Faith and Music Festestacular


1. Apr. 2007, 5:07

Fri 30 Mar – Festival of Faith and Music

I'm at the Festival of Faith and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a festival that explores the intersection of faith and culture, yada yada yada. I guess the catch is that they ACTUALLY do a good job of it, especially doing it honestly.

Yesterday, I heard lectures from Lauren Winner (writer and professor), The Psalters (Exodus-era musicians), and some guy who wrote his senior thesis on Relevant magazine (and how they use pseudo-subversive facade to sell conservative, evangelical ideas).

The day was topped off by an outstanding concert from Anathallo and Sufjan Stevens. The latter performed for 2 hours with elaborately kitschy outfits and stage decoration, as well as an ostentatious, immersive film experience. The concert was filmed and, perhaps as a result, was robust in instrumentation and energy. And piano-pounding. His performance was a sprinkling of all his albums, including Seven Swans (Seven Swans), To Be Alone With You (Michigan), Chicago, Jacksonville, John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Illinois), Majestic Snowbird (NPR), and That Was the Worst The Worst Christmas Ever (Sufjan Christmas album).

Anathallo had a decidedly shorter show, clocking in at approximately 30 minutes. They played A Great Wind, More Ash and a couple others from Floating World and a new song from an upcoming album they're recording in Chicago. A title evades me at the moment.

INDIE CELEB SPOTTING: Daniel Smith (Danielson), his wife Elin, and his dad Lenny Smith; John Ringhoffer (Half-Handed Cloud); Andrew Beaujon (author Body Piercing Saved My Life); Josh Jackson (Paste Magazine).

Today will prove just as interesting, I'm sure, with lectures from Sufjan, Daniel Smith, Neko Case and Liz Janes. Tonight's concert series is Neko Case and Emmylou Harris. More later.


  • magnumforce2006

    You were at the Dan Smith Interview? Where were you? I was near the front and asked him about the Holy Spirit influencing writing/art/everything in contrast with human endeavors (man, too many smart questions... I wanted to ask him about the mask in the Danielson documentary then, haha). But anyway, it was an amazing weekend. My highlights were definitely the concerts. I didn't have much prior experience with Emmyloue Harris and some limited listening to Neko Case, but I really enjoyed their interview and was pleasantly woed by both of their shows.

    1. Apr. 2007, 21:21
  • currra

    Sufjan's piano pounding was sooo sickkk. I was only at the 930 show though, Majesty Snowbird was ridiculouss. !!

    1. Apr. 2007, 21:43
  • flannerygirl

    hey, I was at the Relevant mag. workshop on Friday too! Interesting stuff, if not at all what I expected from the description. For me the bummer of the whole festival was the Neko Case interview ... I like David Dark but he should not be allowed to interview anyone ever again. Fantastic couple of days overall though.

    6. Apr. 2007, 20:26
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