Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Upcoming Shows

Third Day, arguably the hottest band in Christian music right now, is coming to Memorial Auditorium on the 22nd. Lincoln Brewster and Kendall Payne open the show. At press time, tickets were still available at area Christian bookstores, but were selling very fast. The show is expected to be a sellout, so if you can get a ticket I suggest you do it now! I'll see you there!

Another concert announced recently is the Xtreme Xplosion show on the 24th at the Kentucky International Convention Center. It's designed get youth excited about the upcoming "Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade." Salvador, Out of Eden and Earthsuit are scheduled to play. Bicycle Stunt Riders and members of the SAP Extreme Skateboard Team will be on hand as well. Admission is $5 and the event gets underway at 6:30 PM. To request tickets, email bpylant@bgea.org.

Ichthus 2001 is ready to go next month in Wilmore, Kentucky. Newsboys, one of most popular bands in the land (whose latest single, "Joy", is turning out to be one of their biggest hits ever) will be there. Also on hand: Jennifer Knapp, Delirious, Salvador, Nicole C. Mullen, Ginny Owens, Phil Joel, Lincoln Brewster, Pete Stewart, Tree 63, Aurora, Project 86 and many others. Speakers include Tony Campolo, Reggie Dabbs and others. For more information, check out www.Ichthus.org.

Concert Review: Living Sacrifice

Now for a review that could be in Laura Spalding's "News From The Pit" column as easily as it's in "Grace Notes" (and how often can you say that?). At LONG last, I finally got to do it: I saw the heaviest band in Christian music live! Make that one of the heaviest bands period: Living Sacrifice! I've been waiting literally years to see them in concert. Twice I was ready to drive to Cincinnati to catch them and the gigs got cancelled! I had waited several months for each of those gigs ...only to be disappointed when suddenly the shows evaporated. I've been a fan since '97, when someone gave me the group's breakthrough album Reborn. So, needless to say, I was pumped to FINALLY be able to see the boys live. The concert took place in January. It happened too late to get it in for the February issue of LMN, but I wanted to make sure and include it now. I'm not giving out the name of the club because the "atmosphere" was so awful I don't want to give them any free advertising. I'll elaborate on that in a moment.

Anyway, LS is currently touring in support of their latest release, The Hammering Process (I highly recommend it - buy it now!). If any fans of the group worried about them changing their sound, those worries were silenced with Process. It if ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Suddenly I'm reminded of Spinal Tap ("Heavy Metal Memories will make your brain explode and your eardrums cry for mercy...and it makes a great gift idea too!"). Well put. And LS has kept it the way it should be: heavy. When it comes to musical integrity, these guys are like the Pantera of Christian bands: forget the trends, forget the look, forget everything except making music that YOU would want to listen to. And for these guys, that's making some of the hardest music anywhere. Limp Biskit and Crazy Town are selling records? Maybe we should wear our hats backward, bring in some guest rappers and sing about the "rollin on doves" and "big pimpin'"! Sorry, not here, homie.

Live, LS didn't disappoint. After sitting - make that standing - through openers Hospital (one of the noisiest bands I've ever seen live, with a lead singer who screamed lyrics like Ben Stiller in the bathroom a la There's Something About Mary), LS took the "stage". OK it wasn't much of a stage, it was only about a foot off the ground. With barely enough room to move, the band (Bruce Fitzhugh, lead vocals and guitar, Rocky Gray, guitar, Arthur Green, bass, Lance Garvin, Drums, Matt Putman, additional percussion) tore into music from Process. I had only recently got the album and was still learning the songs, but I made out a few such as the opening track "Flatline," as well as "Burn The End." The band was tight and Fitzhugh's vocals were strong (still have no idea how singers can make there voices growl with that much intensity, like a heavy metal cookie monster from the depths of hell).

As LS ripped through cuts from Reborn like "Reject" and the title track, the crowd of about 300 screamed the lyrics in unison and squeezed in as close as humanly possible. The temperature inside the club steadily rose until it felt like it was 100 degrees (it probably was) and everyone, including the band, was nearly drenched in sweat. That's another way LS is like Pantera: loyal fans. I saw guys there that knew every word to every song, including the new stuff and yelled it at the band as if their lives depended on it. Afterwards I talked to a guy that had driven several hours to the show, and I'm sure there were others who had heard about the concert via the Internet and made the trip. So, in conclusion it was a great show, right?

Well, Living Sacrifice was great, no doubt. However, with only one song remaining (I know because I could see the song list behind Garvin's drum set), the apparent owner of the club stormed through the crowd and began yelling something into the Fitzhugh's face. I couldn't make out what the "owner" was saying, but I did hear Fitzhugh respond "How can I stop that? I'm on stage!". After that, the "owner", a 20-something guy who looked like he couldn't manage his own apartment, much less a club, began yelling that the "show was over" and for everyone to "get out". Of course, he said this with many choice words I can't repeat here. A couple of minutes later, the lights came on and the plug was pulled on the sound equipment. People began yelling in protest, but Fitzhugh told the crowd to take it easy, it was this guy's club and we had to respect his decision. He even went on to thank everyone who made the show possible, including the "owner". What class. And a great Christian witness to the crowd. With a number of teens in the audience, it was a relief to see Fitzhugh use the opportunity to set a good example. There was no way the show was going to continue, and getting upset about that wasn't going to help anything at that point. So what was all the commotion about? Well, as far as I could gather, from bits and pieces I heard, there was a fight outside and the "owner" blamed the band. Apparently the instigator was an LS fan. Obviously that's out of the band's control, but the "owner," who had probably never managed a show of that magnitude, failed to see it that way. Needless to say, I'll never see a show at that club again, and as I mentioned earlier, I'm not going to give them any free advertising here.

Bottom line: Sacrifice ruled and Fitzhugh was a class act. If you ever get a chance to see them live, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Check out Livingsacrifice.com for tour dates. Hopefully I won't have to wait another four years to see them.