Cornerstone 1997: The Bands

I’ll admit it. The main reason I come to Cornerstone is to see the bands. I know that there are wonderful speakers and that I could really benefit from seeing them and listening to them, but I go to see the bands.

Actually, I did go to one seminar. It was about The Simpsons, one of my favorite TV shows. The seminar was about how the Simpsons might be one of the greatest pro-family shows on television, which I find quite interesting. But I digress.

I’m not going to list all of the shows I went to, but I’m going to tell you the ones that really impressed me. Here goes, in some semblance of chronological order.

Bathtub Mary

Probably the funnest show I saw all week. These guys are so cool and they’re fronted by a very nice and very smiley lady, Dagny. I don’t know how to describe it other than really quirky pop music that was just funner than snot to dance to. The best part of the show was when they sang a song about Klank. Yes, that Klank. “Klank just once. Klank once more. Now Klank twice. Klanking makes your throat sore.” And to top it all off, Klank was in the audience and seemed to be having more fun than anyone else. I just wish I could have made it to her tea party.

White Trash Inc.

If Bathtub Mary was the funnest show, White Trash put on the strangest show. Four guys dressed in black robes; one played keyboards and handled samples and whatnot while the other three handled guitars. It started out really slowly and mellow and just gradually built up into this wall of noise built around 2 gently swelling guitar chords.

At one point, one of the guitarists pounded a spike into his guitar. At another point, one of the guitarists started dropping his guitar on the stage and proceeded to take a powersaw to it. Every so often, one of the members would being to mutter sayings and phrases into the mic. After awhile, it slowly faded back to its original form, ending with the words “The goddess is dead.” Quite an interesting performance.

Unfortunately, some of the punk and hardcore kids didn’t seem to take too kindly to it. Some jerk got up behind stage and began to mock the band as it played. People need to realize that Christian music doesn’t begin and end with punk or ska. It was especially fun to watch the stagehands try to figure out what to do with the gear White Trash had up there.

Velour 100

Velour 100 wasn’t scheduled to play, but I found out that they were going to do a short acoustic set before the P.O.D. and MxPx shows. What followed was a truly great show. The show was truly unplugged; no microphones or amps or anything. Trey and Amon just sat down and played right there in the tent. All around was the hustle and bustle of the festival, but none of those people realized the gem in their midst.

Velour played about 6 songs or so and were very nice and pleasant about the whole thing. It was really nice to see Amon and Trey play together, since Amon isn’t really in the band anymore, so the whole thing had a bit of a “once in a lifetime” thing about it.

Havalina Rail Co.

Since I handed out awards earlier, I have to give “Snappiest Dresser” to Matt Wignall of Havalina Rail Co. He sure looked sexy in his suit, with his hair all slicked back. Havalina played in the “Coffeehouse,” or Cornerstone’s equivalent. They got on the stage at about midnight and played until almost 2 in the morning.

I’m not too familiar with their material, but it didn’t really matter. If you haven’t heard Havalina, they’re kind of like swing, jazz, cajun, spy, and blues music all rolled into one, plus some styles that I probably don’t know. Their set also included a few gospel numbers that lent the show a bit a revival-esque air. The final song was a funky, scat version of “Amazing Grace” that had the crowd roaring for more.

Morella’s Forest

These guys are so awesome in concert. Loud, noisy, and fuzzy, and oh so much fun. The drummer is hilarious to watch, especially when he starts striking glam-rock poses. They closed out their set with this huge display of noise and pseudo-techno, with the drummer making all of these wierd sounds from some electronic drumpads on his kit. And, like the last time I saw them, they managed to throw in “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!”

Saviour Machine

What can you say about Saviour Machine? This, for many people, was the highlight of the fest. I’m not really into Saviour Machine anymore, but I couldn’t miss one of their sets. They didn’t get onto the full stage ensemble, though Eric Clayton did wear his long black robe. They played mostly older material, which is what I know; songs like “The Wicked Window” and “Legion.” Unfortunately, power surges disrupted parts of the show.

The most memorable moment of Saviour Machine’s performance was during the song “America” when Clayton came out wrapped in an American flag and then proceeded to pass it to the audience. Some may think that it’s a little un-patriotic that Clayton did so, but in my mind, there was nothing more reverent than to see hands reaching up to hold the flag and pass it around the crowd, people reaching to brush Old Glory in almost worshipful, graceful gestures. The flag still has power.

Joy Electric

I may get flamed for this, but I skipped Saviour Machine’s evening performance of Legend to go see Joy Electric. Ronnie Martin is one of the few musicians that I look up to, simply for his unwavering dedication to making the music that he wants to make, not what people want to hear. Joy Electric only played 5 songs or so, but they were all goodies, especially a track off his upcoming album called “Monosynth.” It left me drooling for the new album.

Roadside Monument

I have a new favorite live band, and it is Roadside Monument. I had just bought their new album, Eight Hours Away From Being A Man and really wanted to see them live. When I found out they were opening for Stavesacre at midnight on Saturday, I made a beeline for the stage. They only played for 20 minutes, but what a great 20 minutes it was. They started out with a huge wall of feedback while Doug (the singer) read a somewhat deriding review from HM magazine. The band was so tight and powerful, especially during “Sperm-Ridden Burden.”

Starflyer 59

I wished I could have got into Starflyer’s set more, but they played on Sunday and I was so run down that I just couldn’t. And they even played an extra-long set. Gene Eugene sat up there on the organ (yes, they had an organ up there) and played on every song. Most of the stuff was off of Americana, but they played one song off of Gold and two off of Silver. They played a really mellow version of “The Hearttaker” and the versions of “You Think You’re Radical” and “Help Me When You’re Gone” were really wonderful.

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