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One Way And Then Some
by Paul Landkamer
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It’s been too long, but I’ve had lots on my mind. First I’ve gotta tell you about the new artist discoveries of mine. After that, I’ll give you a brief story on a big concert to which my daughter and I went.

I like to check out the new bands who sign up with www.xianz.com fairly regularly, and one day, Wahba appeared. I clicked on Wahba’s profile and really liked what I read. I even went to his website and right over to www.indieheaven.com to make a purchase. He had two CDs there, so I bought ‘em both. Wahba’s got that classic rock sound down! He’s got lots of Lenny Kravitz sounds. Tight music with solid lyrics! Both CDs were great, but the earlier proskyneo rocked a bit harder than The Beautiful Effect.

IndieHeaven was running a sale. They told me if I bought three or more CDs, I’d get free shipping and handling. Well, I fell for it, and after a bit of hunting, found Raging Grace. Raging Grace is a blues rock band, often leaning toward straight blues without the rock. I really liked their “Married Man’s Shuffle.” I played it for my wife, and got a nice hug out of it!

This will date the lateness of this article a bit. I’d only started hearing about DecembeRadio and thought the price of the CD was right for me to buy without hearing. I’m not a bit sorry about the purchase. With Audio Adrenaline closing shop, DecembeRadio might be able to fill in to reduce the withdrawl. They’re heavier, but have the polished instrumentals with original lyrics. To sum them up, DecembeRadio is a heavy rock band with pop sensibilities. They’re young, but not your typical teen-extreme band with gimmicky vocals. (Yeah, my tolerance of screamo, emo, punk and whiney, breathy slurred vocals is wearing thin.)

Mid-Continent Public Library gave me a treat. At the editor of Suite101.com’s Christian Music topic’s encouragement, I checked out Sufjan Stevens. These guys are a neat no-rock blend of very interesting music. There’s classical, bluegrass, celtic and more in the mix. Imagine The Clumsy Lovers and Danielson (The Danielson Famile), but with serious musicians. (I’m not trying to imply those other bands aren’t serious about their music, OK?) I also heard some neat Phil Keaggy and Paul Simon sounds from Sufjan Stevens. Check out Suite101.com’s Christian Music some time. Kevan can give you some hot tips! Besides, she sort of picked up where I left off when I had to leave Suite’s Christian Rock topic.

At MySpace, I stumbled across a couple artists. (Yeah, “MySpace”! It’s NOT inherently evil.) There, I found (and elsewhere bought) Mary-Kathryn, and Pristina.

Mary-Kathryn blends pop and world influences with her crisp, clear vocals into a relaxing blend of lite to soft –but quite interesting- pop. It’s good to hear Celtic, African, and reggae influences and more on the same album.

Pristina is a sort of supergroup of female artists, doing electronica. I bought it because Sarah Masen and Sherri Youngward were part of the group. I have multiple albums of each of those artists in my collection. Pristina features hypnotic vocals to lots of electronic and programmed music, without being speed-beat techno. If the single (several mixes of two songs) is any indication of what’s to come from the full-length CD, count me in!

Another couple library finds were Reuben Morgan and Last Tuesday. Reuben Morgan reminded me of ‘80s Tears for Fears or U2. They played a jangly, ethereal shoegazer/trance style, but varied very little from song to song. By track 5, I wondered if it were just one long song. Reuben Morgan’s good in small doses. And Last Tuesday turned out to be just more punk. Their quality, however, came close to Relient K.

Now for Part Two. On 20-23 July, my daughter and I went to a concert just north of Kansas City. It was the first annual One Way Festival, and I loved it! We ran into old friends there, and the site was even familiar in that we used to camp there for our old medieval group’s War of the Lilies.

It was nasty-hot the first day, and we sweated non-stop! Even though I drank LOTS of water, my legs still gave me some nasty long cramps that night. We got our campsite set up, and took a break. We sprawled out on our chairs and sweated. We’d been listening to a band on a nearby stage doing their warmup. Then, they started actually playing. I sat there, listening to the beautiful sounds, then looked at my daughter and said, “Well, she hooked me. I’m goin’ over there!”

Ashley Reynolds (see her on –gasp- MySpace) was a great first-impression for the weekend, and the rest didn’t let us down. When she got finished, I told her it was her fault I trudged across the blazing field from the safety of my shade. Even her CD was well done. Light pop instrumentals with a great no-gimmick vocalist.

Between artists, Stan Pollman played. I thought he looked vaguely familiar, then I looked at my schedule. Hey! I’d met him a few years back at another outdoor concert. We talked a while, and swapped storied of life-changes. His changed most in his move to California.

Most of the other bands you’d likely heard of before, so I’ll be EXTREMELY brief with them. We went to the main stage later and got to hear Bethany Dillon (who had a nasty summer cold), Sanctus Real (hard pop) and then, one of the reasons we bought tickets, Skillet. It was fun to watch bands from the Saltmine stage try to get folks to come over to hear them. We saw some creative banners and flyers. Those younger bands were fun. And yes, we went to the Saltmine stage while Jeremy Camp took the main stage. We’d heard him before, and wanted to give some of these younger groups a chance. I bought CDs from The Setbacks and Give Me Sound.

Late Thursday night and into Friday morning it rained and stormed. I got a shower at around 4:30am, THEN finally got to sleep –I think. Some folks got storm damage, but our experience with the site helped us pick a sheltered spot. We’d heard the temp yesterday was from 103 to 108 Fahrenheit. And the humidity was VERY visible. I really think I could taste the humidity. We got soaked with sweat yesterday, and in the nice 70s temp, got soaked with rain Friday morning. I even managed to douse the stove (making coffee) when I got rid of a puddle on top of the screen tent. When we were both awake, we sat in the screen tent and relaxed (shivering a bit) while we listened from afar, to the bands in the Neighbor’s Pavilion. At 2:45 in the afternoon, we went to the main stage to hear Falling Up (more emo and screamo than anticipated), Hawk Nelson (melodic punk, similar to Relient K), KJ-52 (rap, but VERY motivating for the audience –and FUN), Jars of Clay, TobyMac, who was quite impressive. My daughter kept saying, “Wow, I didn’t know he did that one, too.” Then came Friday’s grand finale: The Newsboys! As usual, they wowed the crowd, and glorified God. One fun version of a song of theirs was when their guitarist did a Bob Dylan twist on "Shine". I really hope that one comes out on one of their albums. I placed a pre-order of their new CD, and my daughter went to the meet and greet. She said, “They looked beat and worn from their tour!” They didn’t show it on stage.

We got to bed at 1:00am Saturday morning. After hearing the end of The Afters performance on the Neighbors’ Stage, followed by the Saltmine Stage’s April Eyes. I was up at 6:00, made coffee, and began my morning’s bask in the shade. We didn’t have any plans until 5:00 Saturday night. I wish we’d heard all of Starlit Platoon. Superchic[k]’s drummer was in that band! Anyway, we heard John Reuben (rap), Aaron Shust (adult contemporary), Matthew West (light, fun rock), and “our” grand finale, Superchic[k]. Hey Superchic[k] –How come you don’t have a shirt a guy nearly 50-years old would feel comfortable in? I wear Eowyn and Ashley Cleveland quite regularly. I like Superchic[k], too, but don’t like the idea of wearing a too-short pink shirt, and I'm not a one-girl revolution either. See if you can fix that shirt selection, OK. We listened to Pillar from our campsite. I’d seen ‘em before, and was about louded out for the night.

We packed up the next morning and got home before my wife got home from church. I’m going to volunteer to work the concert next year. It’ll be fun! I’ve even got a slight bit more on One Way Festival on a blog (Filthy Rich) at www.myspace.com/ognyen

Let your music help keep your focus on Jesus!

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