a TigerRAWk Film

Friday, June 16, 2017

Unified Underground Conference 2016: The Final One, The Passing Of The Torch

This wasn't the most ideal trip. There were some camera technical issues, the car broke down, we were stranded for a while, & other technology didn't quite cooperate. But we made it through & we are thankful to all who helped us along the way...


June 10th was the first day of the final Unified Underground Conference at Take Hold Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We arrived a bit late so we missed Shawn Jonas speaking but still caught most of Tommy Green's message. The bands that night were Bitter Truth, Homebody, Problem Of Pain, Moxie, Vagabonds, Household, Comrades, & From The Eyes Of Servants. The night was closed out with a Spirit Filled Hardcore Cover Set featuring Tommy Green, Shaun Jonas, & Jason Berggren on vocals. I filmed that entire set (with apologies to Jason Berggren). For the video documenting "part 1," I included the video clip with Shawn Jonas from the cover set since I had clips of both Tommy & Jason speaking...and because it was a cool performance too. After the evening concluded, I noticed metallic sounds coming from my car as we drove to our hosts' home. I figured I would need to check that out in the morning to try to see what was causing it.


In the morning of June 11th before returning to Unified Underground Conference, I checked under the hood but I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. We got some breakfast then arrived for the morning session. The session started with a worship set then Jason Berggren spoke. Loyal Thurman also spoke then the afternoon was open for fellowship. Elphie & I went to visit with a friend of hers at their piercing shope called Kitten Flower Boutique. The awful sounds in the car from the night before returned as we drove so we made our way back to Take Hold where I hoped maybe Josh Detty, a mechanically minded friend & member of F.B.S. might be able to give me an idea what's wrong with my car. When he returned, I asked him to give it a look & listen...so we drove a little bit & as we returned with the knowledge that it doesn't sound good & probably badly needed work done, the car got stuck in a gear & stalled out. I had to have the car pushed into a parking lot. We returned to Unified Underground Conference with uncertainty as to what I would do from here. I talked with a few folks & started getting some advice on local shops. I also contacted the hotel where Elphie & I planned to spend Sunday night to cancel our reservation. We had planned to go to Hell, Michigan for our anniversary but those plans were clearly not going to happen.

Nothing more could be done at this point so I went into the evening session where Tobin Bawinkel spoke. I went back to the car to see if I could drive it to the church parking lot at least but still it would not come out of gear so I prayed it would be ok & left it where it was parked then returned to watch the bands for the evening:  Spirit & The Bride, Many Rooms, The Festal Shout, Desiring Dead Flesh, F.B.S., Leper, & Flatfoot 56. As the night came to a close, a bat flew through the church & Loyal Thurman along with some of the Take Hold folks chased it out of the building. I still think it was Skot from Leper taking his true form.

At this point, we had to figure out our transportation. Our hosts also had a situation going on with a grandmother passing away so staying longer with them would not work. We ended up getting a ride to a late night coffee shop then to our hosts' home to sleep for the night.


The next morning, June 12th, we went back to Take Hold for the morning worship & final session of Unified Underground Conference. Shane Cox gave a message then Loyal Thurman explained why this would be the end of Unified Underground Conference. He also gave the new vision of Unified Underground moving forward as well as passing the torch for the "Underground Church" to Shane & Take Hold. There was a prayer for both Loyal & Shane as both were about to go on sabbatical following the weekend. After the service, I walked to my car & tried once again get get it moving but no use...another couple offered to host us for the night so we went to their house.

It was there that I tried to watch the Stanley Cup game which ultimately resulted in the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Championship. The problem was that the internet seemed to have a weak signal making the streaming very difficult. I eventually just bit the bullet & paid the overage fee to use my data plan but I got to see the victory after being frustrated most of the game & expressing it somewhat (I downloaded the broadcast later to watch it over in its entirety). We were given a room to sleep in for the night & early the next morning we got a ride to the car to wait for it to be towed to a shop called Christian Brothers...things could have been much worse. The shop was not going to get to the car for a while so they offered us a free shuttle wherever we may want to go so we took the offer to return to our hosts home & sleep...I guess if nothing else, sleep was as good of a way to spend our anniversary stranded in Michigan as any.

As the day got later without word on the car, I gave them a call to see the status of things. The shop still had not had a chance to get the car in so I ordered tickets for Megabus so we could get home. A familiar face met us while we waited on the overdue bus. A guy we knew from JPUSA, Eric, had apparently went to visit family. So, when we arrived back in Chicago another familiar face waited to take Eric home...Spike. Spike offered to drive us home as well. At home, we discovered there was leftover pizza from our friend Lisa who stayed the weekend while we were gone. She came to town to see The Cure. We didn't feel we could afford the tickets & also had Unified Underground Conference going on so we offered our apartment to her & her friends while we were gone.

After we returned, we found out the car would cost more than we could afford to fix so I called a friend who recently listed a car for sale to see if he was still selling it. Thank God, he still was so we checked it out & made the very affordable purchase. Thank you Kyle! I also got the chance to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate their Stanley Cup Championship with a parade during my lunch break.


So it wasn't the most ideal anniversary or trip for that matter...but it could have been much worse. We were taken care of well & we are thankful to Take Hold for all the generous hospitality they offered to us. Also thank you Kyle for selling us a car that runs!

Additional soundtrack is “Swan” by White Lighter, "Party Hard" by Andrew W.K., & the radio calls by Mike Lange of the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Championship.

Filmed using an iPhone 6, Sony HD Bloggie, & JVC HDD Everio by Elphie & Joel A. Swanson. Edited using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini by Joel A. Swanson.

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