Our group got a little smaller today. Eric had to leave because he had gotten 2nd-degree burns on his feet. That’s why I always pack sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. As usual, I started off my day at the New Band Showcase, where I ran into Bre and Melissa, two girls from the Velvet Blue Music mailing list.
The first band up was Acceptance. I don’t get into that punchy melodic emo-pop a la The Juliana Theory, so I didn’t really get into their show too much.
Next up was Longitude. Their live show left a mixed impression. One song would be a great one, the next would be a little disappointing. I talked with them afterwards and they mentioned they had a lot of slower stuff, but didn’t play it because of the crowd. However, listening to their CD reveals that they’ve got that Luna/Sonic Youth vibe down pat.
The New Band stage was next to the Decapolis stage, so I headed over there and caught a group called DB Sonica. Led by a spunky female singer, they reminded me of a less glum, self-important Garbage. Unfortunately, they had problems with their backing music, because they couldn’t seem to find the right backing tracks.
Back on the New Band stage, Pistis was next, which was compared to Roadside Monument. Those are mighty big shoes to fill. I didn’t catch enough of their show to form a complete opinion, but I wasn’t too impressed with what I did hear. Still, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
I also caught a little bit of Kerith Ravine. Their guitar lines really reminded me of Smashing Pumpkins or early Starflyer 59, with heavy fuzzy guitar and spacey melodies.
Velour 100 and Pedro the Lion were both playing second sets at the Decapolis stage today. However, I knew that I had a very slim chance of catching them because the tent was packed. Velour 100 was playing an all-instrumental set of spacey, droney music. I caught bits of it, and it sounded nice. Later, reliable sources told me it was absolutely gorgeous.
I also caught the last two songs of Pedro The Lion, including a cover of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way.” I heard he also covered Radiohead and Mazzy Star, along with his normal repertoire of beautiful indie-pop. Believe me… I was kicking myself for not being there.
One thing I wanted to get more of this year was good, solid hardcore. I’d missed the Underoath and Narcissus shows, which I heard were just amazing. However, I caught the second Spitfire set, which was incredibly intense. Whatever else I may say about their music, these guys are incredible musicians, playing with time signatures like they were nothing.
We went back over the Decapolis stage, where Brandston was playing some incredibly generic emo-pop. I know they’re really popular and all, but I couldn’t get into these guys at all.
Back to the hardcore… next up was a group called Redeem. Now, I admit we were a little skeptical. And then we heard them, and it was like seeing the light. I’ve never heard hardcore this brutal. The band was seriously going AWOL. I’m surprised their bassist didn’t take off someone’s head with the way he was swinging his guitar. And the vocals… this guy had a powerful voice, but he also had a huge range. They were just amazing to behold, and incredibly passionate about their songs and beliefs.
After a little break and some fine dining, we headed over to the Underground stage to catch Further Seems Forever. I wanted to give them another chance. We caught the last song of Pax217, which sounded just like 311. Yawn. It was here that I made the biggest purchase of the fest; a Winger t-shirt for $10 (which I later traded to Grant for Ozzy and Guns N’ Roses shirts).
The sound guy was selling all of his old rock shirts, and there were some gems, including a Ratt shirt that was just beautiful. Anyways, back to the music. Further Seems Forever played another set of songs that had the kids singing along. Again, I found myself loving the singer’s vocals, but finding the music a little dull. I hate it when I feel like I’m missing out on something.
After Further Seems Forever, a band called The Operation played a couple songs. They were in much the same vein as Further Seems Forever, playing intense, emo-speckled rock. After The Operation, Bre and I hung out with a couple people (including one of the guys from Farquar Muckenfuss), which was a total blast.
Afterwards, we went to catch Over the Rhine. To be honest, I was glad when their set was done (they played a long set), because I was starting to fall asleep in that comfy chair that Bre loaned me. Over The Rhine shows are must-see events at Cornerstone. Their sets always sound impeccable and gorgeous. They even played some of their older material from Patience, which I loved because that’s the stuff I’m most familiar with.
After Over The Rhine, Bre and I said goodbye. She went to bed, and I went to the Dance Tent to meet up with Nolan and Tricia. We caught a little of the Prodigal Sons, who were leading the crowd in worship and dancing. Even when they ran into some technical difficulties, the crowd kept clapping the beat and singing hymns.
Yet another cool thing about Cornerstone… regardless of technical difficulties, God still gets to be praised somehow. I was somewhat bummed that I’d missed out on a late night screening of Princess Mononoke, but I was even more bummed that the last night of Cornerstone had come and we would all be saying our goodbyes soon.