Archive for the ‘Concert Reviews’ Category

Sunday at RevGen was noticeably lighter in attendance than the previous day. It picked up in the evening, but I think RevGen may want to consider going back to a Friday and Saturday for next year. Anyway, I was super excited about the line-up for Sunday, because I hadn’t seen quite a few of the bands live before, which is very unusual considering I’ve seen well over a hundred Christian bands.

After an interview with The Ember Days, I staked out a spot at The New York stage in anticipation for indie rock group Between The Trees. I honestly didn’t expect them to be as energetic as they were. They seemed to genuinely enjoy the RevGen crowd. I was surprised to learn a few days later that Between The Trees is disbanding at the end of the year 😦

 

As Showbread emerged on the Philadelphia stage, it was very apparent that they hadn’t had much sleep recently. Even though Showbread’s performance was more subdued than usual, they still performed their songs passionately (but then how can you sing “I hate music because of you” and not be passionate?) and Josh even threw in a few jokes like, “What has eight wheels and is green? Grass; I lied about the eight wheels.” After “A Man With A Hammer,” I headed over to the Come&Live! Stage.

 

A number of people earlier in the day had encouraged me to check out a worship band called Ascend The Hill. I was late to their set and only heard their last two songs, but that was all it took to make me a fan. The band recently released a new worship album, check out my review

 

I’ve been a fan of Emery since their debut album, so I was really stoked about seeing their live performance for the first time. It was one of the few performances that I stayed for the full set. Josh Head is like the Xanadu of Emery, if you’re familiar with Family Force 5. He gets the crowd going by jumping around the stage, moonwalking, and jumping off the stage to interact with the crowd. But he also contributes to the vocal duties (screaming) and he plays keys. Emery opened with one of my favorites, “Studying Politics” then they moved into an oldie but a goodie, “The Ponytail Parades,” off of their debut. Half way through their set, they announced that their upcoming album would be released in January and it would be the “heaviest album [they] ever recorded” (I hate it when bands say that. It’s rarely true.). Emery closed with the infamous “Walls” (I have to wonder if they’re getting sick of that song).

 

Mae is not really my thing, but their set was enjoyable, minus their opening song which was really mellow, and frankly, a bizarre opener. There seemed to be a number of dedicated Mae fans in the crowd, faithfully singing along with the band. I may not be into Mae, but it’s a bummer they’re breaking up because from what I saw, they’re a really talented bunch.

 

I missed The Ember Days‘ set on the Philadelphia Stage the day before, so I made it a point to get myself over to the Come&Live! stage to see their second set. They announced that they were going to start by playing through their new EP, Finger Painting (a phenomenal album btw, get it for free at comeandlive.com, along with Ascend The Hill’s new album). After the first song, I had to leave for a last minute interview with Showbread. I wish I could have seen The Ember Days’ full set, but I was not about to pass up an interview with one of my favorite bands.

 

The O.C. Supertones set was an unexpected surprise for me. I’m not a fan of ska, but the Supertones stage presence is unmatchable. I don’t think I can put it into words, it’s something you have to see for yourself. I had to move away from the dancers in the crowd a few times because I started choking from the dust rising from the ground. A slight, but steady wind blew the dust on stage and I caught the vocalist, who is known as “Mojo,” coughing a few times. RevGen was one of the few festivals that the Supertones were reuniting for, so it was a treat to see one of the most beloved Christian bands of all time.

 

Anberlin was the headliner at the Philadelphia stage on Sunday, and the only headliner that I saw at RevGen. The Florida-based alt. rock group opened like lightning with “Godspeed.” Following was “The Resistance” and “Whisper & Clamour,” during which the crowd surfing began. Anberlin continued with fan favorites like, “Paperthin Hymn” and “Unwinding Cable Car.” At this point I was exhausted, as much as I wanted to see the rest of their set, I couldn’t force my eyes open for much longer.

RevGen continues to top its line-up every year. And as far as Christian music festivals, it has one of the most diverse line-ups. I’m upset as I’m writing this though, because this year is probably the last year that I’ll be at RevGen for awhile (I’m moving to Nashville next summer). But for those of you that will be in the Frenchtown area next September, don’t miss out on one of the greatest Christian music festivals!

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For most people, Labor Day weekend is a time to get together with family and friends to celebrate the last weekend of the summer. For Christian music junkies in the New Jersey area, like me, Labor Day weekend is a time to see performances by some of the best bands Christian music has to offer at Revelation Generation Festival. Revelation Generation, or RevGen as it’s commonly referred to, has only been around for six years, yet the festival has already attracted thousands because of its diverse, top-knotch line-up, featuring artists from worship to folk to metal. RevGen boasts five stages: New York Stage (mainstream acts), Philadelphia Stage (alternative/metal acts), Nashville Stage (folk, pop, worship, and indie acts), Urban Stage (R&B, Rap, Hip/Hop acts), and Come&Live! Stage (mix of worship/metal acts mostly from the Come&Live! label).

As with previous years, RevGen had a fantastic line-up in store for attendees. The 2010 line-up included typical festival headliners such as tobyMac, Anberlin, and Skillet; artsy bands like Mae, solo-artist Dustin Kensrue, and Shawn McDonald; the line-up also included some unlikely artists, O.C. Supertones and Lou Gramm (formerly of Foreigner). This year RevGen took place on a Saturday and Sunday, departing from the typical Friday and Saturday, as in past years.

 

Britt Nicole was the first artist I was able to see at RevGen. She was very bubbly and energetic on stage, which certainly matched the personality of her two albums. Britt kicked off appropriately with “Welcome To The Show.” “Glow” and “Set The World On Fire,” followed, along with the spunky “Headphones,” which she dedicated to the ladies in the audience. Britt had a very engaging performance, but I had to leave halfway through her set to attend the Robbie Seay Band press conference.

Only two other media outlets joined the press conference with Robbie Seay, so it was very informal, which made for more personable and honest conversation. Robbie shared about the service work that his church, Ecclesia, has been involved in, (including the founding of Advent Conspiracy), as well as stuff about the band.

 

With a half an hour until The Almost’s set, I decided to watch BarlowGirl in the meantime. Unsurprisingly, the crowd for BarlowGirl was mostly female, but I did see a few guys singing along and one was even playing the air guitar. BarlowGirl once again had technical difficulties at RevGen. Last year it was a malfunctioning guitar pedal, this year, it was the guitar that malfunctioned. But BarlowGirl pulled through and it was one of the most enjoyable sets for me that day.

 

I almost didn’t recognize The Almost as I headed over to the Philadelphia stage. As I got closer I realized why, Aaron Gillespie had gotten a haircut. He explained that his dreads were starting to reek, so he chopped off most of his hair. The band played a well-balanced mix of popular tunes from their two albums. My favorite though, was a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” They brought intense energy to the song, and even though some of the crowd probably wasn’t familiar with Petty, they seemed to enjoy it. The Almost finished their set with the stirring “Amazing Because It Is.”

 

Robbie Seay Band was my most anticipated act of the evening. Robbie opened with “Love Invades” off of his most recent album, Miracle. Another uplifting worship song, “Song of Hope” followed. After the catchy “Crazy Love,” Robbie performed a more upbeat and pop-ier version of Jon Foreman’s “Your Love Is Song.” I was disappointed when the band’s set ended after only six or seven songs.

For a number of people, even including a few bands that had performed at RevGen, Dustin Kensrue was the highlight of RevGen. Most well-known as the lead singer for alt. rock/post-hardcore band Thrice, Kensrue’s solo music is authentic folk/acoustic. His performance was very informal and intimate, armed with just a guitar and harmonica. Kensrue started with “Pistol,” which definitely seemed to be a crowd favorite. Following a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Salsberry Hill,” was a song that I don’t know the title of, but that’s okay because Kensrue didn’t know the words. After the intro he abruptly stopped to ask someone in the crowd what the first line was to jog his memory. Kensrue later mentioned his appreciation of the crowd. He stated that he usually plays in secular environments and he thought it was cool that the RevGen audience understands the illusions in his songs. I really wanted to stay for his entire set, but I had to leave to finish homework (yes, I had homework due on a Saturday at midnight, blech). As I headed to my car I heard Kensrue playing an acoustic version of my favorite Thrice song, “In Exile.” Even though I’m only a casual fan, this ended up being my favorite performance of the whole festival. It’s very rare that I come across performances with such a feeling of authenticity as with Kensrue’s performance.

I didn’t see as many bands on Thursday (7/1) as I had planned, because I ended up sitting in on a few interviews (House of Heroes, Seabird, & Newsboys) with another organization. But I still got to see some pretty awesome bands!

 

Seabird

Thoughts: Seabird was one of the few, possibly the only, piano-based rock act at Creation. Their set was great, but there stage presence seemed a little off. I think Seabird is one of those bands that is better experienced in a more intimate setting, like a club or smaller venue.

Set List: Believe Me, Let Me Go On, The Good King, Baby I’m In Love, This Road, Rescue, Don’t Change A Thing, Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful, Jargon (Cottonmouth)

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/seabird

 

House Of Heroes

Thoughts: House of Heroes was one of the most talented groups to grace the Fringe Stage. One of the best parts of their live shows are their harmonies. Unlike many other bands I’ve seen, they can actually pull off their harmonies live. And they tell great jokes too- “What did the Buddhist say to the hotdog vendor? Make me one with everything.”

Set List: Code Name Raven, God Save The Foolish Kings, If, Leave You Now, Elevator, Serial Sleepers, So Far Away, Field Of Daggers, Lose Control, Buckets For Bullet Wounds, In The Valley Of The Dying Sun

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/houseofheroes

 

The Classic Crime

Thoughts: The Classic Crime is AMAZING live. There’s nothing really unique about their set; they just put on a good, solid rock show. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t expect The Classic Crime to play so many songs off of their first record, but it was nice to hear some old stuff, especially The Fight (one of my favs!).

Set List: Cheap Shots, Say The Word, Abracadavers, Who Needs Air, A Perfect Voice, Seattle, Four Chords, Coldest Heart, Solar Powered Life, Salt In The Snow, The Fight, Blisters & Coffee

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/theclassiccrime

 

Newsboys

Thoughts: I have to say, The Newsboys show is still as entertaining with new vocalist Michael Tait as it was with Peter Furler. Halfway through their set keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein and guitarist Jody Davis were put on risers that rose as high as the top of the stage frame and went out above the crowd. It was a neat feature for the show, but probably nerve-racking for the band, as it was the first time these risers had been implemented in their live show.

Set List: Something Beautiful, Whenever We Go, Way Beyond Myself, Escape, Blessed Be Your Name, He Reigns, Mighty To Save, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (a capella), When The Boys Light Up, Born Again, Miracles, Shine/Breakfast/Play That Funky Music, One Shot, Jesus Freak (with guest rapper KJ-52).

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/newsboys

Wednesday (6/30) was the first official day of Creation NE Festival 2010. It was also the day with the strongest line-up in my opinion. Downhere, David Crowder* Band, & Switchfoot- does it get any better than that?

Downhere

Thoughts: I loved that Downhere kicked off Creation with “We Will Rock You.” Marc Martel could be a dead ringer for Freddie Mercury. Bassist Glenn Lavender added some flavor to their rock set with a trumpet. I would have liked to have heard “Cathedral Made Of People” from Ending Is Beginning, but that’s my only complaint. This Canadian act is phenomenal, if you have the chance to see them in concert, don’t miss it!


Set List:
We Will Rock You, The More, My Last Amen, Hope Rising, How Many Kings, The Song You Sing, Here I Am, Bleed For This Love.

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/downhere

David Crowder* Band

Thoughts: Hoedowns and a green keytar are just a couple of things that make David Crowder* Band’s set unique. It’s also fun to see how many people in the audience attempt to dress up like Crowder; at least one person in Crowder attire made it on the big screens at Creation during the band’s performance. By the end of their set, Crowder had everyone dancing to “Sing Like The Saved.”

Set List: Lift Your Voice, No One Like You, Foreverandever etc., Here Is Our King, How He Loves, You Are My Joy, I Saw The Light, Oh Happiness, O Praise Him, Sing Like The Saved/Make A Joyful Noise

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/davidcrowderband

Switchfoot

Thoughts:
One of the highlights of Switchfoot’s set was a medley of “Your Love Is A Song” and one of Jon Foreman’s solo songs “You Love Is Strong.” I’m surprised that they continue to end their set with “Dare You To Move.” I’ve seen Switchfoot four times and they’ve closed with that song at every performance. I think it’s time to mix it up!

Set List: Needle In A Haystack, Mess Of Me, Stars, Oh! Gravity, Gone, Your Love Is A Song/Your Love Is Strong, Yet, Hello Hurricane, This Is Your Life, The Sound, Free, On Fire, Awakening, Meant To Live, Only Hope, Dare You To Move

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/switchfoot