So, health-wise, Cornerstone 2010 was probably my least favorite year. I entered the festival sick and I left the festival as sick or sicker. Not a fun way to spend a week. Musically, though, the year was pretty good. Friday was incredible with a solid set of musicians from early in the day right up to the midnight show. The opening day was better than last year’s set of disappointing new bands, though the generator stages were, as probably expected, a total roulette with frequent schedule changes and unknown bands playing. Even with doing some research before the festival, I still didn’t know who was playing half of the time.
The veteran bands were strong, Over the Rhine returned to the festival and made up for last year’s absence by giving us almost two full sets. The Lost Dogs brought out a touching tribute to Route 66. Some of the bands that I hoped would have incredible shows, Future of Forestry and Paper Route, delivered. The only disappointment I had was that there were not as many interesting new bands. Campbell The Band showed promise, but I really only saw three songs by them.
I do wish I had seen more worship-focused bands. David Crowder Band was on Main Stage, but at the same time as another show I wanted to see and I think I would’ve enjoyed The Glorious Unseen more if I hadn’t been feeling so sick at the time.
So, let’s narrow it down to my Top 5 shows: (in no particular order)
Paper Route– This was my number 1 most anticipated show coming into the festival and they hit it out of the park. The band drew energy off of the crowd and the crowd was totally into it.
Deas Vail – Successfully navigated the rocky waters of moving from the side stage to Main Stage. Played much of their newest album which contains their strongest material yet.
Future of Forestry – Only three members played about 20 instruments. The band brought energy on the last day with a wide variety of instruments with drums, keyboards, guitars, cellos, and even a harmonium
Eisley – Welcome back DuPree family! Please come back sooner than eight years to Cornerstone.
The Kicks – Good old fashioned four-piece rock and roll songs with girl’s names in the titles. Just a fun show that reminds me of 80’s rock.
The Next 5: These shows are in the second tier, in no particular order.
Over The Rhine – The new songs are still in development, but it was very cool of the band to share them with us. Can’t wait to see how they end up on the new album. Two full sets of material gave us plenty to enjoy.
Lost Dogs – Loved the new Old Angel material and Steve Hindalong thrilled the crowd with twirling a rope. Not as much old schtick as previous shows.
Seabird – Nice end to the festival. The new album might not be as strong as their previous album, but it’s still pretty good and the crowd was into it even though everyone was fatigued from the long week.
The Choir – It was a little rough, sure, with some underrehearsed moments, but it was great to see the band back after a five year absence and the new music was great.
Nitengale – Strange to see only the lead signer at the festival, with the rest of the band dismissed, but his voice is compelling and the new songs are great. Even just on guitar or keyboards, the songs were enough to make me see him twice.
Five Bands That You Will Hear About Soon:
These five bands are flush with potential. We’ll see if they return next year, but if they do, they are going to come back with higher expectations and bigger crowds.
Campbell The Band – They toured around the grounds, playing impromptu shows on drums, guitars, and pianos and it worked, drawing a big crowd to the New Band Stage. They only had three songs, and they sound totally different than the EP they sold, so we’ll have to see what the develop into.
Quiet Science – I expected this band to turn the corner this year, but they still have some untapped potential. The promotion with the “protestors” and costumes was genius and I think it drew bigger crowds. The first Jesus Village show was a little rough, but they hit on all cylinders on the Impact Stage. They are still on the way up.
House of Heroes – For some reason I didn’t expect to like this band, but they rocked it out. The new material has a little bit of Muse influence and I may have to check out some more from this band.
News From Verona – This band is strongly influenced from bands like New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday and the kids loved it. Fun teenage rock.
The Rendition – Nice piano rock with female lead vocals. I’d like to see this band again with a year of experience.
So there you go, Cornerstone 2010 is in the books! I hope I can go again next year, but just like every year, you never know. At the very least, I’m hoping next year I won’t be ill the entire week.