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Photos by Josh Taylor

Mourning September, Number One Gun, subseven, Anberlin, Relient K, Switchfoot
7/2/05, Cornerstone Festival, Bushnell, Illinois

Saturday was the Turner's last day at Cornerstone, as some of them had to be back in Tennessee for camp the following day. That was fine by most of them since the reason they had come was playing that night. Yes, the second best thing Christian music has going for it right now was going to grace main stage that night in the form of Relient K. And directly there after, the best thing would play a set in the form of Switchfoot.

But that was light years away when faced with the mind-numbing reality that Number One Gun was playing at 3:05PM. Everything kind of seemed superfluous when I thought about it in that context. Again, if you even just know me as an acquaintance, you know of my love for Number One Gun. This would be my forth time seeing the boys from Chico, California, and I was very excited.

But before they were to grace the Indoor Stage, Mourning September got their time to shine. I had not seen them live before, and I was eager to see what kind of set they would put on. They are one of those ridiculously good bands that you just know will never really see the light of day. You can't exactly explain why, you just know they'll never really break out. Still, they seemed to have quite a following with the people gathered for Cornerstone. They exclusively played songs from their Floodgate Records debut A Man Can Change His Stars. If you have not heard it, or simply have not heard of these guys, I strongly suggest giving them a good listen.

As the crowds dispersed after Mourning September's set, I made my way to the front with my brother Jordan, and our friend Justin Turner. Soon there after, Number One Gun began their set. If you have ever been to a Number One Gun show, you understand the energy and excitement that exists as the four guys play. I wasn't really much of a fan until I saw them play at the beginning of last year for the first time. After the fact, I fell head over heels. They played a good number of songs from their debut Celebrate Mistakes, including "On and On," "You Fail Sometimes," "Celebrate Mistakes," and "The Last Time." They also played a few from there then-unreleased sophomore effort Promises for the Imperfect, such as "We Are," "Pretend," "Regrets of Photographs," and "Fireside Wing." They ended their set with the fan-favorite "The Starting Line," which had hundred of people chanting "I just wanted to get this started," by song's end.

After their set ended, I made my way to the Decapolis Showcase to see subseven play. They had already begun once I arrived. What I really like about them is their up front-ness about Jesus. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that that message dripped into their live performance. At one point, the band actually stopped for an intimate time of worship. Wow. They also played songs from their EP, as well as Free to Conquer. The highlight was probably the carnage that ensued after they had begun playing "Game of Love." Oh, how the dust flew as the crazed fans ran, and pushed, and shoved, and did lots of other things.

After that set ended, I went to make a phone call. As I implied earlier, it all had to be pre-meditated. I couldn't just be like "Oh, I think I'll go make a phone call now." No, I had to plan at the beginning of the day when I could take approximately thirty minutes to walk all the way to the front of Cornerstone, make phone calls of varying lengths, and then make the trek back (it was actually much longer than thirty minutes, but that's the approximation I'm sticking with). I found that if I sat on the edge of this truck, I got nice reception. Unfortunately, the guy who owned the truck eventually needed to get in, so I went and stood by some wood, and it was back to the old "If I even THINK about turning my head a millimeter, I will lose reception." Ah…how I don't miss that.

My conversation with my dear friend Emily actually made me late for Roper. Fortunately, once I finally made it back to the tent, I found I wasn't the only one running late. The set did not begin for another five minutes. Seeing Roper always gives me a sense of grief and remorse, because I never did see Five Iron Frenzy play live. I started listening to them the same year they broke up, and a serious injury caused me to miss their show at RCKTWN. Still, it was nice to see Roper play for a second time. Lead man Reese Roper kept things light and goofy as the band played songs from their debut Brace Yourself for the Mediocre. I was a bit disappointed when they didn't play a classic Five Iron Frenzy track, as they did the last time I saw them. However, I can understand wanting to move forward and not dwell in the past or…whatever.

I went back to our campsite and ate some dinner after Roper. The main stage was starting before too long. Anberlin, then Relient K, and then Switchfoot. Now there's a lineup. We all tried to get down there early to get spots to stand up front, but there was a bit of a crowd already gathered by the time we got there.

You'll learn quick that it doesn't take much to get Cornerstoners crazy. That was why I knew where we were standing was not safe. However, against my better judgement, I stayed. Anberlin eventually took the stage and the crowd was immediately told to get crazy. Suddenly you are shoving for dear life. You don't really know how it happened, all you know is that if you don't keep shoving against this big guy next to you, he's gonna fall on top of you. And that's really all that matters. Except to me, it wasn't. I had my fifteen-year old sister Amy and thirteen-year old brother Jordan with me. On my own, the mosh would not have bothered me so much, but my dear siblings, less accustomed to this kind of thing than myself, made it somewhat of an annoyance. I immediately grabbed Jordan through the carnage and told him we'd be out shortly. But as for Amy, she kind of disappeared into a sea of dusty bodies. It was actually kind of scary. Luckily, she reappeared soon. We decided to go sit on the hill soon afterwards.

Anberlin played songs from Blueprints for the Black Market and their newer Never Take Friendship Personal, however, moreso from the latter. They played a good set, but I must admit to liking them much more the last time I saw them. It really was not even the band's fault, it just had to do with the ever-present fact that I enjoyed the main stage shows a lot less than I did the smaller stages.

Next up was the mighty Relient K. They played a near identical set compared to the one they played at the Aaron Marrs' Benefit Show in March, starting out with "The One I'm Waiting For" and ending with "I So Hate Consequences." In between, they played tracks from mmhmm and Two Lefts Don't Make a Right…But Three Do. Unlike the Aaron Marrs' show, they also played "Sadie Hawkins' Dance" and "Mood Rings," and a couple of others. It was my fourth time seeing the band, and I can say with perfect ease that they're one of the better live shows you'll see. Put aside your hatred for thirteen-year-old girls singing every word, put aside your possible hatred for what you consider to be Relient K "selling out"…these guys are amazing and only seem to get better with time.

Finally, Switchfoot took the stage. Sure, the radio is eating them alive, but there's no denying that the best thing Christian music has going for it is a little band from San Diego that exploded so hugely, no one could have predicted its impact. They played songs almost exclusively from their 2003 release The Beautiful Letdown, including "Meant to Live," "Dare You To Move," "Adding to the Noise," "More than Fine," "Ammunition," among others. They also played a couple of new tracks from the soon-to-be-released Nothing Is Sound, including the new radio hit "Stars." They ended with a bang on "Gone" and then said goodnight.

On to Sunday...

-- Josh Taylor, 8/05


*all photos by Josh Taylor and are the property of

Cornerstone 2005 Review: MAIN | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday


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