On Day 2, everyone was still dragging a little bit. It’s a lot tougher adjustment to “Cornerstone hours” from the real world when you’re in your 30’s. Poor Becky took some “non-drowsy” cough medicine to combat the dust at Cornerstone and was in a zombie-like state for most of the day. She did not, however, do a tribute to MJ and break into the Thriller dance.
I didn’t do a very good job of taking notes this day, so this might require a little digging into my brain to remember what went on. The day started off with the band Army of Me on the Indoor Stage. Only the lead singer could make the festival and so he made the drive from Washington DC in his car with his acoustic guitar and arrived shortly before his show. His set was pretty good though and I would be interested to hear how he sounds with a full band behind him. Next on the schedule was 77’s frontman Mike Roe at the Gallery Stage. Roe also played on acoustic guitar, but has many more years of technical experience and it shows in his deft playing. Roe played a couple songs from the latest 77’s album which features many old gospel tunes and he’s digging deeper into the stash to record some more old gospel songs on a solo album. He entertained us with a story about the song “Jonah and the Village” which was so theologically incorrect but entertaining that he couldn’t resist recording it. The audience gave Roe standing ovations when he started and when he ended appreciating his status as a long-standing veteran of the festival.
I saw Deas Vail for the second time during the week. The show earlier in the week at the Indie Community Stage may have had a more energetic crowd, but this was probably a better performance by the band. It’s too bad the two couldn’t be combined together, but nonetheless I really like this band. They sound different than anything else out there and they are getting better stage presence with every show they do. I’m hoping they continue to get bigger and bigger.
Jeff Elbel’s drummer, Andrew Oliver, played a solo set over the Jesus Village stage that re-told the story of The Prodigal Son. Following him, Jeff Elbel + Ping took the stage for a looser set with more covers. While the set the day before on the Gallery stage was probably more technically proficient, today’s show was probably more fun. The band started off with Badfinger’s “No Matter What” and just kept cranking along. The lineup was mixed up a little bit with Maron on vocals, who sounded great, and Harry Gore on electric guitar, who is something of a fixture at Cornerstone as he performs solo on electric guitar in the food court every day (almost every time I walk by he’s playing “All Along the Watchtower.”)
I take a flier on a band called The Rocketboys on the Indie Community Stage. The lead singer hurled ten times(!) into the port-a-potties the day before, but he was a professional and sang fantastic for the show. I really enjoyed their show and I’ll have to check out their CD. This is the fun part of Cornerstone, discovering new bands.
I was initially a little skeptical about going to see Rodent Emporium, a band that everyone gushed about last year, fearing that I wouldn’t get it. It’s bizzarre to say the least, Scottish punk music about nonsensical stuff like snakes, radiation, being a man, etc., but one thing for sure is that it’s lots of fun as it had the crowd there in a frenzy. Probably not my favorite kind of music, but I have to admit I had a lot of fun watching the spectacle.
I had seen Astellaway on a generator stage earlier in the week and was curious enough to check them out again. They have a sound not all the different from a band like Paramore. They had a whole lot of energy and I wish more people would’ve have been there to see them as they do have potential. Jerry joked that they were “stalking” us during the week as the band members kept turning up in the crowds at the same shows as us. I just chalked it up to the fact they have good taste in music.
The Record Kid played next on the Indie Community Stage and they were fun, melodic, and entertaining. They were a new band, but they definitely had the sound of a band that had toured more and had more experience than some of the bands I saw earlier in the week. Since they are from here in the Atlanta area, maybe I’ll get a chance to catch them again at some point.
Only at Cornerstone do you have to make the choice between seeing one of the most popular bands at the festival, Flatfoot 56, and one of the most legendary bands at the festival, Stavesacre, which is playing only a couple hundred of yards away. I did my best to try and catch a little of both.
I stopped in quickly at the After Hours Dance Barn to visit with my friend David who is one of the folks keeping things running there. The place was jumping and kids were dancing. Everybody looked like they were having a lot of fun. It must be a party if Link from Zelda is on the dance floor getting his groove on.
Flatfoot 56 had the Underground Stage decorated as a Mexican village and took the stage dressed in sombreros for a “Fiesta Night.” The crowd, which had arrived early and anxiously waited during a long soundcheck whirled into motion as soon the band began. The effect was a chaotic, but somehow orderly mass of kids that wheeled around the tent in a giant circle pit as bagpipes, guitars, and mandolin played from the stage. It’s really quite a visual that I don’t think I can describe accurately. I’m sure there were more flags, but I saw two flags for Scotland, an American flag, and a flag for the City of Chicago making its way around the crowd (and of course, a lawn ormanent Santa Claus making his rounds also.) I was totally surprised the tent was still standing the next, though I did hear stories about the tent poles swaying and bending during show… scary.
I managed to catch a couple of songs and then quickly made my way over to the Encore tent where Stavesacre had returned to the festival. I believe this is their first trip back to the festival in about five years. The crowd was composed of fans who all had fond memories of their shows in years past here at Cornerstone. The band, aware of the crowd’s sentimentalism, played mostly a set of old favorites, plus a couple new songs off of their EP. Many of the songs had special meaning to different people in the crowd and got strong reactions when they started them. It was a different, less rowdy kind of crowd (all of the excitable kids were at Flatfoot 56 or The Chariot, I guess), but still a very appreciative kind of crowd. Mark Solomon returns tonight with another one of his memorable bands, The Crucified. Maybe some of those kids at the Flatfoot 56 show will stop by and see where their roots come from.