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Cornerstone 2001: Jason’s Diary, July 7

Today’s concerts included Soul-Junk, The Elevator Division, The People, and Starflyer 59.

Up until today, the weather at Cornerstone had been pretty decent. Although nowhere near as nice as that darned Weather Channel had claimed it would be, it was still pretty nice. But I should’ve known we would have to pay for it sometime. And on July 7, we paid for it in a big way. I’m still not sure how I made it through this day, because I was certain I was going to pass out at least once. Due to the heat, much of today was spent trying to stay cool and conserve energy.

At 2:00pm, I finally dragged my sorry butt over to the Indoor Stage (a misnomer if ever there was one) to catch Soul-Junk. I was really jazzed to catch their show, since 1956 was one of my fave albums from last year. I was totally ready for Soul-Junk’s unorthodox brand of hip-hop. Unfortunately, those darn sound problems cropped up. That, combined with the ungodly heat, seemed to sap much of the show’s energy, and the whole thing felt rather sloppy.

At 3:00, I made my way to the New Band Stage to catch The Elevator Division. Although I was initially unimpressed with their new, more song-oriented sound, I’d really grown to love it over the past few weeks, and I was really excited to see them again. And the fact that they’re some really swell guys sweetened the deal. And they didn’t disappoint.

It was obvious the heat was getting to them (their drummer later confessed that he nearly passed out during the show), but from where I was standing, they nailed it. There were some good bands on this year’s New Band Stage, and The Elevator Division’s brand of gloomy, Cure-inspired pop was a great way to top things off.

Another band that I was really looking forward to seeing was The People. They blew me away on last year’s New Band Stage, and their CD ​“The Premise Of Sound” was another one of my faves from last year. The band had undergone some lineup changes, and you could tell that from their set tonight. It was far more rock-oriented, with very little of the spacey keys and atmospherics that attracted me to them in the first place. I was little underwhelmed, simply because I was expecting a lot. However, I’m still really looking forward to any future recordings from these guys, and so should you.

And then it was time for the last show of the fest, at least for me. Starflyer 59 has been one of the mainstays of Cornerstone for me. They’ve just released their latest, Leave Here A Stranger, and many are calling it their best ever. Starflyer played a wide range of material, mainly focusing on the last few albums.

It didn’t quite match up to last year’s performance, which was just loaded with surf rock goodness, but I’ve never found Starflyer’s live shows to be anywhere close to their albums. But I have a feeling the band was upstaged when a guy got on stage just before them and proposed to his girlfriend. How are you going to top something like that?

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