Photoside Cafe
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Photoside Cafe

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Annual AgapeFest is the face of Greenville College's Christian music pipeline"

GREENVILLE — Nick Berry admits he’s never been outside of his native Indiana. So here was Berry, bass player for the Indianapolis-based band Farebridge, packing up gear at 5 a.m. on a recent Saturday for a three-hour trip to Greenville College about 70 miles southeast of Springfield.

Coming off a highly charged show the night before in Rochester, Ind., Berry and a couple of other band members forsake sleep for an early morning fast food run/winding down period.

Still, Berry and his running mates — vocalist Melanie Borders, guitarist Aaron Eberly, keyboardist Tyler Miller and drummer Lee Eisenbath — manage to rip through the energetic number “Focused” and create an automatic buzz at the Battle of the Bands. The performance punches the group’s ticket for a spot on Stage 2 at AgapeFest 2008 at the Bond County Fairgrounds in Greenville May 2 and 3.

“We get stereotyped as a garage band, but people hear Melanie sing, and it pushes them in the face,” Berry, a recent high-school graduate, says afterward.

And the performance?

“We were trying not to let anything spook us,” he adds. “We had so much fun on stage.”

Farebridge is a band AgapeFest is searching for, says Joel Goodman, a staff member at Greenville College. It has gotten airplay in the Indianapolis market and already has put out a well-received CD, “Time is an Undertow.”

A solid performance on Stage 2 could propel the band to a Main Stage performance Saturday, the second day of the festival. There, it would share the bill with the likes of Relient K and contemporary Christian stalwarts Hawk Nelson, Barlow Girl and the David Crowder Band.

AgapeFest, which expects to attract more than 5,000 fans for its two-day run, has become synonymous with Greenville College. That instituition’s Contemporary Christian Music and Music Business programs have churned out some of the industry’s movers and shakers in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.

The festival, in its 31st year, not only delivers the big names — the Grammy-nominated Relient K hits the road later this summer on the Vans Warped Tour — it lays claim to truly being a student-coordinated event, with minimal oversight from the college’s faculty and staff. Unlike the past few years when SonShine Concerts handled most planning aspects of the festival, the Chicago-based company has been retained in a consultative role, mostly booking the acts, says Robyn Florian, director of college relations and marketing at Greenville.

The decision for the college again to maximize student involvement — and assume 100 percent of the festival’s financial risk —wouldn’t have come about, Goodman says, without some faculty and staff oversight.

“That was a smart move on the part of the administration,” says Goodman, a native of Apple Valley, Calif. He coordinated the festival as a student in 2006.

“No other school actually foots the bill for the festival or lets students do anything other than volunteer,” says Christopher VanBuskirk, a 22-year-old senior from Chillicothe, Ohio, who is handling Agape’s artist relations. “Agape means a lot to this school.”

With an enrollment of about 1,400 students, Greenville College has been the launching pad of Jars of Clay and Augustana. Several acts with ties to the college, including Stephanie Smith and the bands Dear Future, the Silent Film and Photoside Cafe, are on the festival’s bill.

Naphtali Marshall, lead singer of Photoside Cafe, says while some people may demure the fact that Agape is student-led, “it is professionally run. It’s decent music with a decent message.”

Marshall’s band, formed on campus in 2005, has emerged from Battle of the been played larger St. Louis area venues like Pop’s and Cicero’s, and later this year, will be recording with Chicago-based Grrr Records.

Born in Peru and raised in Chile by his missionary parents, Marshall, 22, says “diversity has become the standard (at Agape). If you come now, you’ll hear hip-hop, rock, soul, punk. That wasn’t always the case.”

Not all the bands who play Agape are necessarily “Christian bands,” he adds. “We’re all Christians, but not necessarily a Christian band. From the get-go, we wanted to play more than churches. We feel our message appeals to Christians and non-Christians.”

Florian, who has been associated with Agape in some capacity for 26 years, says the faces and venues — the festival once was held on the college’s soccer field — may have changed, but the festival’s message has been unwavering.

“From Day One, it’s been about ministry through music,” she says. “What comes with that is not necessarily profit, but there is a responsibility for long-term viability.” - Journal Register

"Photoside Cafe Album Review 2"

Photoside Café
The Beauty Of Innocence Remains.
©2009 Grrr Records

The Cannyshark came back from Cornerstone 2009 with glowing reviews of Photoside Café and their live set. Okay, I was all ears (and apparently eyes in this case). We sat down and he showed the video he’d shot. Pretty compelling stuff: a super tight band, great rhythm section, and a violinist who took the traditional place of a 2nd guitarist. Very good players, all very competent, and the devotion to their craft was evident. So, the Cannyshark asks if I’d like to review their CD for my blog, sure…

Studio recordings are very different beasts than the live arena. Some bands just never reach the level set by their live set when turned loose in the strange wonderland of the studio. Photoside Café does a decent job. Live, their dynamic sound creates power and an epic, dramatic sound. On the studio recording it sometimes translates, other times, it starts to sound like drama for drama’s sake. The studio recording is pretty plan vanilla, it begs for some space to play out the interplay of the instrumentation and the vocals. It gets this on “Sweet Fascination”, a great down tempo piece with keys and powerful use of the violin. Other tracks are solid, most are of mid to up tempo with interesting and off the beaten path melodies and more complex than usual instrumentation. None of it feels forced, occasionally a little overwrought, but this is nitpicking by me.

Hard to pigeonhole this band, and that’s a good thing. Occasionally jazzy, other times veering towards prog or fusion, but never lapsing into chops over song territory.
Bravo to Photoside Café for taking their own path.

I like this CD, I hope they continue to evolve musically, and I’d definitely try to see them live if they happen upon our little corner of the country.

8/10 kilts
DAA - COARMS and Elitist

"Photoside Cafe Album Review 1"

The Beauty of Innocence Remains
Artist: Photoside Cafe
Label: Grrr Records
Length: 11 tracks/49:25

Photoside Cafe is a new band, recently signed to Grrr Records. Their debut full-length combines revamped remakes of their independent EPs with some new material.

Having said that, is it good? Yes. Very good. Think of Jacobstone with an electric violin, or fellow Greeville College alumnae Jars of Clay in their early era. There's an occasional hint of Dave Matthews Band at times, too. The songs are solidly constructed with reasonably insightful lyrics which touch on the nature of life, love, and faith in Christ. The opening song, "Black Heart" opens with these two verses, demonstrating that whole range in a few short lines:

her eyes looked deep into mine, all was covered in a glance
I love how the laughter seeps, infectious to my pose
both beauty and strength, could be seen deep
within her being, so fresh indeed
it sings renewal to my soul
it sings renewal to my soul
I can act the act and try to talk the talk but in all reality
my daily routine is to hit the ground falling
hard into grace magnificent bliss indeed
still I try to look up, try to do the right thing
I try to do it on my own
I try to do it on my own

Two verses, and we have reflections on love, life, and the struggle of living as a Christian in the space of just over a minute of music.
Musically, this is a very listenable album. The unusual instrumentation (guitar, bass, violin, and drums) helps keep the music from becoming stale or too samey both within the album and also compared to much of what you would hear on pop radio. Having said that, the songs themselves are very much alternative-tinged radio friendly pop. "Sweet Fascination" has a lovely instrumental bridge with shifting rhythms. "Kill Your TV" has a rather Middle
Eastern sound to it and points out the dangers of living in a media-saturated society. "Welcome Home" is a pleasantly welcoming tune, with hints of country fiddle mixed in with its driving rock beat. "The Old Bridge" is a reflective piece looking at the need for the restoration of innocence that only Christ can bring to a hurting soul. "Heartbeat" has a very Dave Matthews vibe to it. The only song which I found a little disappointing was the closing track, "Joyful Streets" as it simply, to my ears, just doesn't have the same sort of power to it lyrically or musically as the rest of the album. Having said that, the weak
song on the album is still a decent track, and will probably get its fair share of radio time.

Naphtali Marshall, the lead vocalist, has a voice which is husky and raspy yet also sweet, like a less throaty Bryan Adams or a raspier Dan Haseltine. The violinist, Matthew Gadeken, plays solos which occasionally drift into Middle-Eastern tonal structures and which push the music into places where guitars generally just don't go. Bassist Craig Hobson and drummer Jason Chatterton (who also contributes some piano work) provide a rock-solid base on which the songs sprawl and have their life.

My big hope for this band is that they have time and desire to develop similarly strong material for their next album. This one is a keeper, and great for long drives in the summer sunshine. I'm sure it will continue to be in regular rotation here.

Alex Klages
4.5 out of 5 - The Phantom Tollbooth

"Things to look out for..."

Photoside Café: The Beauty of Innocence RemainsPhotoside Café’s album is an album that is soothing to the ears. The instruments set the tone of the album. A majority of the songs on the album are divine, but a small portion of the lyrics were a bit mundane. All in all, this band has extreme potential with their vocals and sound. They’re a group to look out for. Listen to Photoside Café at -

"The Softer Side"

Photoside Cafe. They describe themselves as “aggressive, acoustic, art rock band” and that fits well. Mixing in violin, piano & distinctive vocals, Photoside Cafe definitely found a place with many new fans at the fest. They do bring a bit of rock, so they’re not entirely “softer” but I know many people who would like this band a lot. -


The Beauty of Innocence Remains (Grrr Records 2009)
1. Black Heart
2. Don't Care
3. Sweet Fascination
4. Kill Your TV
5. Welcome Home
6. The Old Bridge
7. When Beauty Sings
8. Heartbeat
9. Weightless
10. Beautiful Release
11. Joyful Streets

Rising to Sleep EP (April 2007)
1. Kill Your TV
2. Weightless
3. Beautiful Release
> Gun Flashes Intro
4. Sing for the Gun
5. Freedom Ring
> Rising to Sleep Intro
6. Heartbeat

Boldfaced Legend EP (April 2006)
1. Purpose or Dream
2. Another Realm
3. Hazel Eyed Angel
4. Welcome Home
5. Grey Fame



Photoside Cafe is an band from Chicago, IL that is most often compared to the likes of Dave Matthews with an edgier sound.

The chemistry within the group is outstanding, and it shines onstage. Each member brings elite individual talent into the mix, making the final product the perfect combination of talent and creativity. With their blazing songs and lyrics, Photoside Cafe blends all the right elements to create an ambiance that is nothing short of remarkable.