We get back to our music format. Maybe you did not know……let see, it is beautiful sunshine on the outside venue where you are taking in a multi-band concert. Great deal. 10 bands for one low price. So here you are, throwing back the brews like a jack rabbit. Maybe you dip into that little funny cigarette that some dude with a total lack of comprehension passes you. The sun is shining. Its warm. The chicks are hot, and the vibe is good. Maybe in a bit, you will start an impromptu mosh pit on the hillside (as you are really to cheap to buy tickets in the pit where the real moshing is taking place). The line up is great…..Disturbed, maybe Stone Sour, Staind, or maybe it is a double bill of bands with the same singer, like Slipknot and Stone Sour. Then there are the other bands that you have heard, and love, maybe Red, Skillet, Creed, Alter Bridge, Flyleaf, throw in POD….these bands rock and definitely keep your chemical vibe alive.
But wait a minute. Do we really know those bands? WE like the music. Talented. Great stage show, and talented musicians and singers. But we really do not listen to lyrics, I mean, common man, we are not those sensitive types who get into the lyric. WE are all just getting F’d up. Well, oddly enough, the one thing that these bands have in common is that they are blatantly Christian Bands. What? Bullshit you say. These are great bands and great live shows. True. But many of their lyrics are no different that getting your happy ass into a church on Sunday morning and actually listening to the dude called the preacher. Their lyrics are a bit more complex, not obvious, as most lyrics are. A quick review follows of each (click on title of band for website):
RED This band from Nashville Tennessee formed in 2004. They are clearly tagged alternative rock. They have recieved a significant amount of radio airplay. They now have two CDs on the market. The sound is lush as they incorporate heavy synthesizers into their music to parrot the sound of a symphony. The vocals have the growl at times. Certain songs have a significant presence, such as “Death Of Me” from the first CD that hit the commercial market. They have a very unique sound that is unmistakeable and branded to them. Live, they are an interesting group with strong stage presence. Currently, they are playing some dates in small clubs, but you can also frequently see them as part of a mult-billed event as they make a great ‘filler’ band.
FLYLEAF I am biased, admittedly because of my Texas digs, but I like these guys. Formed in Belton/Temple Texas area in 2000, this group’s 2005 release sold well over 1M copies of whatever (today, the sales parameters have changed since the advent of on line down loads). This is platinum. All for a band whose lyrics are blatantly Christian. I have seen this band 5 times. Full of energy and a show that captivates, this is a must see band. But when you have done your chemical damage, just remember, these are a Christian band. Seeing them live, I am not sure what is more entertaining, the F’d up people in the pit without a clue to the lyrics they are listening, or the look on lead singers face (Lacey Sturm) when she witnesses the bohemian debachery and what ever else that goes on at the front of the pit. Pure entertainment. BTW, Lacey is a little elf like presences on stage, she may be 5 feet tall, maybe, and all of about 90 pounds, but the pipes on this one are impressive. Go see them.
SKILLET This band, oddly enough, are the gramps of the bands listed herein. Formed in the mid 90′s in Memphis, Tenn., they have gone through several line up changes. They have a total of 8 CDs out there. Yet, you and I have only heard them over the last 3 years. The current line up is headed by a husband and wife team. The music is straight up rock, melodic, with strong power chords and voices that individually are just OK, but the harmonies steal the show. Their lyrics are not as obvious as to their Christianity, as say Flyleaf, but none the less, unmistakable. I was initially captivated by their first airplay song “The Last Time”, about a suicidal person who has the un migrated support of the writer of the song. Very cool. Their latest, “Awake and Alive” cannot be avoided if you listen to hard rock or alt rock stations (think Octane on Sirrius/XM). Never seen them live, hope to add them to the list in the near future.
ALTER BRIDGE This group was formed in Orlando FLA. They are the left overs from the group Creed, who had tremendous success and airplay with Scott Stapp at the lead vocals. Funny, Stapp was the son of a Pentecostal preacher, yet he is the one that had the most issues personally and likely struggled with Christianity. Mark Tremoni seems to the be ‘Christian’ anchor of this group. While Creed had tremendous success, again with largely Christian messages, Alter Bridge has continued the airplay jewels and popularity. Think “Isolation” on the current rock stations. Not sure all members embrace the Christian message, but many songs and the message is unmistakable. Truly, the current lead singer, Myles Kennedy has shown up on other, more seamingly secular projects like Slash’s solo project. But clearly Alter Bridge has proven, like the others above, that Christian music in the main stream can sell…..to a wide audience, most of whom, know nothing of what they are listening to between their Saturday highs
Honorable mention: AVENGED SEVENFOLD OK. I am not saying these guys are Christians in the sense that most of us define the religion. But folks, listen to the lyrics. You will find a host of songs that deal with death and the afterlife, and not the afterlife of Satan or some other god or demi-god. Their huge hit song “Afterlife” deals with someone dying too early in life and going to heaven before their time. Fitting, since their drummer recently passed resulting from heart issues brought on by drugs and alcohol. This is clearly the best group that has emerged in the last five years. Formed in the late 90′s in Huntington Beach, CA, this group changed it’s styles along the way. Now several CDs that have sold greatly, they are riding their highs, and not looking back. Another great live band, go see them before lead singer’s voice (M Shadows) gives out completely
So there you go. Between your weekend inebriation an the cool vibe you paid dearly for, suddenly, it is your mamma’s bands preaching to you. Well, think nothing of it. These are great bands with great messages and music. Just embrace them. Listen, I am not a bible thumper, quite the opposite. But I know great music when I hear it, and we have featured great music here, no matter the message. Look at it this way, this is no different than polically preachy bands, like say, System of A Down, who get into politics and such for their message.
Relax, and enjoy. Comments welcome.
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