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  The 2006 Other Sound Music Festival- Day 1  



The Drunken Unicorn in The Poncey-Highlands, Atlanta, GA


Parade, Venice Is Sinking, Hot Young Priest, No River City, Spectralux

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



Atlanta's The Other Sound Festival got off to a prompt start at 9:01 PM on Thursday with local pop act Parade. This is a young band, in that not only have they been around for only a year or two, but all of the members seem ... well, significantly younger than this reviewer. And there is nothing wrong with that, it's just something i notice watching them play.

Parade are a 4-piece act, with a female singer, a guitarist who plays energetically and with a lot of pedals, a keyboardist/bassist, and a drummer. They make pretty female-fronted pop music that reminds me ever so slightly of Headlights. At times, especially on the more keyboard heavy numbers, the band treads close to New Wave, something of which i fully approve. I think all 4 band members are talented at what they do, but i especially like the vocals of Carrie Hodge, who has a rich voice that she clearly knows how to use. Also of note is the drumming of Jason Chamison, who has an interesting repetitive, echoing style that sounds dubby at times.


Parade: Jason Chamison and Emily Martin.


The more I see Parade, the more I like them. Like Postlibyan, I am particularly fond of their keyboard driven numbers, which have a vaguely traditional feel to them. More importantly, on this evening, I was completely entranced by Ms. Hodge's dress, and spent much of the evening going, "I need that outfit; where on Earth can I get it?" I know that seems very shallow, but that was an amazingly cool dress. And I want it.

Parade: Carrie Hodge on bass, in cool dress.


Tonight, they played a short set of catchy pop. I was thoroughly entertained, and i sat there wondering, "Why don't these kids perform live more often?" (This being only the second time i have seen them this year -- and last time was in January!) Well, hopefully we will see them again soon. They are touring the Southeast this fall, so if you are in that part of the country i recommend giving them a chance.

Parade: Scott Trinh with pedals.

The next act, which started promptly at 10, was the band Venice is Sinking, who were previously unknown to EvilSponge. That's a real shame, because this rather accomplished band obviously knows their stuff. They are a 5-piece act, including a keyboardist and a violinist along with the rock band power trio lineup.

Venice is, apparently, Sinking, but it still (post)rocks!

They play orchestral pop music of an epic sort. The music ebbs and flows with harmonies, soaring violin, and deep keys. They were catchy, hummable, fun tunes. I was really impressed. For an unknown band, they played music that was right up my alley. I will definitely be looking for these Athenians to play in Atlanta again.

Venice is a one-handed trumpet.


Athens band Venice is Sinking was a new act for me, but a great discovery for this evening. I love their almost folksy take on pop music; it made me think that this is what Merge Records' band The Essex Green is trying to be (and failing). I particularly liked the guitarist's voice, and the way it worked with his guitar lines. Also of note was the song wherein the violinist attempted to dance in her prom-y looking dress and play at the same time. It was cute and endearing, just like the band in general.

Venice is a violin at the prom.


So far, so good. Two bands that played very enjoyable pop music. Up next was a short digression from catchy pop into bluesy rock territory with Hot Young Priest. These people seem to be everywhere these days. I run into drummer Chris Jensen at shows, and it seems as if they play around a good bit.

The ubiquitous Mr. Chris Jensen of Hot Young Priest.

I can see why people like them -- they have a driving rhythm section, and vocalist/guitarist Mary Byrne can really belt out the tunes while hammering away on her guitar.

Mary Byrne singing away.

However, well, i must confess that straight up rock really isn't my thing. Maybe if they added some more pedals or something... Seriously: Hot Young Priest are a talented band, and sometimes i enjoy them and sometimes i do not. Tonight i found that they played a fast-paced energetic set that seemed to fit the mood of the evening. I would say that this is my favorite of the three times i have seen them this year. And if you are a fan of the rock and/or the roll, then you should give Hot Young Priest a chance.


I think of the two EvilSponge editors, I'm the bigger fan of Hot Young Priest. I can enjoy a little straight up, no holds bar rock, especially when the musicians are extremely talented. Most of the time when I see Hot Young Priest, I stay focused on Mary Byrne's voice; however on this evening, either due to mix or my own inclinations, I was really listening to the music itself. And it struck that this band really knows how to play together, as one coherent whole. The drums played off the bass to create a fairly massive sounding backbeat, while Byrne's guitar shredded through the heavier echoes to give some mid-tone heft. Over all of it, Byrne's voice soars, but still combines with the other elements to create the band's rather unique sound. It's a pretty durn cool mixture, and it was shown to great advantage on this evening.

Bassist Daniel Winn of Hot Young Priest.


The next band, however, well, let's just say that for me they really killed the evening. They were called No River City, and Tracers reminded me that we saw them play at Corndogorama a few years back. Well, that's not correct, strictly speaking. At Corndogorama 2005, we wandered in to see this band playing country blues, and then we wandered back out again in search of coffee. Unfortunately on this evening we couldn't do that, seeing as they went on at 11:48 PM, after the cyber cafe coffee place next door to The Drunken Unicorn had closed up for the night. So we were stuck listening to country music... Ugh.


No River City. Please!

Ah….I remember No River City. I've seen them a couple of times, outside of the afore-mentioned Corndogarama. I think the time I enjoyed them the most was once when I wandered into a mid-Sunday afternoon Dunch set at The EARL. They provided a nice backgroudn noise while I sat at a table eating breakfast and sipping beer. Of course, this is perhaps the issue with their set at the Other Sounds festival. While they played quite competently, they didn't quite mesh with the musical flow, and threw off the crowd. I felt a bit bad for them, as I think with the correct surroundings and on a different night, they could be fun and enjoyable.


I don't get country. I never listened to the genre until i moved down here to the South in 1983, and then i only listened to it when it was on at places i went. I have never, in my life, sought out country music. And yet, i cannot escape it... Maybe i'm just too urban for this stuff. Who knows. All i know is that No River City were a band i endured to get at Spectralux.

And that, really, was the problem of the whole evening. We had two catchy pop bands, then a harder rock band, then a bluesy country band playing long drawn-out tunes (they announced "We've got 2 more!" then played two jam out tunes that lasted 18 minutes!!!) It was a poor lineup decision, as No River City really cleared the room. Seriously -- less than half of the crowd that was there to see Hot Young Priest was still there when Spectralux went on at 1:01 AM (after a remarkably fast set change, i might add), and that's a damned shame. Seriously -- to the organizers of The Other Sound, next time try and put jamming country bands on earlier in the evening, so that they don't bore people into leaving to go home and go to bed... I know that i really wanted to leave to get some sleep, but we stuck it out to see Spectralux.

Spectralux in action.

Spectralux is a 5-piece Atlanta synthpop/new wave band who played around a lot several years ago, then took an absurdly long time off to record an album. Well, the album is out and available, and the band is performing again. This is the second time we have seen them since the reunion, and both times they played fun danceable music with lots of distorted guitar and driving keyboards. I find them really fun in concert, and after the downer that was No River City, they were able to redeem the evening. That's saying something, really. If you have the chance and want a fun danceable show, go check out Spectralux.


Spectralux, not surprisingly, know how to create an environment for their music. They have a fog machine, and they're not afraid to use it!

Spectralux out on the moors of The Drunken Unicorn's stage...

Oddly enough, the thick waves of artificial fog provide a great background to their dance-inducing music. It makes me think of one of those mid-80s New Wave teen clubs (or maybe an older club too, but I wasn't old enough then to get in), where people would bounce around to the beat, jumping and allegedly dancing even tough none of us could really keep time. But we had a whole lot of fun, and that too characterizes my experiences with Spectralux.


So we headed out too late, but satisfied, to sleep, work, and do it again for night 2!

Related Links:

Read the entire 2006 Other Sound review:
    Day 1: Parade, Venice Is Sinking, Hot Young Priest, No River City, Spectralux
    Day 2: Five Foot Flame, Engineering, The Preakness, Faith Kleppinger, Gentleman Caller, Ultrababyfat
    Day 3: Elevado, Dave Doobinin, Ferocious Bubbles, The Blue Hour, and Slushco
Added bonus material:
    Photo gallery: nice guitars at 2006 Other Sound
    Photo gallery: Pedal fetishism at 2006 Other Sound
    Photo gallery: The new Lenny's Bar

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

Band information:
   Venice is Sinking:
   Hot Young Priest:
   No River City:


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