Friday night the Music Builds tour brought four big-name Christian bands to Minneapolis.
Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay opened the night with an excruciating early set time of 6 p.m. Kicking off with “Flood,” the band’s 1995 breakthrough hit — of which an alternative version appears on their new Closer EP — JOC did their best to translate their songs to the arena venue. Whether it was Target Center’s infamous wretched acoustics, or trouble back at the sound board, JOC had some sound issues that didn’t go away for the duration of their 35 minute set.
Dressed in white jumpsuits with a simple stage set-up, JOC wrapped up “Flood” and asked the crowd if anyone was at one of their very first shows in Bemidji (a few clapped).
It was great to hear the band expand the setlist to include some newer tracks like â€œCloserâ€ off their latest EP and â€œHeaven,â€ a track from their forthcoming studio album that lead singer Dan Haseltine said is tentatively scheduled for a March 2009 release. “Heaven” is a synth-backed rocker with driving rhythms that reminds me of Pitchshifter’s early material. Good stuff, and definitely a reason to keep JOC in mind this Spring. True musicians, after their set, some of the band members headed over to the Fine Line Music Cafe for Cold War Kids. That’s my kind of band.
It was nice to hear the band expand the setlist to include some newer tracks like â€œCloserâ€ off their latest EP and â€œHeaven,â€ a track from their upcoming studio album that lead singer Dan Haseltine said is tentatively scheduled for a March 2009 release.
True musicians, some of the band members headed over to the Fine Line for Cold War Kids.
In September 2004 I was in the former Ascot Room to see Macha open for Mouse on Mars. After the show wrapped, I snuck into the mainroom of the former Quest Club to see a party in progress. At the healm of the funkadelic freakout was Robert Randolph, who — although seated on a stool playing his steel guitar — had taken command of the audience who was literally jumping, shouting and singing like Jesus Christ himself was doing the two-step on-stage.
I imagine this is how all Robert Randolph stories begin. Something like, “So this dude is playing a steel guitar, and I’m a little hesistant. But, then he started playing, and now I’m a lifelong fan.”
Friday’s Target Center crowd also didn’t know what to think about RR. Kicking off with “Good Times,” the crowd literally sat and contemplated how much of a good time they were prepared to have. Of course, I’m giddy, on my feet and rocking out as RR digs into his steel guitar and the band funks it up.
But by the time RR and the Family Band (with little sister on gospel background vocals) hit the opening riff of “Deliver Me,” the crowd was on its feet and loving this guy.
Next up was â€œThe March,” which included a holy departure into When the Saints Go Marching Inâ€ and had RR and drummer switch places, then bassist takedrums and RR plays bass, then drummer takes bass and RR back to the slide. The organist apparently just sticks to rockin’ B3 solos.
Impressed by their musicianship is an understatement as the Family Band absolutely won over the crowd, my wife and even me, again.
Switchfoot seemed to be awfully popular with the young’uns at this show. I have one of their albums and thought it was a lot of overproduced powerchords and cheesy faux rock. That’s pretty much what their live show was — complete with vocalist Jon Foreman crawling over the stage (and later the crowd) like a drunken monkey. After watching RR’s masterful, versatile talents at work, Switchfoot seemed like amateur hour.
Eventually I cut out and went to the merch booth, where the guy at the booth told me they had completely sold out of all RR albums, t-shirts and other merch. YES!
Third Day was great, although I swear I heard them singing an unintended round with themselves thanks to Target Center’s acoustics.
Last December I first saw Jars of Clay and Third Day at a church in the suburbs. It was an intimate show and focused on both bands’ Christmas albums. However, it my first experience with both bands, and I was very impressed with JOC’s stage presence and musicality and TD’s command of the audience. Third Day put words from nearly all of their songs on the screen and turned the show into a worship experience.
That’s what I really missed at this concert. It wasn’t until three songs into Third Day’s set when I finally felt like the evening’s musicians were singing for more than the arena audience — for God.
More photos here.