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Festival Review: Purple Door 2006

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Purple Door 2006
Festival Review

10:41, Sunday night. This is the first I have been home since Friday morning. The reason? I was at a music fest in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania known at Purple Door. Well, today I just went straight to church and then some other stuff, but still… I have been to Purple Door. I have seen new bands, I have seen stages torn down, and I have met Joel and Cory. And while I have told a number of you that this review would be short and to the point, as I sit here now to write, I realize that that was a horrible idea, and less people may read this for it’s being so long, but those who do read it will enjoy it more as I give you more details.
To begin my adventures, my group was one of the first 1,000 people to go through to gate, so we all received a copy of the Gotee Records and Mono Vs. Stereo 2006 Sampler (which I’m listening to now, and after hearing just the first two songs I’m about ready to remove the CD from my computer, melt it, and then drink it to put me out of my misery, but I will hold on to the hope I find in The Showdown. It’s a rough mix of a new song called “Temptation Come My Way.” I’ll interrupt the review when I get to that point on the CD to let you know how the song is.)
So being one of the first ones in, more than an hour before the first band hit main stage, we went and claimed our spot front row, center. It was amazing. Finally, after an hour of looking at merch and/or guarding our coveted position, Color Revolt began. I had never heard of this band before, but they were quite good. They played a semi-unique blend of indie rock that traveled from harmonies to shouts and back again. After a speaker and some brief potential worship, it was Lovedrug. This is one band I’ve always seemed to overlook, but this time I took notice, and I liked what I saw a lot. Then we were told that due to an illness, Paramore had to cancel their spot for Saturday afternoon, and after a little sound check, the moment we had been awaiting and stood in one spot for the past three hours for finally arrived. Copeland played a mesmerizing set combining songs off their past two records and displaying a few new ones from their coming October 31st release, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. Headlining the night was Emery, who immediately snapped the crowd out of their dreamy-eyed gazes and oh my goodness is this sampler terrible. I mean, I know it’s Gotee Records, but come on. Sorry, anyway, Emery woke everyone from their lovesick slumber and injected their veins with something better than caffeine: hard-hitting rock and roll. Playing mostly songs from The Question, this band had an energy that I will be missing the next time I try listening to their CD. The keyboardist obviously does very little actual playing live, so he mostly ran all over the stage dancing around. And the lead vocalist’s screams were incredibly better than the screams on the studio versions of these songs. This high-pitched eagle sound made the other stuff sound more like a duck. Ending with “Walls,” and a band member jumping into both sides of the crowd, Emery certainly owned the night from a rock standpoint. Another amazing point to their set was when the singer stepped forward before singing “Listening to Freddy Mercury” and asked the crowd “How many of you are Christians?” (everyone cheers) “How many of you love the Lord Jesus?” (everyone cheers) “How many of you are liars?” (some cheer) “How many are cheaters?” (few cheer) “How many are having sex outside of marriage?” (crowd is silent) “See, when it comes to hypocrites, I’m the biggest one…” and he went on the share that we should be living for God each day and win over others to His love by our actions and not by arguing with them.
Saturday morning began by the discovery that I had forgotten to put our lunch meat in the cooler. So much for eating. I arranged to meet with fellow Indie Vision Music staff members Cory and Joel at 10 o’clock. We talked briefly, made a few forum jokes, found out that I was going to be running from stage to stage, Joel was going to be trying to get some interviews, and Cory was going to be moshing it up all day long. I walked with Joel to the Gallery Stage for my first performance of the day: Bradley Hathaway, the poet. He recited some of everyone’s favorite poems from his book/CD and basically forced the crowd to say it along with him. Mostly though, Bradley sang. He had a friend playing acoustic guitar while he did this half talking half singing thing that slightly reminded me of Bright Eyes. He ended with “The Annoying Hardcore Dude that Goes Too Far,” and then encouraged the crowd to run over to the HM Magazine stage to catch August Burns Red. I decided I was definitely not in the metalcore mood, so I stayed where I was to watch The Lonely Hearts. They ended up playing a ton of new songs not on Paper Tapes, along with a few from the CD, and both were equally entertaining as I sat back in my chair enjoying the music and conversation provided by the Gallery Stage. Filling in on guitar was none other than Ethan Luck (of The Dingees, The O.C. Supetones, My Red Hot Nightmare, and now Demon Hunter). Anathallo played next, and while they were really good and the rest of the crowd was completely absorbed and completely into it, I was not. I like them and all, I just wasn’t feeling it this time, so after escorting my best friend to the nurse and finding out that a fever was indeed present, we got some lunch, and I headed down to catch He Is Legend while my dying friend got some much needed sleep in the car.
I arrived at the HM stage to find out that He Is Legend’s bus broke down, so Dead Poetic was going to be playing their slot to keep the time moving and hopefully He Is Legend could make it in time to still perform. I was of course disappointed, but I was soon excited to watch Dead Poetic as Brandon Rike grabbed the microphone and powered through a ton of new songs as well as some favorites from New Medicines. Aside from some mic problems during “Glass in the Trees,” it was a solid set and the new songs may lack screaming, but they are certainly not lacking in power. They ended, and I was finally ready to rock when I was told that He Is Legend was on their way and would be playing the main stage at 5:45. It was 3, and I had half an hour until The Showdown stepped onto the Warehouse 54 stage, so I headed up their a while to catch the end of Inhale Exhale, and despite my Relient K loving friend being enraged at the sight of her beloved bass player in such an “angry hardcore death metal” band, I was soaking it up and wondering who this new vocalist was. Despite the singing being too quiet, I was still very impressed by this band and will be looking forward to the release of The Lost, The Sick, The Sacred. The high voltage heavy metal I had come for was unleashed soon enough, and my neck is still hurting as I sit here typing this. The whole time I was just wishing I knew more of The Showdown’s lyrics. His screams are just so hard to understand. But they’re so powerful and amazing sounding that I wouldn’t change them for anything else. Well, we’ll see what I have to say about that when to new album comes out, because they played two songs from it and as you all have heard, the screaming is gone. Yes, the screaming has vanished, but the metal has not. My friend said he was standing in the back and saw a ton of dads nodding their heads as if to say “yes, now this is good music.” Actually, their demo just began to play on this sampler and the opening riff is enough for me to want to rush to stage and pump my first in the air all over again. I guess I can say that one thing I’m excited for about this new release is that I can give it to my friends who are stuck in the realm of 80s metal, and therefore don’t listen to very much Christian music.
The Showdown recommended we all watch Norma Jean after them, and let us know that the reason they weren’t playing at the same time is because bodies would be dropping everywhere, which is probably true. Still, the thought of Norma Jean live just doesn’t appeal to me at all, so I awoke my sleeping friends, and bought that Friends with Microphones compilation (which I will review sometime soon), and a mewithoutYou shirt. Now it was time for me to make my way towards the front of the main stage to enjoy the force that is He Is Legend. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our first time playing Purple Door, and I don’t know who you think you came here to see, but we’re He Is Legend.” Knowing every word, and still having my voice to sing along to every word made this my highlight show. Schuylar reminded me of Captain Jack Sparrow as he moved around on stage and told the crowd to move around and dance, saying that he could come down and show us how if we didn’t know. They played mostly from I Am Hollywood of course, along with two new songs and a song or two from their old EP. The new songs are slightly different, but still amazing musically, and while there were a few questionable things done from the stage which made me change my mind about wanting to buy a shirt, I still greatly enjoyed this set and was glad I had the chance to see them live.
After a lot of walking around with friends and getting some more water and an apple from the car, we finally made our way down to the main stage again to see mewithoutYou at 8:00. They were of course entrancing, as they took us on a journey through songs from Catch for Us the Foxes, and of course a bunch of new songs which made me sure that I’m going to buy Brother, Sister when it comes out this September 22nd. Aaron at one point said that he wanted to share with us a side of Christianity not often talked about, and that is his viewpoint that Jesus telling us love our brothers means that we should not go to war. At this point, I saw a number of people leave the crowd. Later Aaron encouraged us to find a friend and share everything we’re ashamed of, all our secrets, ask for forgiveness, and apologize. This is something that I would encourage all of you to do as well. The next band to play was Thousand Foot Krutch, so as I had expected, more than half the crowd left and an entirely new crowd replaced them. I took this time to go inside and explore the merch one last time when I ran into Joel again and we talked for a while about “Christian bands,” He Is Legend, MxPx, the awesomeness of Andrew Schwab’s books, the fact that a Stavesacre CD was playing as filler between bands on main stage, and a bunch of other cool stuff before I reunited with my friends and watch the last two songs of TFK from the top of the hill. They appeared to have a decent energy and connection with the crowd, but they’re not really my thing anymore. And while I like Relient K very much, I also know who else likes Relient K very much, and the idea of standing in the middle of a thousand screaming 12 year old girls who think Matt Thiessen is hot and want to date him was not an idea I liked very much. I mean, I’d just be super jealous because I want to date him too, but I know he’d probably go for a 12 year old girl before he’d even consider me.
We left early to avoid traffic, and even though the whole ride home I had a headache and felt like vomiting, I didn’t care. It had been one crazy festival, and I was super glad I went. Now, let’s quick run through this one last time: when you finish reading my review, you are going to check out Color Revolt, Copeland, Bradley Hathaway, The Lonely Hearts, Dead Poetic, The Showdown, and mewithoutYou. In conclusion, this was well worth my $40 and the hour and half drive back and forth each day. You can all message Joel and ask him if it was worth driving 9 hours from Canada, and if he says it is, then everyone come next year. As David from The Showdown would say, “It was killer.”