I saw Lee Bozeman in Atlanta during a smaller festival about four years ago, but I’d never seen Luxury before. When I heard they were back together and even playing Cornerstone, I was pretty pumped. Honestly, I have to say that the live music didn’t do too much for me. It was pretty plain rock, but with the gorgeous voice of Bozeman. I really believe I’ll enjoy his solo material better. The slower songs were incredible, but like I said, the rock was somewhat monotonous. They did put on an energetic show as Bozeman stumbled around stage similar to Morrissey. With Bozeman’s hollow body six string, there were a total of three guitars. If you like indie-rock, this was the place to be.
The show wasn’t so much about what Joy Electric did, but what their dedicated fan, Juan, did. A clothing designer from Los Angeles, Juan probably loves Joy Electric more than any other human on Earth. In past years, his costume for the show has ranged from a gigantic paper cup dome on his head to this year’s vinyl suit with blue shag attached. The vinyl had to be brutal on a July day. Every year he brings candy for the audience, glitter, and bubble makers. This year he brought a tent full of balloons and released them when the band came out to play “Sugar Rush.” He adds to the show. In terms of the set, the guys played some of their hits and a few off the awaited album The White Songbook. I was delighted when they played “Burgundy Years,” which I haven’t heard in quite a while. The crowd was pretty energetic, blowing bubbles and dancing.
Over the Rhine
The set was a short half-hour one under the acoustic music tent. The band was broken down to piano, guitar, and Karen’s captivating voice. The audience was treated to a few new tracks and a few off of Good Dog Bad Dog, which I’ve already raved about. I believe the biggest treat came when a steel guitar was played behind Karen’s vocals. Never has a song sounded more beautiful than with that combination. With the accompanying piano, the set was one of the more sensuous I have experienced in a while (besides the Ester Drang show). Karen even had a friend from a Cincinnati band to come up and join her. I knew that if this was any indication of Saturday’s midnight show, I would be ecstatic.
By the end of the show I had glass from a lamp shattered in my face and fake blood strewn across my mustache and shirt. I know I need not speak another word, but I will continue anyway. If one were to ask every band at Cornerstone if they had ever killed or tortured a man on stage, only one band could stake that claim.
The Bountyhunters came off of last year’s appearance in which they bashed bottles across a man’s face and later brought him out in a body bag, throwing him into the crowd. The question was, how would they top such a feat?
This year’s show started with an announcement from a “representative” of the festival. He read an article about the band from HM magazine and then proceeded to tell the crowd that the festival would not allow such violence during any show.
As he walked off the stage, the guitarist grabbed his shoulder, turned him around, and bashed a beer bottle across his cranium. The rest of the band joined in and beat him for a good 30 seconds. The highlight had to be when John (singer) screamed into the mic, “Tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya!.” I couldn’t control my body from that moment on as I screamed, flailed, and randomly punched Jason in the back (Editor’s Note: I still have the bruises). The man was then brought back out, taped to a chair, and given several variations of torture and experimentation by some mad scientist.
To be honest, the torture act was almost too intense to watch for a while. Any conservatives in the house would have needed to walk out, or call the police. The show ended as he escaped with the help of a man in a black suit, who choked the crazed scientist to death, and then he seeked revenge. The keyboards were right above me, and when John took a lamp to the back of the head, it shattered in my face. Luckily, I wore my glasses, and I think Jason’s afro caught most of the glass. By show’s end, the stage was a mixture of glass, blood, guitars, and broken chairs.
The only way to really know what I’m describing is to actually experience an SS Bountyhunter show. One will not be disappointed, but frightened. Oh yeah, the music was just as brutal. The set mainly consisted of tracks from the new “Serpents For Eggs,” as well as their first album. As I sit and write this review, the hypodermic they stuck into the unlucky fellow’s neck sits beside of my computer. Oh the Cornerstone memories.
I was still recovering from the SS Bountyhunter show, but I was able to catch a few songs from Jai Agnish’s set. I truly regret not seeing more, however. The few songs I heard reminded me a bit of Sean Lennon’s “Into The Sun.” They had a definitely unique sound of acoustic guitars and electronics. Like I said, I wish I would’ve seen more. They performed on the same stage that all the torment took place upon. I wonder if they had to sweep off all of the glass and watch out for bloodstains.
It still amazes me that these kids went on tour with Low. What a strange, almost scary mixture. The show was the typical, humorous set that the band always puts on. Dressed in nurse and doctor uniforms, Danielson Famile sings about life situations in a very lighthearted way. The unfortunate 45-minute delay before the first song kind of put a wrinkle in my schedule, though. I had to leave (not until after “Rubbernecker”) a bit early in order to catch the beginning of Pedro The Lion’s show. It was great to see the Famile return after last year’s absence.
Pedro the Lion
Two hours and 20 songs later, I was nearing exhaustion from a marathon Pedro show that may very well be their last at the festival for a few years. It amazes me the crowd this band draws every year. The tent seems to become more packed with each passing fest. Are hardcore kids converting? The only negative thing I have to speak of about the show was the lighting. I believe David Bazan was even embarrassed a bit by the rockstar lighting he was being given. At one point, he had to ask for the spotlight to be turned off. David is a completely humble “star,” which is almost too much when he stumbles over words and portrays his shyness in too cute of a way.
The set contained 20 songs in which David sang two by himself and featured songs from each album. Of course, the crowd sang each and every song along with the band. The direction Pedro now seems to be taking off in is a bit heavier one. The newer stuff they played contained a lot more distortion and driving beats, a far cry from the softer, melancholy tunes we’re used to hearing. I think everyone was satisfied with show. Any longer, and it would have compared with a Springsteen concert.
Read more about Cornerstone 2001.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.