Creation Festival West 2004

Out at the Gorge from July 21 to 24, thousands of teenage-to-20-something music fans with pierced belly buttons, big tribal arm tattoos and deep pockets will camp out and rock out, filling the cavernous venue—and unlike at this year's Sasquatch Festival, or the canceled Lollapalooza, they actually will fill the place. But if you take a look at the roster to Creation West 2004, a hugely successful event in its 26th year, odds are you've never heard of any of the artists. For the most part, this is apt, because despite a few exceptions, the festival's lineup is largely bland on blond: mostly melodramatic pop-rock confectionery that makes the likes of Hoobastank sound fresh and innovative. Nevertheless, modern Christian pop is a huge, multimillion-dollar industry, with its own Grammys (the Dove Awards), magazines, Web sites, and specialty record labels. There is Christian nü-metal and even Christian power electronics—though you might easily guess which of the two is to be represented at this slickly run and highly profitable event. There is, nevertheless, a handful of excellent artists at this year's event. Highlights include Out of Eden (the Christian Destiny's Child, straight up; they rule), who play Friday, July 23 (evening); Delirious (total HBO commercial music—the high-pitched soaring vocals and big U2 guitars basically sound like Coldplay with balls), who play Saturday, July 24 (evening); the Grits (clean South! Christian rap that's not too goody-goody, and makes some excellent larger political statements, with a swell sub-Outkast groove), who play Friday, July 23 (afternoon, main stage); Stacie Orrico (sure it's bland pop, but she's soooooo cute!), who plays Wednesday, July 21 (evening); Paul Colman (the most interesting and sincere singer-songwriter of the bunch), who plays Saturday, July 24 (afternoon, main stage); and Switchfoot (anthemic, well- executed, catchy stadium rock), who play Thursday, July 22 (evening). Mike


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