Listen to the Album Are You Weary by Kenny & Claire!
Listen to the Album Are You Weary by Kenny & Claire!


Photos by Josh Taylor

The Fold, Discover America, Slow Coming Day, David Crowder Band, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Lonely Hearts, The Chariot, Dead Poetic, Hawk Nelson, Project 86
6/30/05, Cornerstone Festival, Bushnell, Illinois

Anybody who has even considered attending Cornerstone knows that Thursday is Tooth & Nail Day. And such a happy day it is. I woke up around 10AM, got ready and went over to see Tooth & Nail newcomers The Fold play on Encore 2. I was still getting a grip on everything that was going on around me, so I was not fully into the show. However, The Fold played a good set. I later talked to their lead singer and bought an indie release of theirs.

There was a lot of wandering Thursday early afternoon trying to get a bearing on all that was going on. Perhaps it was just me, but it was all so overwhelming, in a good way, though.

The next show I caught was at 2:20. Two members of Slow Coming Day were playing an acoustic set. They played songs from Farewell to the Familiar and also a few new ones. All were exceptional, and were only made better by the acoustic stage presence of the band.

I saw Discover America next at 4PM. If you have not had a chance to check out Chris Staples' brilliant new band, please do yourself a favor and do so. Experimental pop/rock never sounded so great. The band played tracks from their debut Psychology with grace and style.

That evening, David Crowder Band kicked off the main stage events with a bang. In a genre of monotony, Crowder continues to keep things fresh. He played worship favorites from Can You Hear Us? and Illuminate. At the set's pique, the audience was unified in arm-and-arm lock as we danced and sang to our Savior.

Thousand Foot Krutch took the stage next with their electrifying presence. They mostly played tracks from Phenomenon. They were plagued with techinical issues for part of the set, but they were eventually resolved. Lead singer Trevor walked out onto the platform and sat with his feet dangling to let the crowd know what the festival was all about…that the music was great, and the friendships were awesome, but it all came back to Christ. The band then proceeded to play "This Is a Call." They also played "Absolute" and "Move" from the then-unreleased The Art of Breaking. And much to my joy, they announced they were gonna take us back to the old school days. And anyone that listened to TFK pre-Phenomenon knows that means only one thing…"Puppet." In what was, for me, the set highlight, the band took me back to the moment I decided I liked Christian rock.

Next on the main stage was Kutless, but honestly… I haven't liked a thing they've done since their debut. I used to listen to them all the time, but Sea of Faces was just too mellow for Kutless, as was Strong Tower. So I skipped their set and made the long trek to the Gallery stage to see The Lonely Hearts play. Steven, Justin, Jordan (my brother), and I missed the first part of the set due to the long walk, but once we got there, we enjoyed what we heard. The Lonely Hearts, formerly Holland, play laid back country-flavored rock. I'm no country music fan, but I simply love The Lonely Hearts. I strongly suggest checking out their EP.

Jordan and I have enjoyed the fury and fervor that is a The Chariot show in the past (I have on two occasions, and he on one). But our good friends Steven Turner and Justin Turner, they had not. And, really, I'm not that into hardcore music at all, but The Chariot's live show just blows me away. So we went over to catch the end of their set on the Encore 2 stage. Apparently they weren't playing the tightest set, as lead sing Josh Scogin was apologizing and guaranteeing a better set when they played Sunday night. Still, they sounded fine to me. They ended their set with "Before There Was Atlanta, There was Douglasville."

I had been waiting all day for what was next. Call me a poser, but I've been into Dead Poetic from the moment I put in New Medicines. But, hey, at least I actually went out and bought Four Wall Blackmail. Anyway, they took the stage, and their set consisted of all New Medicines songs, although they said they'd play older stuff at their show the next day (which, from what I heard from one irate fan, simply meant they just played "The Corporate Enthusiast"). A lot about a show depends on the loyalty of the fans, and Dead Poetic's fans were feeling very loyal that night. They sang along to every word. When you can hear the audience screaming the choruses over all of the blaring guitars and vocals, you know you're doing something right. And Dead Poetic was definitely doing it right. Their satisfying set ended with "Taste the Red Hands."

Steven and Justin had left before the set's end to head over to Encore 1 to see Hawk Nelson. I like them. Jordan's a pop/punk rock hater (File under: "Hardcore kid at heart") But there was no way we were leaving out spots, for the infamous Project 86 was set to play next. As with Dead Poetic, I had never seen Project 86 live. They came out and, much to my surprise, played very little from their latest album, Songs to Burn Your Bridges By. They played "Another Boredom Movement" and "Hollow Again" from Truthless Heroes, as well as others. As of late, my love for them has kind of dwindled, whereas they were at one point the only band you'd find in my CD player. But the set they put on was amazing.

Unfortunately, we had a dilemma. It was nearing 11 o'clock, and Emery was scheduled to play on Encore 1 at that time. However, I had heard faint whispers that Emery was stuck in California on the Warped Tour and could not get a flight to Cornerstone. So the options were - stick around and watch the Project set that had basically just started, or take our chances and head over to catch the end of Hawk Nelson, praying that Emery would make an appearance. Through the loudness, I relayed what I was thinking to Jordan. His love for Emery outweighed his hatred for Hawk Nelson, and we headed over to Encore 1.

Hawk Nelson played well past 11 o'clock…the first and most obvious sign that our dying hopes were already buried. They put on a good show. I gained a lot of respect for them. Obviously, they played tracks exclusively from their debut Letters to the President. I was surprised to see their guitarist actually scream a couple of times during the songs. It seemed a little out of place, but major points for effort! My favorite part of the set was looking over at Jordan every other minute and seeing his disgusted "We're missing Project 86 for this?" face. The icing on the cake was when their set had ended and it was announced that the band would be signing autographs in the main tent. I didn't know Jordan's eyes could roll that far back. But perhaps the most classic moment of all was as we were leaving the tent. A guy passing me said "So where's Emery playing?!" It never really was announced that Emery wasn't going to play, so I let him know what was going on. I swear to you, this twenty-something guy nearly started to cry. With the composure he had, he yelled "I just stood here and watched that for…NOTHING?!" Classic.

On to Friday...

-- Josh Taylor, 8/05


*all photos by Josh Taylor and are the property of

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