Saturday, July 24, 2010

Creation NE Festival 2010 - Thursday

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!


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:

House Of Heroes

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:

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:


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:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Creation NE Festival 2010 - Wednesday

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?


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:

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:


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:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Relevant Worship Interview

Last year (2009) at Creation NE Fest, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite worship bands, Relevant Worship. Unfortunately, there was a lot of background noise on the recording so it never made it onto So here it is in print form...

How did Relevant Worship come together and what is the purpose of Relevant Worship?

Jeremy: Youth groups, a lot of youth groups. I’ve known some of these guys since I was like 14 years old so we’re all from churches in the area [Buffalo, NY]. We’re not all from the same church; we’re all spread out from different bands, music family. That’s how we met.

Anthony: [The purpose of Relevant Worship] is to show unity in churches and instill within our community the local church and how that fits into our daily lives.

Why did you choose the name Relevant Worship?

Jeremy: I think it was a term that was getting flung around a lot, a couple of years ago. It just kind of caught on, like “Are we really relevant?” The term relevant, relevant, relevant was just flying around. When we were trying to come up with a name, it was as simple as this is what has been on our hearts. We were doing college ministry and worship at the time so we needed a name, so we’re like let’s call it Relevant Worship. It’s been cool because it’s really challenged us to live up to it.

Relevant Worship pretty involved in outreach in its community. What are some of your recent outreach experiences?

Chris: Playing with kids, hanging out with kids; we do a lot of different types of stuff. During Thanksgiving, we went out and did this thing called Operation Thankful People. We put a scripture verse in a little bag with like 5 pennies and went out into the heart of Buffalo to bouncers and people that were hanging around and said the night before Thanksgiving, “Do you have five things that you’re thankful for, besides beer?” You get a lot of cool responses. We met someone that night whose wife just dropped him off on the corner at the city mission, which is a place for homeless people. I felt like God was speaking to me to talk to him right away. So I went over and he said, “Be praying for me right now because me and my wife just had dinner about getting back together. I really want to get my life back together.” You could tell the guy didn’t used to be homeless, at least he hadn’t been for a long time, he used to work for a record label. We just want to show people that God’s love exists in a place that you would least expect it. I think sometimes the church gets over-fed, we’re not actually doing anything about it. To actually go out on the streets and live the life, not just saying it, it really challenges your faith, it challenges your prayer life, it challenges all those things, to take it to a deeper level. Last week at our outreach some kid, part of our group, who saw a kid who had a bunch of tubes that were taped to his head and he said he just felt compelled from God to go pray for him and say only Jesus can heal you. There’s that term that say’s you have to fail to succeed, sometimes you have to challenge your faith in order for it to succeed. You don’t always succeed the first, second, third try, but I think God honors it. So we do various outreaches and things, we could go on for days about it. We’ve done prayer walks, concert events bringing kids together. We’re doing this thing on Thursday nights right now where we get three or four of the kids that are off the streets and we give them a salvation message, we have pizza, we have games for them, just give them hope. We have a canvas where kids come in and there’s a prayer time when kids can come in and write their prayer request on the canvas and actually get prayer. So when we come back the next week we get to see how these things are progressing. The word said faith is alive and active and we really want to see it be alive and active. Sometimes we don’t see it so much in the church because of our culture, because of our skepticism. We’re trying to get back to the roots of that.

You released “Anthem of the Redeemed” in 2008. Is this your first full-length album?

Anthony: Yeah, we have one other one that wasn’t really released. It was more for just friends.

What’s the meaning of the song “Ocean’s Wide?”

Anthony: I was on vacation in the Outer Banks and I was up early one morning and we were staying at a beach house that was really nice. This isn’t gonna be like a dramatic I wrote this when I was strung-out. *laughs* I was just on vacation and woke up early one morning, had my guitar sitting out on this deck that overlooked the beach and the water and it was really pretty. The sun came up and as I was doing my devotions the sun was reflecting off of the water, it sparked some ideas in my mind how God is bigger than the ocean. The second line is “let Your light reflect off my life.” The Bible says the sun was reflecting off the water and we want that as a prayer in our life. We want to reflect the best that we can, this big God that we serve.

Are you planning on going on tour this fall (2009)?

Anthony: No, we’re really committed to our local churches. Actually, all of us play or work or lead in a church at home. We will do some traveling but not really that much. Our commitment is to be home in the local church. Quite honestly, we’re not making a whole lot of money when we’re gone. We like to be in our backyards. We like to play and take the vision we have back home out on the road and do what we can. We play Saturday night on the main stage and then as soon as we’re done hopping in our cars because we gotta be home to lead at our churches Sunday morning. Touring is cool, but it’s a lot of work and it’s not for everybody.

Jeremy: We’re very about our community and our area. God’s placed us there. It’s like what can seven guys do? When we go out on the road it’s like a two-fold ministry. We want to encourage people to get out of the church and do stuff. That a lot happens in our area, we go out and it’s like it’s about giving back in our community and spreading those ideas around.

Anthony: That’s where most of the songs come from too. It’s kind of like our well. Although we don’t mind playing; we’ll go.

Jeremy: To make it work, it’s not the typical format. We’ll go out for weekends and be home on Sundays.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Superchick Interview

July 2, 2010
Creation Northeast Festival 2010

Superchick has been supporting the campaign “Operation Beautiful.” What is this campaign about, and how did the band become involved with it?

Tricia Baumhardt: Matt’s a huge supporter of it.

Matt Dally: Yeah I’m a big supporter. I found this girl’s blog on the internet and I was just really impressed with the fact that she’s big on empowering young women-

Tricia: He’s lying right now.

Matt: -to be beautiful. What she does is she takes little sticky notes and puts them on bathrooms, or any other place, that says stuff like “You’re beautiful”…

Melissa Brock: …just the way you are.

Matt: So it kind of just makes you smile. When I go into the girl’s bathroom-

Melissa & Tricia: *laughs*

Matt: -and I see sticky notes that say “You’re beautiful,” it makes you feel warm inside.

Melissa: No, but seriously…

Matt: That was a pretty good answer, even though I’ve never answered it.

Melissa: He is pretty close though.

Tricia: Somebody from our label actually just happened on this girl’s blog and found this chick and she had a ton of followers. I don’t remember how many people were following her but, it started out she just blogged and she started thinking it would be cool to leave little notes in places to make people smile. She started posting pictures that she would take with herself and she would write a little note on a mirror. Her blog grew so much because girls thought it was so interesting and girls started doing it and sending her pictures of what they were doing. So it ended up, she started a website and kind of started this whole thing.

Matt: She helped start a revolution really.

Tricia: She doesn’t sell anything; it’s not to raise money. It’s purely to make people smile. So, we started doing it. She uses our song “So Beautiful” on some of her video montages where she shows a bunch of people from all around the world that are sending in pictures of their way of making someone smile. We try wherever we go to take little post-its and leave them and take a picture. So, we were just in Europe and we did it there. It’s a little way to do a good deed and make someone feel good about themselves. To remind them “smile, you’re beautiful.” It’s kind of those simple things in life I guess. But I think it’s interesting that so many people have gravitated towards it. You want to think that there are good people who want to make someone feel beautiful or make someone feel special. And there are; they’re all over.

Superchick recently released its second remix album. What made the band decide to release another one?

Matt: I think it’s almost been a trend where after we do two full-length records and say, “Wow, there’s a bunch of songs that we did that if we had more time we could’ve done this better or done this differently.” And so, luckily, we own our own studio and kind of do everything ourselves. So we have the opportunity to constantly go back. But there’s times when we turn a record in and right when we turn it in we’re like, “Oh, we should have done this.” And Max goes to work and starts writing a remix. So, it’s something that’s fun for us. It’s really cool to able to take a song that maybe we felt like, “Wow, this is such a fun, poppy song. How do we make people hear the seriousness of this lyric?” Sometimes it’s just darkening a song or having a serious song and making it more poppy. It makes it a little more fun. I think, for our music, our lyrics are very serious and sometimes people mistake it for the pop music that’s behind it- that it may not be as powerful as it really is. But it’s funny when you change the music how lyrics start popping out, and how themes start popping out that sometimes you didn’t even realize like, “Wow, that lyric is deep, that’s a deep song. That’s not just a little pop tune that was fun to write.” So it’s cool. And there’s new songs too, which is always exciting- to be able to put new material out there.

Tricia: There’s three new songs, and we’re working on the next album.

How is the process of recording a remix different than recording a regular song?

Tricia: What’s cool is you keep all the lyrics and pretty much the vocal melodies. There’s kind of a freedom about it because when you’re originally writing it’s like, “Okay, well do you like that guitar part?” Because everything you put kind of changes the song. With our band, we tend to triple guess ourselves like, “Here’s another take, I added this guitar. What do you think?” And you really have to decide- like, “I’m shaping the song.” When you do a remix album, you get to take it apart and have fun with it. It feels like there’s a freedom of like, “This isn’t the original, we’ve already got the original, but now we get to have fun.” So I feel like the boys take chances that they normally wouldn’t and go edgier on things- more punk or more rock or more hip-hop, because they can. It’s expected to be a little more dramatic on a remix album. It feels like playing, so it’s a lot of fun.

Do you play any of these remixed versions live?

Tricia: Yeah, actually our last remix album, the “One Girl Revolution” that we play live is from the remix album. And we’re playing a couple of the songs when we play them live.

Matt: We think the remixed versions are better sometimes. A lot of times when we play a song, if there is a remix version, chances are we’ll play that.

Tricia: Or maybe it’s new and we’re tired of the old version. But I think it’s cool for the crowd to hear a song in a new way. So even if they’ve heard it one way on an album and we play the remix they can still sing along. But they’re like, “Woah, that sounds totally different!” So it’s kind of cool; it gives them something new.

Melissa- I hear you’re writing a book titled Courage. How far along are you with that, and can you tell us what the book is about?

Melissa: It was just about a month or so ago that I setup the email for people to write in. And I’ve gotten so many emails, so many stories and things like that. So right now it’s just the sifting through process. I met with a woman who works with Mercy Ministries in Nashville and she deals with eating disorders. So she’s kind of helping me with the actual writing process because she’s written some books and she’s knows a little more about it- kind of how we’re gonna incorporate stories into my stuff. I don’t want it to be just stories; I want it to have help in it like, “You can read this and then here’s some things you can do if you’re in this situation. Here’s some websites you can go to or here’s a number you can call.” I don’t want it just to be like, “Well, here’s some cool stories for you.” Someone who’s really in a desperate situation, they need to talk to someone. So, I want it to be kind of a well-rounded book. It’ll be finished hopefully by the end of this year.

Melissa and Tricia, you both traveled to Uganda earlier this year, what did you guys do down there?

Tricia: We went with Compassion International. My sister Melissa has two kids down there that she sponsors, so they kind of try take artists and let them meet the kids that they sponsor, if they can. She went there one other time, so we went and she got to see them again. We were there for five days and we went to see all these different projects. They have projects where they’ll have classes to teach women who are pregnant- how to have a clean, safe pregnancy, and then health- how to take care of their kids and make sure they’re getting enough nutrients. So many people there get sick and they die because they don’t go to doctors. So, it’s like basic stuff that they’re teaching these mothers to keep their kids from getting malaria. Every day we would go to a different project, one was with kids and mothers who had AIDS. So Compassion gives them food and medicine to keep the AIDS on hold. They can live a decently long life on it. It’s amazing to see in these little villages, like maybe fifty kids would be in the sponsorship and how different there lives are from the other kids in the village.

Melissa: The biggest purpose of these trips is that when we’re out there at shows trying to get people to sponsor these kids, we’ve seen that it really does make a difference. We’ve seen first hand that the projects really do exist. And we’ve seen the kids that have food on their table everyday because of somebody’s sponsorship. It’s a cool experience to get to see. We’ve worked with Compassion for five years, so we believe strongly in what they do.

Tricia: You stand on stage and talk about it, and they [Compassion] want you to know that you’re not talking about a myth- like a check goes somewhere and maybe a kid gets it. But these families, usually the kid you sponsor, the whole family can have enough food because of the help that Compassion does. So it doesn’t just affect them, it’s the whole family. And they do it all from a local church, so that family can see the church helping them. It’s not just like these rich people from the United States, you know? And they also help them start businesses. A lot of the women make jewelry and things like that. So sometimes Compassion will give them a small business loan that they pay back to start up a business selling vegetables or fruit in their town. It’s really neat. It gives them a chance to step out of poverty. Most of them don’t have enough money to ever consider starting a fruit stand. But with a little help they do, and then they pay it back and they keep going. So it’s really neat.

Any tour plans for the fall?

Melissa: Yes, a Reinvention tour.

Matt: It’s us, Manafest, Me In Motion, and Bread of Stone.

Tricia: Yeah, so we’re excited. We don’t have all of the dates yet, but look up our website; come see us!

From L to R: Tricia Baumhardt, me, Matt Dally, Melissa Brock, Chase Lovelace

Friday, July 9, 2010

Review: John Mark McMillan's The Medicine

The Medicine is a rare album, but then again singer/songwriter John Mark McMillan is a rare artist, at least in mainstream Christian music. His lyrics are universally relatable yet intimate, organic yet eloquent, simple yet profound. But if there was only one word to describe John Mark’s lyrics it would be “real.” These aren’t the lyrically polished, sugarcoated message type of songs that you hear on the radio (and this is, unfortunately, the reason why many of these songs will not get the radio exposure they deserve). Take the title-track, “When you said you weren’t afraid to die/I don’t think you brave for it/I just think you’re more afraid of being alive” or “Between the Cracks,” “He’s singing when are you gonna come out from behind these paper thin walls of your cardboard box reality.” Few artists write with such audacity and honesty. The instrumentation that carries John Mark’s songs is just icing on the cake. From indie rock to folk, the music on this record is therapeutic.

Top tracks: “Skeleton Bones,” “Carbon Ribs,” “Ten Thousand,” “How He Loves”

Rating: 5/5

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School: Arcadia University '11 Major: Accounting