cornerstone, music


Friday morning included the obligatory walk to the charging station to awake my comatose phone, call home, and eat a Giant Freezie. We watched David Crowder Band sound-check for the night’s show; there was no electronically-rigged Guitar Hero controller this year, but Crowder did have some kind of keypad attached to his guitar, and Steve the robotic drumset was back there on the stage as well. Yes, the unlikely crazy-haired-and-goateed worship leader was still blowing minds with Reason and creativity….

Photoside Cafe kicked things off at 12:45 for their first time playing Main Stage, where they really impressed me. I liked their violin-fronted calm-rock in a small tent last year (think early Jars of Clay…. kinda), but I got a little bored by the end of their set. This year, though, they owned the big stage a lot better than I was expecting as they had a lot of fun, settled into nice grooves, and really showcased the members’ talents, especially the violinist. Musically it was one of my favorite performances of the week.

We headed back to the Anchor for what was supposed to be a David Crowder interview, but due to some miscoordination and miscommunication we simply got the rest of a White Collar Sideshow interview, which ended up being pretty interesting. I’d seen pictures of these guys in their circus get-up on tours with other bands I liked, but I didn’t really know much about them. Turns out the group is not so much a “band” as it is a husband and wife with a heart for pornography addiction, and they use costumes, circus props, and eerie video clips in their show as they share the devastation of their personal experience with the power of hope and freedom. In the interview, we learned about their past, which included the wife’s feelings of inadequacy due to her husband’s addictions, the husband’s eventual victory, and the wife leaving the head of a multi-million dollar company so she and her husband could sell their house, car, and shoes to go on the road and do what God was calling them to do.

Through this she added to a theme that had been running through the festival for me all week. I was being introduced to organizations rising up to support musicians through donations, prayer, and so much more. Come & Live! lets bands give away their music for free while taking fan donations to support their recording and traveling, and RYFO allows fans to volunteer their homes to give touring musicians free beds, meals, showers, laundry, and more. In an age where so many people only care about the musical fulfillment that artists can give to them, here is a focus on giving back to the artists for the difference their music makes in our lives. It’s also an example of how everyone can play a part in making a difference in the world, even if you’re not on the frontlines. The wife in White Collar said something like, “If God tells you to sell your house, then do it…. But don’t all go sell your houses or we won’t have anywhere to stay when we travel!” Even if you can’t be a musician making a difference across the country – or a missionary making a difference across the world – maybe you can support them financially, or by praying for them. There is always something to give.

We finally got to see Timbre play at the Gallery. She was accepting donations to cover some frightful damage that her harp suffered from a knocked-over mic stand during that midnight Chariot show, though thankfully it was still playable! (And, yes, she received enough hundreds to fix the harp before the cracked soundboard got wet and permanently damaged or whatever. Wasn’t I just saying something about the beauty of generous Christians supporting the musicians they love?) I don’t think she played any songs from her first album, which surprised me but didn’t disappoint me since I love the new one so much more. Surrounded by friends on percussion, oboe, cello, and more, Timbre poured out her heart of joy with her voice and harp. They closed with “I Will Go Plant Little Flowers,” and I was smiling the entire time – I wanted to stand up, but I didn’t.

We rushed back to catch Deas Vail’s first time on Main Stage and, sadly, their only performance at Cornerstone this year. The open area makes the crowd look small, but they had a good number of onlookers as they played a lot of new songs and even some old ones for the fans. We talked to some of them as they autographed CDs for starstruck girls. I asked about the St. Louis show two days prior that we had to miss at Cornerstone (Andy said he looked for me but, alas, I wasn’t there.) They’re working on new material already and are excited about how things have come and where things are going. I’m excited for them too.

Emily and I (and Zach) went to check out Over the Rhine at the Gallery, but Emily saw a Flatfoot T-shirt and we made it back to the merch tent to see if they were still there. Tobin was, and Emily bought a hoodie as we chatted about the show, the album, and speculation on next year’s theme. Back at the campsite, we joined our friends playing a hilariously simple word association game with a deck of cards. John cooked the chicken patties for our last real Cornerstone dinner, and we headed back out.

We checked out Dignan at the Gallery (lo and behold, the ubiquitous Timbre was playing with them, too). They had a cool driving-grooving-soothing kind of sound (is that what people are calling post-rock nowadays?). We caught Rodent Emporium’s awesome final show at the Underground tent while we waited for the parents of the Children 18:3 siblings to set up their merch booth. Zach, Emily, and I bought CDs and T-shirts from Mr. Hostetter, who was cool to talk to. (He and his wife are the epitome of supportive homeschooling parents.) Children 18:3 wasn’t playing for a couple hours, though, so we walked around and caught pieces of the indie-hippy Seth Martin and the indie-synthy Paper Route before heading back to camp to rest a bit.

We came back to the Underground early enough to hug the front row before the tent filled up for Children 18:3 – and with enough time to visit the merch booth again so Emily could ask their mom how old they all were (I guessed right on David’s 25 but I had always thought Seth was younger than Lee Marie and just going along with his older siblings on the whole punk rock thing since they dress crazy and he doesn’t; but he’s 23 and she’s only 22. And furthermore, through following his Twitter account and watching YouTube interviews, I think Seth’s fully embraced the position of influence, desiring to encourage and change lives… he even included a Bible verse when he gave Zach an autograph.) Their new album came out during Cornerstone week, so we hadn’t heard much beyond the early single, but they introduced us to new songs like “Oh Bravo” as David and Lee Marie raced around the stage with their trademark enthusiasm while Seth tossed drumsticks between hits with his trademark energy. We sang along with the crowd to the songs we knew. They didn’t play until the fifth day of Cornerstone this year – but it was well worth the wait.

David Crowder Band was the closing band on Main Stage, and while it was fun jumping around and singing “No One Like You” and “I Saw The Light,” I never know how to approach the worship-performance hybrid aspect of Crowder’s shows, as he’s always stopping mid-song to make funny comments and ruining the whole “worship vibe.” They also had a really odd setlist, which included several new songs, of course, but also included several old songs from both Illuminate and A Collision while including no songs from the more recent Remedy. What? No “Can You Feel It” at this pseudo-worship dance party? What happened to the whole…. “Surely We Can Change” something and bring the “Remedy” of Christ’s love to an impoverished, sick, and fallen world…. thing? Ah well, I’m just being picky now.

Emily and I rested our tired feet watching Adrienne and Mr. Folklore dance to the indie-hippy Illalogical Spoon before checking out White Collar Sideshow’s midnight sideshow. The video screen trotted out a handful of possibly unbelievable statistics about pornography as the music-theater hybrid show got under way. It was kind of interesting and definitely gutsy, and there was a surprisingly large crowd (full of who knows how many silent victims), but we were tired and left before the whole “Kill The Pig” meme got going.

Only one day left…