Edgefest brings divine sense to Appleton

Paul Karner

This past Saturday, in a hollowed out corner of the Valley Fair Mall, Edgefest rocked a crowd of nearly 200 hundred Appleton Hardcore fans. Known for the evening as “Matt’s House Concert Hall,” the corner was equipped with duel stages and a mountain of man-eating speakers.
The annual hardcore festival brought an onslaught of 14 rage-ensued rock bands. The concert lasted 10 hours. Bands donning names like “In the Face of War,” “Fallen Sparrows,” and “Deep Enough to Die” took the stage. One by one, the bands bombarded the crowd of local scenesters with thundering double-kicks, defiling guitars, and gut-wrenching screams. There was even an hour during middle of the show where fans could take a break from moshing to play a friendly game of paintball, courtesy of Matt’s House Indoor Adventures. The tragically desolate mall came to life for a full day, with some of the grittiest and noisiest rock Appleton has ever seen.
Though most of the time the lyrics were subservient to the chaotic sounds coming from the stage, there is one unsuspected commonality that connected all of the bands performing. They were all Christians. Now, to say that these bands were growling and shredding in Jesus’ name would be to jump to conclusions. There wasn’t any overt preaching, bible thumping, or prayer circle to be seen during the show. Cross necklaces or WWJD bracelets seemed as out of style as a sweater from J. Crew would have been. In fact, to the unsuspecting onlooker, there were hardly any clues that this show was different from the belligerent hardcore shows that dominate the scene. The only possible hints were the curious lack of curse words and “F*** Bush” t-shirts.
Though there were some groups that appeared to enjoy the spotlight a bit more than others, the unabashed sentimentality in the music seemed to hold personal weight with these bands. Subject matter was most often associated with bleak philosophizing by an overly emotional male about his problems with girls and/or home life.
Unbeknownst to the typical music fan, Christian bands have managed to find legitimate success on the underground scene, and even in the mainstream. Perhaps aware of the stigma that a Christian a label would inevitably carry, bands like Haste the Day and Nodes of Ranvier have allowed their music to speak for itself. In so doing, they have landed major label record deals, national tours, and broad fan bases. Their listeners are free to rock out without fear of social taboos.
It is interesting that many Lawrentians, in all of their open-mindedness, will often turn and run at the sight of the big C-word. But perhaps it’s not as big of a deal as some of us might think. The rock scene at Edgefest definitely isn’t suffering because of any heavenly impedance.