i was very tired. Still, there was Luigi to enjoy.

They took the stage, all of them with spiffy new haircuts. They played several new tunes, as well as some old classics. Perhaps it was my position in front of the bassist tonight, but Three Lincolns seemed to have even more of a reggae beat than normal. A very enjoyable set, and i like the new stuff that they are playing.


Ah, Luigi. Or, in the case of Corndog, band 3 of the "Scott Rowe show." Few bands could follow up Magnapop, and not hope to be overshadowed by them. Luigi is one of the bands that can. And furthermore, they played some new songs, too! So, yes it was a typical Luigi set, with lots of happy indie pop driven by the always interesting drumming of Brian Fletcher and guided by the vocals of Michelle Dubois. I do like this band, who are always consistently very good, and always get the crowd to sing and dance. This set was not a disappointment.

The freshly shorn Luigi.


Tiredness had fully set in, but i wanted to catch at least a bit of Ancient Chinese Secret on the side stage. After all, Dave Railey started Corndogorama as a way to get people to see Ancient Chinese Secret, and even though that band broke up years ago, they reunited to play tonight.

Ancient Chinese Secret, huh?

They are much more of a hard rock act than anything else i have ever seen from Mr. Railey -- he was really pounding away on his guitar. I saw perhaps three songs, all of which were worthwhile and would have been very enjoyable had i not been so tired.

So, we headed out into the steamy night, to go home to cats, drinking a lot of water, and a soft bed. After all, Saturday was the really long day of the schedule….

Related Links:

Read the entire Corndogorama 2007 review:
    Day 1 featuring: 63 Crayons, Parade, Rev Rebel, The Bon Vivants, The Green Hit, Canada, "Mystery Band", Bad Magic Number, Magnapop, Luigi, and Ancient Chinese Secret
    Day 2 featuring: Mouser, Club Awesome, Slushco, The Orphins, Elevado, Midwives, Judi Chicago, Spy For Hire, The Winter Sounds, Continue and Save, The Preakness, Untied States, and Moresight
    Day 3 featuring: Dang Dang Dang, Chickens and Pigs, Seraphix, Moorish Idols, Tenth to the Moon, Dig Your Hole, Slackey Family Circus, The Sudden Rays, Jupiter Watts, and The Forever War

Band Links:
  63 Crayons band site:
  63 Crayons MySpace:
  Parade Band Site:
  Parade MySpace:
  Rev Rebel MySpace:
  The Bon Vivants MySpace:
  The Green Hit band site:
  The Green Hit MySpace:
  Canada band site:
  Canada MySpace:
  Bad Magic Number band site:
  Bad Magic Number MySpace:
  Magnapop band site:
  Magnapop MySpace:
  Luigi band site:
  Luigi MySpace:

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


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