Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

It's actually a fairly busy month for contemporary Christian music in Louisville. Southern Indiana is in the mix as well.

Mark Schultz, Building 429 and Big Daddy Weave will be performing a benefit concert September 5 at Northside Christian Church in New Albany. Proceeds will support the "ROCK" organization of Southern Indiana. For more information, just call the church at 812-542-4034.

That same night, Hawk Nelson and local artist Mile 7 will perform at Graceland Baptist Church just down the street from Northside. Tickets are available through itickets.com. Advance tickets are $12. They go up to $20 on the day of the show.

Shane and Shane, along with Bethany Dillon (who is now married to one of the Shanes) will perform at Walnut Street Baptist Church, 1101 3rd Street. Tickets are available at the church and at LifeWay Christian Store on Hurstbourne Parkway.

Rush of Fools will be in town coming up on September 15 for a CD release party. The band will perform and you will have the opportunity to meet them as well. I've gotten to talk to these guys several times over the last year, and have impressed by how humble they are.

Their debut CD sold extremely well and radio was very supportive of their music right from the start, which is rarer and rarer these days. Yet the guys in the band have never seemed arrogant to me. I know when I was in my early twenties, I would have thought I was "God's gift" to the earth if I had a record deal. These guys seem to have the right attitude.

The party takes place at Evangel World Prayer Conference Center, 6900 Billtown Road. Tickets are $10 and include admission as well as a copy of their new CD, Wonder of the World. It releases the following day. Tickets are available online at wjie.org, as well as LifeWay Christian Store on Hurstbourne Parkway and Berean Christian Store on Shelbyville Road. Tickets are also available at the LifeWay location on Dixie Highway in Elizabethtown.

The Newsboys and Article One performed 0n August 18 at the Kentucky State Fair. I had never seen the "Boys" play a full set (I'd seen some smaller industry events where they played three or four songs). I had never seen Article One perform at all. I was impressed with both.

I was backstage at the beginning of the show and did not see all of Article One's set, but what I did see was very high energy and enthusiastic. My guess would be they were pretty excited to play in front of a crowd that size. I haven't gotten an official attendance count on the show Newsboys lead singer Peter Furler estimated it at ten thousand.

The Newsboys put on a good show. with lots of energy, lights, smoke, and even revolving drums. It's a big show, especially by contemporary Christian music standards. Earlier that day, I overheard a fairgoer in a Pantera shirt complain that he was going to have to take his mother to this "stupid" concert. Granted, he won't know the songs at a Newsboys concert, so that part will bore him-but it's a pretty good show. I've seen Pantera several times, and the Newsboys' live show can hang with them in their own way. What I mean by that is, while the late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was probably a more skilled guitarist than Newsboys' Paul Colman, the "Boys" lead singer Peter Furler had a better connection with the crowd than Pantera's Phil Anselmo. I guess it's a matter of perspective. The Newsboys opened the show with the uptempo and light-hearted "Wherever We Go" from their latest studio project Go. The song, written with Steve Taylor, features lyrics such as: "Wherever we're led/All the living dead/Wanna leave their zombie mob/It's a touching scene/When they all come clean/God help us, we just love our job."

Then, of course, there's older song "Breakfast", which they played later: "They don't serve breakfast in hell." In a format with lots of "serious" music, this is not a band that takes it too seriously. That also carried over into some of lead singer Peter Furler's on-stage banter, as he talked about the band stopping at what he called the "Ritz-Carlton" of truck stops in Kentucky: The Flying "J". Furler, who looks like a slightly shorter Billy Corgan and is Australian, said, "I love that place" like he was talking about his favorite restaurant.

Other songs included "Stay Strong" (their current radio single from Newsboys: The Greatest Hits), "You Are My King (Amazing Love)", "Your Love Is Better Than Life", "Something Beautiful" and "He Reigns". There's no doubt the most talked-about part of a Newsboys show is when Furler, who used to play drums for the band, has a "battle of the drums", so to speak, with current player Duncan Phillips.

The catwalk in front of the stage was expanded almost into the crowd. Furler walked to the end of it, where the stage crew had placed a small drum set. As he began to play a solo, the end of the catwalk began to rise, eventually towering over the front of the audience.

Phillips began to play as well, with his drums rising off the stage, tilting forward, and spinning. Of all the things people were talking about after the show, the drum solos may have been the most frequent. Granted, Tommy Lee was doing this on a bigger scale over 20 years ago, but the crowd loved it. I've been to many, many shows over the years and this was one of the best-received ever. Everyone I talked with afterwards was raving about it. Occasionally I will hear a few complaints ("it was too loud" or "I can't believe they didn't play such and such song"), but it was a love fest after this show. It was great to see such a big turnout on a Monday night at the Kentucky State Fair.

Coming soon: Mercy Me and Bebo Norman to Northside Christian Church in New Albany. The show is scheduled for November 20. Tickets went on sale last month, and at press time they were going fast. It's possible the show has sold out by the time you are reading this. My recommendation would be to check with itickets.com if you are interested in going.