Well, the first official day of the fest has come and gone. I’m still struggling to adjust to the Cornerstone schedule, so I was a little draggy for most of the day (until about 2 AM, when it was time to try to go to sleep), but I still managed to see a variety of shows from some new bands and some old favorites.
I started the day with Owl City, a happy, dancey synthpop band. I’ve got a lot of time for that sort of thing, so I enjoyed their set and was glad to see that the tent was full to overflowing. It did seem a little odd to me that there wasn’t more dancing going on, though. When bands like The Echoing Green used to play, people would be dancing and jumping around like mad; now, just standing still and watching the show seems to be the way of things.
Next up, Rodent Emporium, a gleefully odd punk band from Scotland. They did a fun set full of songs about sports and Sasquatch and so forth. I was also amused to see that their guitarist was wearing a t-shirt from my alma mater, Georgia Tech. How the guitarist from a Scottish punk band came to be wearing a shirt from an engineering school in Atlanta as he played in a cornfield in Illinois is probably a story worth hearing.
I caught the last half of All the Day Holiday’s set on the Indoor stage (which, for those not familiar, is no more indoor than any of the other stages here – the name’s a holdover from a stage at the fest’s previous location in Chicago 15 or so years ago). I liked what I heard of them, so hopefully I can catch them again. They’re also selling their new album for 5 bucks, so I picked that up.
Jeff Elbel + Ping played next, on the Gallery stage. Jeff’s the stage manager at the Gallery, occasionally plays bass for other artists at the fest, and can often be found tuning guitars for artists like the 77’s and the Choir, but every year he also gets to step up to the microphone for a little while. The band sounded great this year, and was probably my favorite set of the day. They’re playing again today at 5:00 on the Jesus Village stage, so come check them out if you get the chance.
I kind of crashed a bit after the Ping set, so I ate an early dinner and sat in a corner to recover for a while before heading to Main Stage for Family Force 5 and Relient K. FF5 were dumb fun, as they always are, and Relient K played a good set, including a couple of songs from the new album they’re currently recording. They sounded good, and a little different from the typical Relient K sound, so look for them on YouTube any time now.
Copeland closed out the night with an hour long Encore show in a packed tent. The band seems better served by the smaller, more intimate Encore stage than the giant Main Stage where I saw them last. They opened with a set of mellow stuff from You Are My Sunshine, before moving on to some rockier stuff from their earlier albums. My only regret was that Rae Cassidy, who played the fest yesterday and is prominently featured on a couple of songs from the new album, didn’t come sing with the band, but that’s a small quibble with what was otherwise a solid show.
It was another good day for cover songs at the fest. And Then There Were None gave us a rocked-up version of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven,” Ping opened their set with the Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love,” and Relient K covered Cake’s “The Distance,” complete with muted trumpet.