Bands focused on fun to occupy Skull stage

Athens-based Leave Corp is one of three groups who will perform at the Smiling Skull. (via Leave Corp)

Three bands with three distinctive sounds, one progressive rock, the other rock with hints of funk, and the last leaning toward experimental Americana, will converge at the Smiling Skull Saloon, 108 W Union St., this Saturday.

The bands performing include Athens groups Mantra and Leave Corp along with Columbus band, The Hail Bop Group, who will take the stage starting at 10 p.m.
Mantra, a band who has been playing around Athens during the past few months, is a trio of musicians featuring lead singer and guitarist Ben Corbitt, drummer Kevin Wheeler and bass player George Antczak.

Corbitt said for Mantra, less is more, and the music they perform benefits from working as a trio because of the chemistry that has built up between the three.

“We want the crowd to enjoy (the show) with us,” Corbitt said. “If we’re having fun, then we think they will, too.”

Dave Wooster, guitarist and vocalist for Leave Corp, said they would bring their “tight, simple” brand of rock to the Skull for an energetic set for audience members.

“We want to have fun more than anything,” Wooster said. “We all enjoy performing and seeing live music and understand that people are there to have a good time. We try to keep it upbeat so people can dance and let loose a bit.”

Wooster, the newest member of Leave Corp, said the band’s eclectic mix of styles makes for an interesting performance, touching on anything from funk augmented by Latin rhythms to hair-band rock.

Rounding out the show is the Hail Bop Group, the most experimental of the three bands. On the band’s website, they identify themselves as “a collective of artists, musicians and narcissistic lunatics…formed to binge and purge on (songwriter) D.A. Whiteker’s ideas and Philosophies.”

Norman, drummer and multi-instrumentalist of the band, said the Hail Bop Group can engage the audience through their ever-changing sets because of the prolific output of Whiteker, who has written upwards of 300 songs.

With all of the variation in what The Hail Bop Group has produced, Norman said it allows the band to have a continued interest in the music so they do not tie themselves down with one idea.

“Coming (to the show) is entertaining in itself musically and aesthetically; we’re not one of those bands who will show up in matching suits,” Norman said.

“We’re just normal guys.”

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