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  Corndogorama 2008 - Day 3  


  Lenny's Bar  

Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA


Thy Mighty Contract, Handsome Jack, Rock City Dropouts, A.Armada, The N.E.C., 5-8, It's Elephant, Grinder Nova, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, The Orphins, Gringo Star, Snowden

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



Unlike past Corndogorama, Saturday did not promise to be a particularly long event. Sure, the music was scheduled to begin around noon or so, but after checking out the band list, PostLibyan and I decided that the first band we really wanted to see was Untied States at 5 pm. So, I spent the day doing errands and looking skeptically at the increasing cloud cover drifting in from the West. It wasn't that I was against the idea of rain, but rather that, more than any other day, the bands we wanted to see (including Snowden) were supposed to play outside, and a thunderstorm might just put a crimp into these plans.

Either way, I shouldn't have been surprised when, at 4:00 pm, the skies opened up and a deluge began over my house. It continued, even as PostLibyan arrived and we made plans to go over to Lennys. We pondered the deluge and our options, but eventually the rain seemed to be letting up so we wandered, arriving just in time to catch the last few songs of Thy Mighty Contract. This five piece featured a female vocalist and two members of The Orphins. Therefore, it probably wasn't too surprising that they had an angularity to their punk-ish music, over which the vocalist chirped and shouted. It was sort of like a particularly jittery version of X-Ray Spex, albeit without the saxophone. I also got the impression that they haven't played together long at all, which showed in their occasionally awkward song endings. Still, they weren't bad at all, and I'd be interested in seeing them again.

The vocalist of Thy Mighty Contract.

Next up, per the schedule, was Untied States. If you look back at our reviews, you'll quickly discover that PostLibyan is a much bigger fan of this band than I. Yet over the years, I've discovered that every 6 months or so, their line-up does a complete changeover and they veer off in a different musical direction. With that in mind, I'm also interested in hearing what they will do next. However, as the band began to load in, I commented that this didn't look like any version of Untied States I had ever seen. And soon enough, this impression was confirmed when the band announced themselves as Handsome Jack. Ah, it would appear we had a substitution!

Handsome Jack are not, in fact, particularly handsome, so it's good that they played
their stoner rock in the darkness of the side stage.

The unfortunate thing about this substitution is that, after the punky sounds of Thy Mighty Contract, the classic rock throwback sound of Handsome Jack seemed a bit incongruous. From where I stood, it was apparent that these folks knew how to play their instruments and weren't afraid to show that. Likewise, for a group that didn't appear to have been alive during the early/mid-70s, they definitely had that slightly heavy rock sound down. However, despite my misgivings, I was more in the mood for Untied States that this, so we decided to take an early dinner break, and plan to be back for NEC, who were scheduled for 7 pm. To this end, we headed out so PostLibyan could deal with his diabetic cat and I could get some more caffeine in my system.

Our errands didn't take particularly long, so we were back well before 7 pm. Since we really didn't have anything on the agenda, we wandered to the outside stage, where the Rock City Dropouts were playing. I know we've seen them before, and I have to say they sounded pretty much the same as I remembered. They played to sort of heavy metal more associated with the 80s than Black Sabbath, and they certainly seemed to be having a grand old time on the outdoor stage. Or rather, the lead singer seemed to be having a grand old time with his Viking style helmet, as flailed around in the crowd.

Rock City Dropouts' singer/viking.

The lead guitarist of Rock City Dropouts thrashed out in front of a small child,
who we later learned was his son.  He must be proud of his dad!

Still, it seemed muggy outside, so we figured we'd take our chances and go seen who was playing inside.

Allegedly, the act on the side stage when we wandered in was called Make the Fur Fly. This seemed like an appropriate name for the moody, slightly heavy mathematical rock played by this group. It was loud, and a little intricate, and very reminiscent of the bands who record on Athens' Hello Sir label. In fact, as I peered into the dim lighting, I was almost certain that the bassist of this band was also in at least one of the Hello Sir bands.

A.Armada, a standard Hello, Sir band.

Confused about the apparent cross-pollination, I still enjoyed this act tremendously as the sound washed over me, almost as if to make up for the cancellation of Untied States. And once they finished, we quickly determined that this act was not in fact Make the Fur Fly but was indeed a Hello Sir band called A. Armada. Good to know, and this just cements that fact that Hello Sir does have some of the more interesting music around.


I liked this act. They played a Mogwai-style post-rock, and yet managed to throw in some progishness, a la Rush, or Opeth. Interesting.

A.Armada's drummer was amazing to watch.


Up next were The N.E.C., a local Atlanta band that I've never actually managed to catch. I know they play out a fair amount, and usually on the same bill with bands I like, so I was intrigued to hear them. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but they were a bit more spacey and effect-y than I would have thought. This isn't to say that they weren't enjoyable, but rather just a little different. Certainly, they had some 60s/early 70s psychedelic pop elements, but at the same time, it was more than a little clear than these guys also liked their Spaceman 3 as well. It was an interesting combination and rather fun, and I'm glad I made the effort to check them out.

The vocalist of The N.E.C.

He was playing this nice 12-string guitar that he only had 6 strings on.


I think they came across as sounding like The Boo Radleys. There was some psychedelic spaciness in the guitar riffs, and backing that up was a powerful rhythm section doing some deep grooves and channeling The Kinks. Really nice.

Artsy photo of The N.E.C. in action, showing the accessories every performer needs:
  a beer, a pack of smokes, and a cell phone.


With that, we wandered back outside so as to see our old favorites, 5-8. I'm thinking it's been at least a year since the last time I saw them live, and I wanted to hear them again. Likewise, of all the times I've seen 5-8, I've never heard them put on a bad set, so I just knew this would good. Still, as they tried to set up and get started, it was apparently that the band was going to have technical issues. In fact, at least once during their set, bassist Dan Horowitz had to changed out his cables whilst the other two musicians soldiered on without him.

The cording-challenged Dan Horowitz.

Despite these challenges (or perhaps because of them), 5-8 rocked out as they played a short set, trying to invoke the smallish crowd to dance and come closer. And it worked, as even several small children, came towards the stage and began to dance.

Mike Manitone implores the crowd to come and dance.

Then, towards the end of their set, something sort of weird happened. Just behind us, a group of guys in red jumpsuits came out and were banging on instruments during 5-8's songs.

A strange interruption to 5-8's set.

I wasn't sure what was going on, but I attributed it to misguided performance art and turned back to the band on stage and continued to enjoy the music. And, once they finished, I sighed and reminded myself that I really ought to see 5-8 more often.

At this point, due to the rain, the outdoor stage was running a bit behind, but the indoor stage was moving right along, thanks to the ever-present stage manager, a gentleman by the name of J.D. Van Eaton.

Mr. Van Eaton.  Thanks for keeping this thing organized.

And I have to say, this year, Mr. Van Eaton had a thankless task with bands determined to circumvent the time restrictions, rain threatening to derail the entire time line, and band substitutions occurring regularly. But he kept at it, and kept it all moving, despite the various challenges, leading me to think that this man must be a logistical genius in the real world.

While these thoughts ran through my head, we took a quick look at who was on the stage. It was, in fact, those guys in the red jumpsuits from outside. Well, who knew? And who could have guessed that instead of playing some sort of space rock shtick that they would sound more like a funky big band? Now, this is totally unexpected, and a little on the strange side. They sounded pretty good, but this was so not my thing.

  Apparently they are called Grinder Nova.  

Additionally, the band who was now on the outdoor stage was It's Elephant's (sic), a group who had sent us a promo request way on band, so we thought it only right to go check them out.

Elephants don't know how to use apostrophes.

Ah, but this may not have been the best choice. As we came outside, we were inundated by a 5 piece group that sounded fairly straight up rock, with a vocalist who seemed to sound a little bit like David Lee Roth. They were sort of unmemorable to my mind, and only served to take up what felt like an indeterminable amount of time whilst we waited for the next band to come on, during which I contemplated the misplaced apostrophe in their name.


This band was so bad that they managed to clear the outdoor stage at Corndogorama. People would rather flee up the hill than be forced to listen to them. That is some sort of accomplishment…

Jagermeister wind sock at the outdoor stage.


Not soon enough, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves began to set up. Ever since w happened upon them, I have to say this is one of my favorite local live acts, just because the world needs more groups that can combine the sounds of bands like The Clash and Social Distortion into something energetic and entertaining. As the band completed their set up, announcer Rodney came to the stage holding a large trophy, topped with a flopping corndog model, which he present to the band, calling them "the Drunkest band at Corndog." Seeming pleased by the trophy, the band held it up, then placed it on the stage as they began their set.

Ah yes, this was more like it. On the outdoor stage, and with several new songs, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves seemed to be channeling more of their Clash-y influences on this evening. And the increasing crowd really seemed to be enjoying it. As I watched from a chair underneath a tent, people began to bounce around. And, although their set seemed like it was cut a little short due to time constraints, I think All Night Drug Prowling Wolves were one of the best acts I had seen thus far at Corndog, thereby cemented my earlier opinions regarding their music.

ANDPW vocalist.


ANDPW played a 25 minute set of Clash/Rancid derived rock. It was nothing new or groundbreaking, but boy did i enjoy it. The music they make is right up my alley.

ANDPW Mick Jones impersonator.


With that, it was time to go inside and see The Orphins. Ah yes, The Orphins, another one of my favorite bands, who still haven't released their second album, and who can be hit or miss with their live sets. So, with some trepidation, I came over to the side stage and waited to see what would happen. Luckily, it was quite apparent that The Orphins brought their game tonight.

One Orphin.  It was ridiculously hard to photgraph at the completely unlit side stage.

Yes, I could hear some issues with their sound and their play, including a few outright mistakes. However, the band kept it together and kept playing even with their occasional difficulties. Furthermore, they had a certain ferocity to their sound which helped propel their music forward, masking any issues they encountered. And of course they kept close to their roots, excelling especially on Devil Duck and, of course, Tundra. By the time they finished, I was feeling rather happy and revved up, as The Orphins' energy lifted me.

Perhaps this happy glow was why I feeling charitable as I suggested we go back outside and catch a few songs by Gringo Starr before Snowden came on. I know, I know, I've never been a huge Gringo Starr, even back when they were called A Fir Ju Well. But I swear the last time I caught, they sounded kind of jangly and poppy, and I liked them. So I was curious.

We made our way back to our chairs underneath the tent and plopped down as Gringo Starr was playing. At first I thought the music sounded pleasant enough; it wasn't as poppy as I remember, and I bit of a twangy country-rock sound seemed to infuse their sound. But, it wasn't bad. But then, the band started to add increasing musical jams into their songs, which seemed to make each song a bit...well….longer, if you will. Without strong, poppy hooks in their songs, Gringo Starr seemed to meander musically, an impression enhanced by their continuing tactic of switching instruments between songs.

At one point, someone in Gringo Starr announced that they had three songs left. At that point, I think they had been playing close to 30 minutes, and they only had 30 minutes in which to play. Still, I suspected that the outdoor stage manager might let them continue, since it was clear that at least a portion of the crowd was there for Gringo Starr. But, at the point, the stage manager showed up and seemed to indicate that they had 2 minutes left instead. The band ignored the stage manager and launched into a long, rambling tune. After a couple of minute, I heard the sound began to fade out before it came back up. Thinking it was a sound system malfunction, I looked quizzically at PostLibyan. Then, suddenly, the sound on the stage went off. A-ha! I got it! They had pulled the plug on Gringo Starr! But the band didn't stop playing; instead, they kept right on going, with the drummer thudding along. Then, they realized what had happened. Looking rather angry, one member of the band began smashing things around the stage and throwing things as well. Remember that trophy given to All Night Drug Prowling Wolves? During this time, the very angry member of the band sent the base of that trophy sailing into the crowd, over my head, hitting the chain link fence behind me. Thinking that these temper tantrums actually decreased my tolerance for Gringo Starr, I shrugged and prepared for the band we had come to see: Snowden.


I didn't photograph Gringo Star, which means i missed the opportunity to record their tantrum.  Darnit.  however, i was distracted by the elaborate video setup outside.  Here are some shots.

Video boom.

The video editing booth.

It was a really elaborate set up, with some nice gear.  I wonder what will happen to the footage?


I can't think of the last time I saw Snowden. I know they were supposed to play last year's Corndogorama, but were stuck abroad and had to cancel. Likewise, I don't think I've actually made to one of their own shows in a while (mainly because they tend to sell venues out before I get my act together). So I was interested in seeing how the band has changed. However, before I could get this chance, we had to sit through a rather long set-up.

Jordan Jeffares has a really nice guitar now.

Eventually, though, Snowden took the stage. At the beginning, I thought perhaps they had significantly altered their sound, as the music seemed to thud and tremble more than I recalled. I quickly came to an alternate conclusion: the sound mix was a little off. This was confirmed, as the band got to their second or third tune, and they began to sound more like I remembered.

Corrine Lee consults the setlist.

It's clear that touring and recording have helped Snowden become very very tight. After the sound mix was fixed, the music seemed remarkably crisp and clear, with each part distinct, from the syncopated guitars to the thudding bass. Looking around me, I could see that everyone in the crowd really enjoyed it, even the new songs Snowden played with which people weren't familiar. As they concluded, I realized that I had sat through the lengthiest set of Corndog, and I hadn't even noticed the time passing. Now, that's a mark of an entertaining band.

Corrine Lee in drumming action.


I haven't seen Snowden in a while, because, like Tracers, i tend not to by advance tickets, and then end up disappointed when the show is sold out.  hey, it chafes my butt to have to pay a Service Charge!

Anyway, tonight they sounded great.  It is always a pleasure to see Chandler Rentz, the best drummer in Atlanta, perform. They even did the new, Chandler-ized version of Like Bullets, which features his unique drumming style to great effect.

Chandler Rentz in action.

Chandler Rentz under the camera flash.

They also palyed about four new songs, many of which were slow and morose. These did not come across so well as the crowd was unfamiliar with them, but they sounded good.  However, at one point after one of these songs band leader Jordan Jeffares said something about a new album coming out soon, he hopes, and he also advised us not to sign a contract on the recommendation of a friend who happens to be a lawyer.  It saddens me that Jade Tree is not working out for this band, and Jeffares was obviously frustrated.  I hope that things work out.  Snowden still have a lot of potential, and i would hate to see that wasted by music industry shenanigans.

Corrine scowls off stage while Jordan sings.

  After Snowden, there were a couple of other bands I would have like to have seen, including The Howlies. Yet, with the crisp cleanness of Snowden in my brain and a smile on my face, I wasn't inclined to risk any disappointments. Better to end on a high note, so to speak, than to have it wiped out by something else. With this consideration, we headed out into the evening, ready to rest up in preparation for Day 4: math rock.  
Related Links:

Read the entire Corndogorama 08 review:
     Day 1 featuring Special Olympiad, Trial by Fire, Loose Screws, The Holland Dutch, Attractive Eighties Women, Tenth to the Moon, Thee Crucials, Heinous Bienfang
     Day 2 featuring Volcanizm, Twin Tigers, Graboids, Spy for Hire, Antic Clay and the Last Holy Train, Magnapop, Chump, Hollyfaith, and James Hall
     Day 3 featuring Thy Mighty Contract, Handsome Jack, Rock City Dropouts, A.Armada, The N.E.C., 5-8, It's Elephant, Grinder Nova, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, The Orphins, Gringo Star, Snowden
     Day 4 featuring The Reverend God and the Jesus Squad, Club Awesome, Light Pupil Dilate, Battle Cat, Rizzudo, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Cassavetes, Cinemechanica, Maserati
Band links for today:
   They Mighty Contract:
   Handsome Jack:
   Rock City Dropouts:
   The N.E.C.:

   It's Elephant's:
   Grinder Nova:
   All Night Drug Prowling Wolves:
   The Orphins:
   Gringo Star:


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