Cornerstone 1998: Jason’s Diary, July 3

Today’s concerts included Joy Electric, MC Hammer, Soul-Junk, and Danielson.

Of all the days at the fest, July 3rd was the slowest. For me, nothing really happened until 3:00 that afternoon, when the 2nd annual Vegetarian Potluck occurred. And in keeping with tradition, it rained this year again. However, that didn’t diminish from how much fun I had.

I really enjoyed some of the discussions I got into, as well as getting to meet some more people. A great crowd turned out, and Joe, Juan, Daniel, and the whole Asylum crew were kept incredibly busy with everything. All in all, it was a great time and I look forward to attending many more.

The first band I was going to try and catch was Dear Ephesus, which for some odd reason, I thought played at 6:00. However, I much discovered, to my disappointment that they had started playing at 4:00. Vanya and I headed over to catch the show, and only saw the last 2 songs of their set, so I can’t really give you a good impression of them. After them, was a band called Appleseed Cast, which was a fairly decent emo band. Unfortunately, I seem to compare every emo band I hear to Roadside Monument, a hard standard for any band to match up to.

After waiting for several hours, it was time for yet another show that I was dying to catch. Out of all of the musicians that I know and love, Joy Electric is probably the one for whom I have the most respect, simply because Ronnie Martin (the genius behind JE) has consistently made the kind of music that he wants to make. About 10 or 15 of us donned white and filled our hair with glitter and headed down to catch the show.

To put it in one word, the show was wild.

I’ve always been impressed by Ronnie’s convictions concerning Christian music, and when he gave a little speech about holding the musicians accountable and striving to combat the mediocrity of Christian music (which is there by the ton), I was impressed even more. The music was fantastic, as usual, as Ronnie and Jeff Cloud played several cuts off of the latest album, Robot Rock. The crowd was going nuts, and I was dripping sweat from every pore.

After the JE show, the spectacle began. The ever-inventive Juan had donned a white robe, magic wand, and spherical hat made of paper cups for the JE show. After the JE show, we immediately headed down to catch the MC Hammer show. That’s right, MC Hammer. It seems that Hammer has turned over a new leaf, and is now a Christian artist. I’ll admit that I went to the show partly for the kitsch factor, simply to say that I had seen the guy. While we were waiting for Hammer’s bus to get there (it had gotten lost), Juan became the center of attention. It seems that Juan, in his outfit, was visible all over the entire main stage area.

Soon people from the other end of the stage were shining their lights at Juan, illuminating his white suit like somebody in a cheesy sci-fi flick. To be honest, this was better than the MC Hammer show. After a 50 minute wait, a little rain, and legs tired of sitting on an incline, we left.

MC Hammer’s first song was far too long, with same phrase repeated ad nauseum — “Raise the roof, let the walls fall down” — for what seemed like forever. I don’t want to bring down any judgment on the guy, but I’m just a little skeptical os his comeback, but I will give a brother the benefit of the doubt. I just pray that it doesn’t explode in his face.

We left the MC Hammer show in order to catch two of the most unique acts in Christian music, Soul-Junk and Danielson. Both bands play incredible skewed pop-music, a la Ween or Beck. Soul-Junk’s music, as wierd as it may be, consists of pure praise and worship. Towards the end of their set, they put down their instruments and began rapping, which was ironic considering the show we had just left. They even had people from the audience get up and start break-dancing.

It was then that I saw the most surreal sight of the fest. A man with a false leg got up, took off his prosthetic limb, and began dancing and waving the leg around in the air. My friends and I could only stare in amazement.

Danielson is one of the most overlooked bands in Christian music. They could be compared to Ween, but they are far deeper than that. Also interesting about Danielson is that nearly all of the band are related, brothers and sisters playing together in the spirit of bands like the Cowsills, only wierder and with much more depth. Early on, they had some difficulties with the power, but kept right on playing. Before the set, I was starting to get tired, but Danielson’s quirky music soon filled me with energy, and I experienced one of the most enjoyable and invigorating sets of the festival.

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