July 8, 2009

Corndogorama Music Festival

 Features the song "Kill What You Can" by Thy Mighty Contract.

Corndogorama | East Atlanta, GA | June 27-28, 2009
Corndogorama 2009 was a lot of fun, a lot of sun, a little rain, some carnival games, a bunch of bands, some soccer fans, a ton of $4 PBR, even more vodka infused watermelon and lots and lots of corndogs.


Founded in 1996 by Dave Railey, Corndogorama began as an ingenious birthday party/band promotion opportunity combo. Since then, it’s grown into a full blown indie music festival in Atlanta. This was its first year as an exclusively outdoors event. In the past, it has been hosted by a handful of Atlanta bars. This year, Corndogorama took place right outside The Earl (which served as a haven for air conditioning and drinks-not-$4 PBR).

Me and Albert at the Performer Tent!

Although our tent was just out of viewing range of the stage, we could still hear the music perfectly, and our spot near the entrance, directly in front of the porto-potties, guaranteed prime people-watching seats. On Saturday, the first group to visit our tent was a girl in a red Marilyn Manson baby-T, her mother and her father.

Mother: “So these are free magazines? Honey, do you want a magazine?”

Girl: shakes head to indicate “no,” looks away

Father: “You sure? It’s about music. It’s a music magazine.”

Girl: rolls eyes and begins to wander away.

Father and Mother: shrug shoulders and walk away.

Despite this slow start, we soon completely ran out of mags. Albert (Opraseuth) had to go steal some from The Earl where, naturally, he was questioned as to why he was walking in, taking an entire stack of magazines, then immediately leaving.

Sunday was much like Saturday except that at 3 p.m., Albert and 40 percent of the other Corndogorama attendees vacated the premises in order to catch the U.S. vs. Brazil soccer game and get sloppy drunk at The Midway Pub. I, meanwhile, was content to hold down the tent, listen to Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, and wait for Albert to get back, flushed and frustrated.

So, gettin’ the cons out of the way…

Con: $4 PBR!

PBR was a sponsor for Corndogorama, and I hear it’s quite the hip beer to drink these days … but $4 PBR! I guess PBR does support a lot of local music events, and I get the whole support those who support you thing. It’s cyclical. It makes sense. But $4 PBR! People enjoy PBR because it’s cheap. At least I do. Pabst’s whole marketing campaign for this Miller Brewing Company-made beer is founded on its low price and even more low-key marketing. At Corndogorama, however, it looked like the skies had rained down blue ribbons and PBR was four dollars. $4 PBR? Come on guys …

Pro within a con!: Word has it, part of PBR’s marketing plan includes sponsoring events for indie musicians who come to them and say, “Hey, we really like your beer. Wanna sponsor our thing?” In general, PBR’s underground marketing concept is respectable, straight forward, and not patronizing. I’d pick it over boobs and bros any day.

Con: At times there seemed to be more press than people just chillin. Most of my favorite bands played early in the day, before anyone got there! Before 3 p.m., 50 percent of the people at Corndogorama had snazzy cameras with which they took strategically-angled-to-make-the-crowd-seem-bigger pictures of the other 50 percent of people there. One popular strategy was to totally avoid the crowds and take extreme close-ups of the bands. It felt odd to see some of my favorite bands play in a contrived seeming setting. On the other hand, people that happen to be into photography often happen to be into indie music as well so it all could have been a coincidence.

Pro within a con! Electric Cycles might not have been the best band of the day, but their bassist definitely struck the most rockin’ poses. With at least five cameras within 10 feet of his feet, he lunged, snarled,and worked those heavily tatted legs his mother gave him. I’m almost 100 percent sure he was 100 percent serious. It was glorious.

Con: Saturday ended with Modern Skirts instead of a good band from Atlanta. Their “awkward indie-guy” dance moves seemed a little too rehearsed. Maybe I’m just biased because Jay Gully was wearing a UMiami T-shirt. I went to that school for two years. I transferred.

PROS! Basically the music, specifically…

Attractive Eighties Women: They were one of the first bands to play Corndogorama. They apologized to those who brought children before playing “Surfing or AIDS I’ll Take Surfing.” They were perfect for putting people in a “it’s one in the afternoon but fuck it it’s party time” mood.


Nomen Novum: These guys were legit. Two guys standing in front of laptops isn’t inherently entertaining, but their music more than made up for it. Plus, they had the cutest, most endearingly awkward dancer ever (but with a whatever-we-all-know-this-is-a-funny-dance smile) dancing around them.

Thy Mighty Contract: I went home for a quick lunch and nap. That turned into a two-hour nap. That turned into me missing Thy Mighty Contract. That turned into a sad face because I love Thy Mighty Contract and listen to their self-titled album like daily in my car. When I got back to Corndogorama, Albert asked, “Do you listen to Thy Mighty Contract because they just played a really great set then came over and talked to me?” Despite my sadness at missing out, this made me really excited because it validated my taste and confirmed that Thy Mighty Contract were indeed as good live as they are on their CD.

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun: Sunday afternoon was getting a bit lackluster. Then Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun came with some fun and refreshing indie-electro (and not just the kind that 14 year old girls put on their MySpace or whatever the kids do these days). I even left my boyfriend in charge of the Performer tent so I could meander toward the stage and catch their show. It’s too bad most people missed out because they were getting shit-faced and watching soccer. I’m talking to you Albert (even though I guess I can understand the appeal of potentially watching something historic and enjoying air-conditioning).

Sunday closed much more to my liking than Saturday: Judi Chicago and Abby Go-Go both put on great shows (duh), and the day ended with Dead Confederate. It was a satisfying ending to great weekend of local music, but I think Corndogorama ran later than noise policy allows or something. Right after Dead Confederate finished their set, police armed with flashlights charged into the lot and chased everyone out to Flat Shoals. Of course this only made the end of Corndogorama even more satisfying because everyone knows that being chased down by the police is the most “rock n’ roll” way one can end a weekend.

-Words and Photos by Kristen Fox; video by Albert Opraseuth

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