Monday, July 20, 2009

Show Recap: Sonshine Festival @ Wilmar, MN

Alan and I camped out at the Sonshine Festival in Wilmar, Minnesota. 3 days of Christian bands spread out on 3 different stages, but we were there mainly for the metal stage. there were so many bands that i'm just going to give short recaps and fly through the bands that we actually saw.

Thursday night was essentially the Scream the Prayer Tour lineup, featuring For Today, Sleeping Giant, Oh Sleeper, Gwen Stacy, The Chariot, and Haste the Day. For Today and Sleeping Giant are what you might call "militant Christian" metal, in your face, tough-guy hardcore. Both bands didn't bring their A-game and were somewhat disappointing.

Gwen Stacy was the first good band we saw. They only played 5 songs but they bring it, fun choruses to sing along with, and quite the following for an early-in-the-evening band. After Gwen Stacy was Oh Sleeper, a favorite of Alan's and mine. They were on-fire! They had replaced their stolen guitar and were able to play 2 new songs, Son of the Morning and The Finisher, both were awesome. The crowd was totally into the set and Oh Sleeper responded, playing better than they did on Tuesday night in Denver, and they were having fun inciting chaos in the crowd.

After their last song, Vices Like Vipers, which was crazy, Micah the lead singer, said that we had one last chance to rock out, and organized the crowd for the "Wall of Death". Basically this is like the parting of the Red Sea, i've done this a few times, most notably at Sick of it All shows, in little venues where people don't have much room. but by the time to two sides of the crowd had split, there was easily 20 yards between us and them. As the front line people began to back out Alan and I found ourselves facing the front line full of teenagers with no feeling of pain. the song kicked in and both sides ran at each other (think Braveheart) and Bam!, bodies everywhere. i spent the next 30 seconds saving lives and enjoying my extra adrenaline-induced strength that allowed me to throw teenagers everywhere and saves the people who landed on the ground.

Wall of Death at a Sick of it All show (excuse the language):

after recovering from that we took a break, skipped Sleeping Giant, the Showdown and Agraceful. We went over to the main stage to check out Family Force 5, which lasted about 10 seconds before we decided that they were lame and went back to the metal stage to see The Chariot. They were great again, apparently their van had broken down and they just barely made it, but they were awesome. After that was Flatfoot 56 and they were terrible, and i hate them.

The headliners for Thursday were Haste the Day. Once again they were on their game, and once again the momentum slowed down when Stephen picked up a guitar and played the 2 slow songs. But it was cool because they played an encore, American Love, and all was forgiven. their new drummer, Giuseppe from Once Nothing (check out the link!), might be the best drummer i've ever seen, he's ridiculous, and he did a drum solo before the encore that was epic.

On Friday we got up early, 10a, and headed over to the hip-hop stage to catch Big Al. he was pretty good i guess. Christian rap is weird to me, but whatever. Then we went over to the main stage to get ready for Glorious Unseen. This is where i ran into one of Kassie's friends, Angela and got to talk to her. On the stage was Tal & Acacia, 2 girls who were quite impressive. Tal (or Acacia?) plays guitar and both girls sing. they were from England i'm guessing (wrong, they're from Nashville, thanks Alan!) and their style was a little quirky and both Alan and I liked it, but not enough to grab a pink cd!

Up next was the Glorious Unseen, one of our favorite bands, and they were awesome. They played Tonite the Stars Speak, Forever Holy, and some new songs of their upcoming EP. I wish they could of played longer than 30 minutes, they only got through 5 songs i think. But David Crowder was on the side stage obviously enjoying them too.

After that we scampered back to the metal stage to check out some bands we'd never heard of. For All Those Sleeping were pretty bad, the Midnight Suit, who are now called The Suit, were awesome. they were a blend of punk/hardcore and some heavy breakdowns. they really impressed, and were full of fun energy, playing a cover of Lady Gaga's Just Dance that went over really well (hear it on their myspace), totally checking these dudes out!

up next was local metal band Your Memorial, which Alan liked but i wasn't too into, they're straight-forward metal. Hands followed them and they were pretty good despite having a guitar player as their lead singer which usually takes a little off the intensity and crowd-participation. they were really tight and had a good crowd following, i'd check'em out.

after that we went and took a nap, skipping A Plea For Purging and Impending Doom. We woke up and headed to the main stage for an awesome time of worship with David Crowder. They are so good live, great humor, great set, and just overall a really moving time. David Crowder busted out the usual key-tar, and then a Guitar Hero guitar that had been modified by drummer Bwhack. good times.

After that we headed back to the metal stage for what was probably the best band of the weekend; August Burns Red! man, i have just been getting into these guys so i only knew a few of the songs, but it didn't matter. people were climbing the walls just to get a view, easily the biggest crowd we saw. we fought our way to the pits and hardcore danced for what seemed like an hour. They played an encore even though they weren't headlining, man they were good.

After that was the headliners, Norma Jean, a band that always brings the energy (and apparently fans like David Crowder, he was in the pit with the rest of us kids). They rocked out about 3 songs before something on the drums broke, which happens at every Norma Jean show. After that was fixed, lead singer Cory Brandan instructed the crowd to pick up anything plastic off the ground and when the song kicks in, to throw the trash in the air, and keep throwing it. the crowd followed instruction and we were all doused with water and whatever else was in the trash for the next 60 seconds. After that they played the hits, ending with a quasi-encore. pretty good set.

Both of us had to leave the next morning, so we missed out on War of Ages, As I Lay Dying, Austrian Death Machine, and Living Sacrifice. it was a bummer, but we'll have more chances!

good times!


Alan said...

Great recap, Bmer. I think you nailed it. I'm surprised you were able to fight the temptation of posting the video you took of me gettin low with Big Al. Thank the Lord. But I guess now you have something to black mail me with in the future, so that's always good. Oh, and Tal & Acacia are from Nashville. I think her fake British accent threw us off.

BMer916 said...

thanks for the info Alan, oh and your video is on my other Sonshine post!

Alan said...

Oh snap! I just read that post! Well, you can't see me too well anyways. ha.