Welcome Home, Cornerstone!

When people talk about Cornerstone, whether on Facebook or in blog posts or Flickr captions, a recurring theme is that coming here feels like coming home, whether it’s your first year or your fourteenth.  I haven’t even made it to the actual festival grounds yet, but being here still feels like a sort of homecoming.

This year’s drive up from Atlanta was long and gloomy, and things just felt kind of off-kilter.  Inconvenient “real life” things like hassles at work meant that things got off to a bit of a tired, underprepared, “I really hope I didn’t forget anything” sort of start.  The traditional lunch destination for my friends and I, a mall outside of Nashville, had apparently fallen prey to a Zombie Apocalypse, so we had to deviate from tradition and find food elsewhere.  Strange things were afoot at the Stuckey’s– they were SOLD OUT of Goo-Goo Clusters!  That’s like McDonald’s selling out of fries – it’s just not supposed to happen.

But eventually the clouds broke and the sun came out, and as we drove on into the Illinois corn fields between Springfield and Macomb, we burned through a great iPod playlist from artists ranging from The Choir to Pristina, from The Kicks to Over the Rhine, from the Juliana Theory to King’s X.  By the time we reached the “550 Friendly People [‘and Bob’ – an in-joke that goes back about 12 or 13 years]” sign welcoming us to the great town of Industry, “real life” was far behind us and everything felt right with the world.  (Well, mostly – our WIU dorm can best be described with words like “dank” and “moist,” which isn’t exactly what you might hope for, but what do you expect for $40 a night?)

Thompson Hall, room 704

So now I’m awake at a ridiculously early hour, and can’t wait to get to the fest to see all my old friends and meet some new ones, check out some new bands on this “pre-fest” day, and settle in for a fun week.  I’m even hearing rumors of an unscheduled bonus show by a legenDAry Jesus Music band on the Gallery tonight at 10:00 that I really hope comes true…

So welcome home, Cornerstone.  Whether you’re here for the hardcore music or the lemon shake-ups, have a great week.  If you’ve got any good stories to tell about your drive to the fest or anything else, leave a comment on the blog.  And if you’re in the dorms in WIU, come by room 704 and say hi!

The dots are converging on Bushnell

If you could track it by GPS, you’d see it. From north, south, east, east overseas, just around the corner, and all points in between, people are making their way to one of my favorite places on earth: a farm outside of Bushnell, Ill. For the next week, this small “City of Industry” becomes the “City outside Cornerstone.”

Me, I’m waking up in a hotel somewhere near Dallas, unlikely to actually set foot on the grounds for any of the opening bands at the fest later today. Instead, my day will be filled road trip fun: laughing at the same old jokes, stopping at the same favorite spots, and hoping to not have a single Clark Griswold moment.

Enjoy your drive, everyone. And, as much as I want to support the local economy, let’s not do it via speeding tickets!

Wrap It Up

Well, Cornerstone 2010 is in the books, and I’ve had over a week to ease back into the real world and process everything that I saw and heard during my favorite week of the year.  I wanted to leave a few (OK, a lot – brevity is not my strong point) parting words as we head into the long Cornerstone “off-season.”

Let’s start with the weather – it really couldn’t have been much better, could it?  It wasn’t too hot during the day, it was pleasantly cool at night (of course, I was in the dorm so I didn’t have to sleep in it…), it wasn’t humid, and it didn’t rain.  The only thing that’s possibly worth complaining about was that it was dusty, but the fest folks did a great job of keeping the roads watered to keep the dust down, and the dust we did have just made for some fun graffiti on car windows.

Smiling hot dog graffiti on a car window

The topic that was seemingly on everybody’s mind going into the festival was the effect that the changes to the fest layout (notably the relocation of Main Stage, and some other changes that followed on from that) would have on the “feel” of the festival.  If you’ve been following the fest blog, you know that I was a bit worried about the changes going in, but in the end, I’m happy to say that I didn’t really mind them all that much.

  • Main Stage looked pretty cool in its new location (especially with the two big video screens flanking the stage this year).  From most places on the grounds, you could see it looming in the distance (especially at night) – at one point, I was on the far side of the Gallery, and if you bent down a bit, you got a clear view of the stage and the video screens off in the distance, and it looked pretty impressive.  We didn’t get one of the truly glorious sunsets that you sometimes see at Cornerstone this year, but if we had, it would have made an epic backdrop for the stage.
  • The new location meant that it was less of a commitment to sample shows on Main Stage.  That’s a good thing, although I think I actually spent less time at the evening Main Stage shows than I usually do.  My Main Stage attendance tends to vary year to year based on who’s playing, and this year, the only full set I saw was Switchfoot, but I was able to get a taste of some other things I might not have seen otherwise, like the Almost, Toby Mac, Phil Joel, and The Devil Wears Prada.  Being able to sample Main Stage bands and then go to other shows is pretty cool.
  • With bands playing Main Stage during the day (a new thing for Cornerstone), it did occur to me that if the weather had been hotter, sitting out in the midday sun to watch bands might have been a problem.  Thankfully, none of the bands I saw on Main Stage in the afternoons got swallowed up by the giant stage, although some of them would have been as good or better playing Gallery or Encore sets where the crowd was a bit more packed in and the band was a bit closer to the fans.
  • The Gallery actually didn’t feel much different in its new location when you were inside the tent.  It was a bit less convenient to hike back over to the food court for a quick dinner between sets, but otherwise, the Gallery move was barely noticeable.  One thing I did miss, though, was having the Gallery and other covered stages near the food court to provide a centralized, shady place to hang out during the day.  A covered place to sit and eat would be a nice thing to add if Main Stage stays on the midway next year.
  • I didn’t see many bands on the Encore Stage this year, but it seems like that stage got demoted a little this year.  The fact that there weren’t that many bands on Encore that I wanted to see this year (several that would have played Encore were on Main Stage instead) might be coloring my perception.
  • The new layout for the generator stages worked about as well as it could.  The schedules were kind of mixed up on all the stages, and adjacent stages stomped on each other’s sound occasionally, but overall, the quality of the generator stage experience was much higher this year.  I would like to see all the generator stage schedules posted (and updated) in a location closer to the rest of the grounds so I didn’t have to go all the way out to the stages to find out that the band I wanted to see wasn’t playing after all.

 So, how was your Cornerstone experience this year?  Have you gotten all the dust out of your shoes and off your car?  Are you working through your post-fest depression?  I think I’ve got one more blog post in me – I’ve got to talk about the bands that rocked my face this year, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, if you need EVEN MORE photos of the festival, go check out my Flickr Cornerstone set.

JRjr

Watching us grow up

As I blogged about earlier, coming home from Cornerstone is always hard for me. There’s something wonderful about that little piece of farmland that makes it feel like a little glimpse of heaven. Now that I’m home, if I had to pick a theme to summarize this year at Cornerstone, it would be watching the festival continue to grow up.

Bands growing up

Seabird's Aaron Morgan, and his daughter. Photo by Steve White for www.cornerstonefestival.com

This was my fourth year to see Seabird play Cornerstone, and their sound has matured each year. These guys have been coming to Cornerstone for years, even before they became a band. Seeing lead singer Aaron Morgan bring up his adorable little girl, “to see Daddy make music” was a beautiful moment for this band that I hope to see in an evening show at the festival every year from here on out (and which I will be seeing in my home town of Austin, TX tonight!).

Another growing-up moment was found in Don’t Wake Aislin, a band that’s also been around Cornerstone for several years. This year, in addition to the well-executed generator stage shows, they put on a fun show at the Label Showcase. These guys & one girl seem to know a thing or two about how to get people into their music, with creative ideas like using fortune cookies to promote their shows and being friendly with fans on twitter and other social media.

Eisley, a band that returned after an 8-year hiatus, also ranks in my list of growing-up moments. I sincerely hope their label & CD release issues get worked out soon, since I’d love to see more new material from this very talented family! I think this show marks a good growing-up moment, not just for the band to return, but for the Millennial generation (the generation after X) to be more represented in major evening slots at the festival.

The festival itself

Two weeks ago, I would have predicted that the Main Stage move would be the talk of the fest, but it really wasn’t. Everybody ran with the changes, which I think demonstrate how Cornerstone is growing up again, in ways that will help keep the fest viable for the long-haul.

I see the festival growing to accommodate the democratization of music. So many bands aren’t label-dependent anymore (and may hardly associate with the “Christian Music Industry” whatever that is these days). And, they’re not all just coming to Cornerstone as one stop on the festival circuit. So, I see Cornerstone growing to have places for these bands to play (with all the improvements to the generator stage area, changes to encore tents, etc.)

I also see the festival growing to accommodate how we, as listeners, enjoy music. The first major map change since the festival moved to the Cornerstone Farm reflects how I see most people enjoying the fest these days. Attendees aren’t just plopping down at one tent and staying there all day; we’re wandering from show to show, catching moments of one band and moments of another. The revised map makes that a whole lot easier. It also greatly helped sound-bleed issues, so soft sweet music (like at the Chelsea Cafe) wasn’t overrun by equally-passionate musicians singing hardcore.

The festival is continuing to grow to be a place for the American church of tomorrow. The Youth Leader Oasis and seminar & Imaginarium topics are excellent ways to swap stories and encounter the big ideas about what’s next in the American church. I’m excited to see how the fest will continue to tackle those big ideas.

And… the personal side

Cornerstone 20ten was another year filled with amazing friendships. I drive to Cornerstone with just my husband (who I actually met at the festival in 1998 – here’s a photo of us from this year’s coverage) and we spend the week with friends from all over. It’s always good to see each other face-to-face (normally we only interact online) and see what has changed. I sit by my sister-in-law at most evening shows and get to know her better. I talk to my friend Heather who works with JPUSA’s shelter and get inspired for community & causes (and quilting!). I laugh with friends and re-remember that I’m not alone. Cornerstone is a moment to mark how thankful I am that God put all of us in a place to grow as individuals and grow together through Cornerstone.

I love how Cornerstone is becoming this kind of community for even more people – it’s not just us internet geeks who find lasting friends there: it seems to be happening for the next generations, too.

I’m happy to have been part of Cornerstone 20ten and look forward to seeing all of us continue to grow up next year.

Day 4 – The Final Countdown

Well, I’m back at home in suburban Atlanta (with a post-fest day off for the first time I can remember, thankfully – the first day back is always rough), and like most of my fellow bloggers, some post-fest wrapup posts are forthcoming, but I wanted to go through the final day of the fest for the sake of completeness.

Unfortunately, the Godfathers Pizza in Macomb has closed.  It’s a bit of a tradition among my circle of friends to hit up the pizza buffet at least one day of the trip, so without it, we were left a bit adrift, trying to fill a Godfathers-shaped hole.  There’s probably a tortured metaphor to be had there, but I’m not the guy to write it, so everybody fill in your own.  Anyway, we ended up at Jimmy John’s, which was probably marginally more healthy and significantly less satisfying.

Several of the bands I wanted to watch on Saturday were daytime Main Stage bands, which points out one deficiency in the new Main Stage location – it’s hot and sunny in the daytime, and there’s almost no shade to be had around Main Stage.  People were crowding into the wake of the sound tower and under the spotlight platform to get out of the sun, and this was a very mild weather year.  When another of those 100+ degree days hits in the future, I don’t think you’ll find me watching any bands at Main Stage.

The first band I saw was the Glorious Unseen (who gave us a very “Cornerstone” moment – a guitarist playing worship music in an Anthrax t-shirt – just a funny visual).  They were good, but by that point, my attention span for unfamiliar stuff was pretty short, so I didn’t get as much out of it as I might have.  After a brief diversion to see Tonight Tonight on the Encore stage (a set marred by sound problems and a struggling vocalist early, but both got better by the end), it was back to Main Stage to see House of Heroes (better than I remembered, and good fun to watch) and All the Day Holiday (not very well suited for Main Stage – they’d have gone down better on Gallery or Encore – but they did a good set, nonetheless).

My friends and I headed out to the generator stages to try to catch some hip hop acts, but as is the generator stage custom, the schedule was completely destroyed, and none of the acts we wanted to see were actually there.  Instead, we caught another set from Oh! The Humanity! (a synthpop-and-guitar duo that I saw earlier in the week).  They had a better crowd this time, people that were actually up and dancing, and they seemed to feed off the energy and put on a very good show.  They were one of very few new bands that I saw and enjoyed this year.

I hitched a golf cart ride down to the old Main Stage bowl area, just to see what it looks like.  It looks kind of sad without a stage down there – it’s all grown up with weeds and  a JPUSA vegetable garden, and the buildings (the t-shirt shed and what I assume is the artist hospitality trailer) look pretty decrepit.  I’ve heard that the artist hospitality area (now located in the former dance barn building, a bigger, better space) was improved this year, so I imagine that was one change that the bands playing on Main Stage appreciated.  Still, it was kind of sad to see the old place in that condition.

Running low on energy, I parked myself at the Gallery for the rest of the night.  The first band I saw was O’Brother, playing music that’s dramatic but hard to really find a hook into (stuff my friends and I have dubbed “projector band” music, after bands like Ester Drang that used to play similarly hookless music).  I didn’t mind them, but I don’t particularly get the style – I tend to like stuff you can dance to or sing along with.  I’d love to hear a fan of that style describe to me what they hear in it, though – I’m genuinely curious.

Future of Forestry were next.  I was marvelling at how full their sound was with only three people in the band (they were multitasking, but still…), and the singer mentioned that they normally play with 5 or 6 people on the stage.  I was quite taken with their set, enough to spend most of the rest of my cash on their three Travel EPs.  I kind of get the feeling that their music is the sort of stuff that I’ll find less interesting on my iPod in the car than I did live, but their live set was good enough to convince me to take a shot on it.

I was looking forward to seeing Ivoryline, who I’d missed a couple of times in years past.  They’re a little heavy for some of the Gallery crowd, but I don’t mind seeing rock bands.  I didn’t love their set, though – it was a little rawer than the studio stuff I’d heard before.  It’s also possible that I was just tired enough that I wasn’t going to particularly enjoy anything at that point.

The final band of 2010 for me was Seabird.  I really like Seabird, though I kind of overdosed myself on their music after the 2008 fest and haven’t really fully recovered.  They sounded great, though, and were a nice fit at the Gallery, with a very respectable crowd (many of whom were probably there to avoid The Devil Wears Prada on Main Stage, but you play the hand you’re dealt).  They probably won over some new fans.

Aaron Morgan of Seabird

Speaking of Seabird fans, though, there was one small irritation.  Last year, my friend and fellow Blogger Becky wrote about a group of kids that were “living the dream” at the Seabird show, standing down front to see their favorite band.  That bunch was back again this year, but it really wasn’t quite as cute this time around.  The Gallery tends to be a sitdown sort of venue (with rare exceptions – I was part of the bunch standing up for Paper Route this year, for example), which inevitably leads to come conflict when “younger” bands play the stage (hence the dueling cries of “stand up!” and “sit down!” during Eisley – I was in the front row, so I merrily stayed in my seat and enjoyed the show).  I understand the appeal of standing up, but I also understand the appeal of sitting down, and my general philosophy on the matter is to either follow what the majority are doing, or find a spot where I can do whatever I want without bothering anybody else.  It’s all about empathy and consideration for your fellow concert-goers.  So when you’re the only people standing in front of a stage that’s about 18″ tall, with a few hundred people sitting behind you to watch the show, that’s kind of a jerk move.  (To be fair, a few people eventually joined the standing crowd- mostly kids that were sitting directly behind the standers and couldn’t see anything otherwise, plus photographers.)  When 2 or 3 people ask you (not yell at you, but come up and ask you personally) if you’d please sit down or move so people can see, and you continue to stand, that’s kind of a jerk move.  And if you’re just going to stand there and not dance or jump around, there’s really no reason TO stand other than to stand for the sake of standing.  It kind of does a disservice to the band, too – people that can’t see the band are more likely to just say “forget it” and leave, or get ticked off about the situation and not really be in the right frame of mind for the  show.  So I guess what I’m saying is “don’t be a jerk” and “have some empathy with other people.”  Next year, I’m throwing bottles. :-)

So that’s it for Cornerstone 2010 for me.  I’ll take a bit of time to digest everything I experienced and put it all together into some wrapup posts in the next few days, so keep reading!

JRjr

Back from Bushnell…

As I sit here writing this from my house in Arkansas, I can’t help but feel a little “Cornersick” for the festival that means so much to me. True,  I just left about 12 hours ago, but the desire to go back has been overwhelming at times.The weather could not have been better, and the overall atmosphere at the festival this year was one of the best I can remember.

Each day of the fest started for me with Catholic Mass at the Imaginarium. I am not Catholic, but have an interest in liturgical, ancient forms of prayer and worship. This was ideal for me as Father Tom Holloway from the Bushnell Catholic church taught us throughout the services what each action and prayer meant. Contemporary liturgical music led by Sal Solo was great as well and led us each morning to the throne of God. While I couldn’t participate in communion in the Mass being United Methodist, I did go down each day for a blessing from Father Tom; I figure I can use as many blessings as I can get. It was also good to see the small, but dedicated group of Catholic Christians who attend Cornerstone.

On the music front, my favorite shows were Paper Route (see my other blog specifically about them), Switchfoot, All The Day Holiday, and Over The Rhine. I didn’t see as much music this year; I focused on quality rather than quantity.

I spent most of my nights at Movie Zombies, a new program this year for fans of the horror and action genres. Each night we watched movies together and discussed how these applied to our faith. Some of the titles were controversial to say the least, but it is refreshing to see a group of people who aren’t afraid to confront and talk about the darkness and evil in the world. As an urban legend fan, I really enjoyed the night we discussed the “satanic panic” rumors of the 1980s and the part the church had in spreading those rumors. My favorite movie had to be Fido, a heartwarming zombie movie set in the 1950s. (It really was heartwarming; If you don’t believe me, get it on dvd from Netflix and watch it.)

Ending out the festival, I caught the last two songs of Grave Robber’s Underground Stage set. If you don’t know these guys, they are a thrash/punk type of band who wear skeleton masks and use some kind of voice changer thing. It had to be the scariest thing I have ever seen. I know about the spiritual reasons behind the masks they wear (dying to sin), but just don’t know if I fully get it. Part of this has to be related to the way I initially discovered them. Last year I went to bed early one night and about one in the morning got up to walk to the porta pottie. In my half awake stupor, I stumbled past the Sanctuary tent and saw Grave Robber performing. I honestly thought I was having a nightmare it was so scary looking, and since I was half asleep, my brain wasn’t exactly able to fully process what I was seeing. The kids at the show seemed to be having a good time, probably one of the most outspoken  bands for Christ at the festival as well, if you can get used to the creepy voice the guy talks in.

Overall, I saw some great music, heard some wonderful teaching, engaged in some heartfelt and passionate discussion with other movie fans, ate a lot of greasy food, and had the greatest week of my year. See you in 358 days…

Quick Saturday Summary

Saturday is over and Cornerstone 20ten is in the books! If you are like me, you are packing up and heading home. Drive safely! The last day of Cornerstone Festival had plenty for everyone. I saw The Glorious Unseen, House of Heroes, All The Day Holiday, Oh! The Humanity, Future of Forestry, Ivoryline, and Seabird. Not a bad way to finish up the week.

We’ll all be posting our summaries and thoughts about the whole week in the next few days. My battery is about to die and the car is about to be cranked, so it’s time for me to go. Until then, check out my pictures of Cornerstone 2010 on Flickr. See you on the flip side.

Friday night… wow!

It’s hard to imagine a better night than we had Friday at Cornerstone, after an already solid day. I enjoyed bands like Deas Vail, Quiet Science and Campbell the Band, but an evening at the Gallery took it to another level. Paper Route was awesome! It’s a band I’d heard about, but hadn’t actually heard. Now I can’t wait to buy their CDs and listen again and again. I knew they were a special band when I looked around and saw the guy next to me grooving out, only to realize it was David Crowder himself checking out this band.

Next up was Eisley, a band that hasn’t been here since 2002. Please don’t wait until 2018 to come back! Eisley, you need to be here every year! I’ve seen these guys (er, gals) a couple of times, but this was the best I’ve heard them sound.

All of which led up to the highlight of the evening. Over the Rhine owns that midnight slot on Friday at the Gallery. I can’t imagine seeing any other band there. As one of my friends said last night, everything left at Cornerstone is the denouement, the wrap-up after reaching the climax of the event.

What about the music?

Movies, church services, goth parties- have you seen any music yet?

Yes. Music is alive and well at Cornerstone. Here is a breakdown of what I have seen so far:

Tug Fork River Band- Southern metal at the Sancrosanct Records Stage- These guys are very talented, but it wasn’t my thing so I didn’t stay around too long.

Hand Drawn Mountains- Dreamy pop at the Chasing Canadia Stage- Saw a flyer and thought this sounded great, it was. They are playing the Gallery stage tomorrow.

News from Verona- Pop rock at Love Can’t be Baht Stage- One of the band members stopped me and asked me to listen to his band on an Ipod. I liked what I heard so went back. Good for fans of New Found Glory, Further Seems Forever, etc.

Flatfoot 56- Irish punk rock at the Legacy Stage- Saw these guys a couple years ago. CIRCLE PIT! When the pit is churning, even if you aren’t in it, you better be aware, moshers are always flying into and over you.

Switchfoot- Pop rock on the Main Stage- Not much needs to be said about this amazing band. John Foreman is an awesome frontman.

mewithoutYou- Artsy rock on the Main Stage- mewithoutYou has become one of the fest’s favorite bands. The only stage big enough to hold their crowds is main stage which is strange, because their brilliant music is not exactly radio friendly. It is poetry.

Brooke Waggoner- Piano rock on the Gallery Stage- I had heard this gal was good, so after today’s seminars I headed over to hear. It was beautiful; the addition of artist Timbre on harp made this some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

And there is more to come: All the Day Holiday, Over the Rhine, Living Sacrifice, Dignan, Seabird….. So yes, I have definitely seen plenty of music, and there is plenty to come. I hope this post has given you some insight into both my diverse musical tastes and the diversity of music that is available at the festival.

Day 1 – Swing, Swing

Wednesday was the first full day of Cornerstone 2010 proper, with all of the stages getting into full swing.  Thankfully after an exhausting Tuesday, I was finally getting into the swing of things as well – my body finally clicked over to “Cornerstone time.”

The day started with one of the bands that I was most looking forward to seeing after previewing them pre-fest, the Kicks.  They’re a 4-piece from Nashville that plays southern rock with a modern slant.  They’re tight, and their harmony vocals are great.  I really enjoyed this show – my favorite of the fest thus far.  You can download their album for free at TheKicksRock.com.

After the Kicks, I did a little stage surfing, because several of the bands I wanted to see ended up not playing.  Then I headed over to the Gallery stage to catch a couple of sets from some long-time Cornerstone vets – Terry Taylor of DA (with Mike Roe of the 77s and Steve Hindalong of the Choir backing him on bass and drums, respectively), followed by a set from Roe and Derri Daugherty of the Choir.  Their set was surprising – I expected it to focus on stuff from Derri’s solo EP, but instead they played a couple of Roe songs, some Lost Dogs stuff, and a couple of Daniel Amos songs.  Good stuff, and they’re working on an album together, as well.

Next, Jeff Elbel + Ping played their annual Gallery set, with a wide array of musicians on stage (drums, percussion, more percussion, organ, violin, and more besides).  It was great – they played some oldies from Elbel’s previous band, Farewell to Juliet, some older Ping songs, and some brand new material from Ping’s forthcoming CD.  If you like straightforward rock and roll, well-performed by a bunch of solid musicians, come check out Ping on the Jesus Village tonight at 6 PM.  Also, visit MarathonRecords.com to download a free Ping record.

After Ping’s set, I was adrift for a couple of hours once more, as a couple more bands that I wanted to see were no-shows.  I had dinner and checked out a few different stages, up until the hard choices began around 10 PM.  At 10, there were three bands that I specifically wanted to see: tobyMac on Main Stage, the Lost Dogs on the Gallery, and Quiet Science on the Jesus Village.  I eventually settled on starting out with tobyMac.  His set was very much like what I’ve seen from him in the past, but he does what he does so well that I don’t mind seeing it again.  With a 9-piece backing band flying all over the stage, and a couple of big LED-curtain backdrops that were a first for Cornerstone as far as I can recall, this was a band that was perfect for Main Stage.  I enjoyed about 30 minutes of the set, and then moved on to Quiet Science.

I first saw Quiet Science at Cornerstone last year, and I’ve seen them once more since.  Their songs are quite good, but it’s been my experience that they don’t completely come across live just yet.  Last night’s set was hindered by some technical problems (the singer broke strings on both of his guitars), but in some ways, that just made the set cooler.  The band soldiered on sans-guitar for a song, and then a guy showed up with a rockin’ Gibson SG for the singer to borrow, which he seemed excited to play.  So, although it wasn’t the most polished set, it was one of the most fun that I’ve seen this year.

I missed the Lost Dogs (but then found out that they’re playing in my hometown next week, so that worked out), so I ended my night at the Gallery with Iona, a Celtic progressive rock band that’s been around for a long time but apparently doesn’t make it to the States very often.  I’d never seen them live, so although I never got into their music, I was curious to give them a listen.  The individual performances were outstanding (as befits prog rock) and the Gallery sound was pristine, so they sounded really good.  I wasn’t as into it as I might have been had I been more familiar with their music, but it was good stuff that I’m glad I got a chance to see.

So, that brings us up to today.  There are only a few “must-see” things that I’m scheduling my day around (Ping, the Choir), so I’ll be spending a lot of time checking out new-to me stuff like The Clutter, News From Verona, Bleach, The Almost, and Lightshine Theater (a REZ tribute band, of all things).  Should be a fun day, and thankfully devoid of hard schedule decisions.

JRjr