Good Times, Bad Times

If you look around the coverage here on the Cornerstone site, I think we’ve pretty well established that Cornerstone is awesome.  But when you’ve got this many moving parts (hundreds of bands coming and going, thousands of people spending the day out on a ridiculously hot farm), it’s inevitable that things are going to go wrong.  Yesterday was a good example.

Quiet Science, a band that first came onto my radar a couple of years ago at the fest, was setting up to play on the Anchor Stage.  They’d been promoting the set hard all week, walking around in the 95 degree heat in masks and long, red robes with a big sign, and putting up a ton of nice posters advertising the show.  A nice crowd was gathering for the set, but about 10 minutes before they were about to start, another power outage hit.  The power was out for over two hours this time, eventually forcing them to reschedule, and kind of wiping out all the hard work they put in during the week.  I wasn’t able to see the rescheduled show, but hopefully word got out and they still had a good crowd.

The power outage also impacted the Gallery stage, but a bit of ingenuity saved the day.  Kerosene Halo, a collaboration between Mike Roe and Derri Daugherty of the Lost Dogs, was scheduled to play.  Luckily, the owner of an RV parked near the stage offered up some power to set up a minimal PA for the stage, enough to support a minimal show.  Their set, consisting mostly of songs written by other people (including Steve Hindalong of the Choir, Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos, and Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman) performed acoustically, was a perfect fit for the makeshift sound system and was a soothing sound on a hot afternoon.  Thank goodness for long extension cords.

Even an established band like the Lost Dogs weren’t exempt from problems.  “Lead dog” (to the extent that there’s a leader of the band) Terry Taylor had to leave the fest early, leaving the band a man down.  Luckily, Paul Averitt, currently playing bass on tour for Daniel Amos, was able to step in to sing Terry’s parts.  He did a nice job, and even put on a credible impersonation of Terry’s voice.  The set was focused on the more serious side of the band’s catalog rather than their tongue-in-cheek material.  I assume Averitt had to learn his parts in a hurry, and they quickly ran through all the material that he knew, so they covered Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” for their encore.  The Lost Dogs probably get overlooked a little because they’ve been around, steadily releasing new material, for so long, but they’re still worth a listen.

It’s not uncommon to hear of bands enduring hardship on the road to Cornerstone – long, late night drives, flat tires, van breakdowns, and so forth.  Yesterday I talked to a band called Someone Like Tommy that actually made it to the fest before their problems started.  They drove up from Florida for their first Cornerstone to play some generator stage slots, only to find out when they arrived that the stage they were supposed to play had some issues and had to shut down, leaving them with no place to play.  When I talked to them, they were going around trying to secure an open slot somewhere so their trip wasn’t a total loss.  They describe themselves as a folk/bluegrass band that likes bands like Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons, and The Civil Wars, so if that sounds like your thing, go check them out.