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Cornerstone Festival 2004: Bushnell Illinois

by Luke

The chance of a life time for myself and a time to remember. Lots of bands, lots of people, and lots of heat. To start, let me say that I had no intention of ever attending Cornerstone. Personally I felt it to be way overpriced and overrated. The bands that were playing, the majority either come through Michigan or Ohio anyway. The rest, I don't even like.

I believe I only sat through two full shows. Number one was The Migraines. Earlier this year, I did a review of their Endangered Species album. I actually ended up camping with this band and having a great time of fellowship. While they weren't actually on the list of bands, they got booked on a couple generator stages.

Catching their first show, fresh from the nine hour drive and thirty hours of no sleep, the turn out was rather promising. With each song, more people came to stop and listen. It was all started with lead singer Shawn leading everyone in prayer. This was my first glimpse of new drummer Dave tearing up the stage with his beats. The three men meshed together through songs like Hey You, I Love You, and my personal favorite The Walking Dead. Coincidentally, just before The Walking Dead was played, bassist Craig became sick from the heat, hunger, and lack of sleep. Still, the show went on.

It was an impressive show for knowing the circumstances. It's hard to pull a crowd when you've done no promoting, the sun is beating down hard on an uncovered stage, and you just got in town. The guys wound it all up with a kicking rendition of Keep on Rocking in the Free World. If anyone wants to see The Migraines, to get your own experience, they will be playing Ripped Heart's Outdoor Show in Bay City, Michigan. They'll be playing the night of July 24th. Come check them out.

(Editor's Note: i appologize for not updating this earlier so that the last paragraph could have inspirered you to go to the Outdoor Show)

In between times, I checked out a few tents, bought some patches and talked to friends that I knew from online. Some bands that I checked out but didn't stay for the whole show include Joy Electric, Mercury Radio Theater, Calibretto, Green Means Go, and Desiring Dead Flesh.

Joy Electric was alright. Way to pink and happy for myself. Each time I hear them I think of some Power Puff Girl bubble Gum machine with a loose spring. Hey, to each his own. Mercury Radio Theater was totally awesome. Never heard or seen a band like this. With story narrative and musical accompaniment, creepy music never sounded so good. One great thing was to see that Phil, formerly of The Scoundrels in Grand Rapids and Desiring Dead Flesh, is now playing bass for this Philadelphia based band. Calibretto, what can I say? They sound great. I only heard them walking to and from my campsite. Green Means Go kicked it as always. I joked about their soft rock, before hand. To my liking they beat me with their hard edge.

Seeing Desiring Dead Flesh was something I looked very forward to. God bless Green Means Go for filling in as the band. The show was far from perfect. Bryan was into the music, but on the girls' end, things weren't rolling smoothly. Songs were botched and restarted. It was entertaining to watch and hey.. This is punk rock, so who can complain? With the heat and the starts and stops tho, it was hard to jump around in the pit. Lets all pray for a steady DDF band.

Now.. For the whole reason I drove ten hours away and lost a lot of money and sleep. BLASTER THE ROCKET MAN. Ok, if nobody out there knows of this band, smack yourself and buy a cd. Go on Ebay... go online. Download from people on SoulSeek. All I say is listen to this band. This is Dead Kennedys blown up on The Misfits. This is sci-fi horror punk in it's greatest form. This is... BLASTER.

Alright. I have rambled about that enough. We left Mercury Radio Theater halfway through their set to get to the HM Tent a half hour early. Good thing we did this because everybody and their brother had the same idea. The makeup worn by the band was first rate. At first I thought there were actual dead people on stage working.*laughs* fans were in Frankenstein and Dracula makeup also.

After a few messages and advertisements, the band was introduced. Backup singers came out. A man with a fly's head.. Frankenstein's wife.. Otto Bot's wife and two small children. Out comes Otto and the crowd is led in the Deploy All Monsters Now chant of "destroy, destroy." The band takes over and finishes with the rest of the song. All the energy and insanity one can hear on a Blaster cd is seen and experienced live.

Part way through the set. Otto's daughter, Lydia stood in the middle of the stage and sang a song in Gaelic. It was beautiful. Not the style that a punk crowd would be caught listening to, but the cheers for this little girl were louder than for the band itself. This is not just a band we love.

The message.. The music.. It was all intense. Otto jumping around, falling into the crowd and dancing with his wife. This was the 7:00 pm showing. It went for about thirty five minutes until after playing Frankenstein's Monster, the show ended. Not enough for the crowd who immediately began chanting, "destroy, destroy." I saw Otto standing to the side of the stage. He looked tired, but the smile of appreciation was priceless. He came back on stage and stated, "There is nothing in this world greater than Blaster the Rocket Man.... fans."

He wrapped it up with Baby Unvamp and finally they had to leave to let Disciple come on and play. I got the chance to meet Otto after the show. I also met the bass player Dustin. Totally awesome guys. Otto and his family are living in Scotland, and he has a project called Voice of the Mysteryon. There is a song out there on SoulSeek that can be found. He was unaware that people like myself have actually heard it.

11:00 came around and right after Headnoise rocked our socks off, Blaster came back on. A slightly toned down show but still great. The energy was high despite the length of the day. Pretty much all the same songs were played but anytime you can see Blaster the Rocket Man play is a time to grasp.

This time during the final song, Otto had a roll of duct tape that he began to wrap around his neck... then his head.. Then his waist... then he taped the microphone to his face.. And he danced.. And sang.. He looked as tho he was some insane junkyard Madonna mummy. The music ended and they left. The crowd, not wanting to say "goodbye" went and began the "destroy, destroy" chant. Otto returned to the front and said, "how about for an encore, I take this tape off." However it wasn't as easy as expected. In a slightly scary, but amusing way, the tape was stuck and would not come off. Almost immediately two or three men came running to his aid. Wielding pocket knives and scissors, they removed him from his self induced bondage.

Forgetting the drive and the sacrifice to get to Cornerstone, it was an alright time. I recommend everyone out there listen to every band I have mentioned.

www.cornerstonefestival.com

(by: Luke - July 27th 2004)
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skullskullskull
emo-er than thou policy

Please keep the "punk-o-meters" put away. Sellout wants to give everyone a fair chance to be heard, and to listen to what they have to say. So, aside from a gross attack against creative integrity (i.e. Britney Speares) please keep an open mind. All in all, just play nice.