Thursday, April 29, 2010

Show Recap: Comeback Kid @ Marquis Theater

What a fun night. Comeback Kid, my favorite band, was once again playing Denver, a city they've toured often. Unfortunately the last few times CBK have come through Denver they've been on some weird tours, including supporting Rise Against at Red Rock Amphitheater. I've seen them a few times over the years, and i was lucky enough to catch them on Scott Wade's last tour, in fact it was one of his last shows before he quit mid-tour. I am more of a fan of Scott's work as the lead singer than Andrew's, but between them both CBK is still solid.

This tour feature Set Your Goals as the headliner, a band that has as many haters as they do fans. I for one, am not really fan. The other bands in support were The Wonder Years and This Time Next Year, two bands that are alright. I had a soccer game this evening so i decided i would play, then jam down to Denver in time to catch CBK. My plan worked perfectly, as i was collecting my ticket from will call the crowd was filing outside for a smoke-break between the bands. as i headed inside i was just hoping that the break was before CBK, not after! But after seeing Andrew Neufield, frontman for CBK walking around with no sweat, i was confident that my timing couldn't have been better.

I killed some time before their set talking with a kid that recognized my Venia shirt, an up-and-coming Christian hardcore band out of Minneapolis. It was cool that he sought me out after seeing the shirt, not many kids know of Venia, yet. Anyway, i got a good spot on the stairs determined to catch at least one song on video before joining the fracas.

As usual Comeback Kid opened with False Idols Fall, a great song and a great opener. The energy was crazy, the venue was packed and the battle to be heard on the mic was on. If you want to know what happens at a hardcore show, basically every kid is battling to get a chance to scream some lines into the microphone, clawing their way to the stage, going over or through people on the way. After you cross the pit of hardcore dancers (think kung-fu meets roid-rage) you must work your way through the gang chorus, about 5-6 people deep at the front of the stage. then you must impress the singer enough that he'll pass you the mic, then you have to show that you know what you're doing and sing the right words. after that, you get your street cred! haha.

Anyway, after the opening song CBK barreled through their "hits" like Broadcasting, Die Tonite, All In A Year, Partners In Crime, Talk is Cheap, and i think Defeated. These songs are great for singalongs, and have sweet breakdowns as well. Andrew is a fine frontman, although he looks a little overwhelmed at times and in interviews he's admitted that he'd rather be on guitar than singing. Either way CBK was full of energy, and the crowd didn't disappoint with plenty of head-walkers and hardcore dancing, people were flying everywhere.

Comeback Kid took a moment to thank Denver for being a great place to play, and promised to come back in the fall after their new record comes out. Their last record was recorded in Fort Collins at the Blasting Room, but this time they opted to record in Canada (where they're from). After their little message the played Industry Standards, which was probably the least favorite song from their set, i'm not sure why they played it, but they did, and it only made the next song, Partners in Crime, even better.

Nearing the end of their set, Andrew led the crowd in a singalong of the chorus for Wake the Dead; "you said you said you said, this time was gonna be different...WAKE UP THE DEAD!" a few times before the band blasted into the song. this is easily the most popular CBK song, and rightfully so, it's pretty epic. They usually always close with this song and we all thought this was the end of the set so the place went off. For some reason though, they decided to play one more track, Step Ahead, but most of the place had already decided they were done so it was a little awkward.

After they played i decided to go home, apparently i was not alone in that decision as many others headed for the door as well. Another solid effort by Comeback Kid, when the come through in Fall on a headlining tour it will be even better!

my video of False Idols Fall:

False Idols Fall lyrics:
We’ve been counting down your days
Going over every false THING YOU SAY
We wish it could be different
We wished you stayed the same
Tearing down our idols
living life OUR OWN WAY
Taking the chance to say

All my heros are dead
All my heros are dead

Were we too blind to see you were only human like me
But we can’t help but feel
Empty words they're all you gave
Struggling to take back our days

They build you up to watch you fall
Can’t you see they can’t be what you want
You build them up to watch them fall

Where did we lose control
We thought it'd last forever

We're come and count away your days
Our heroes are not what they used to be (OUR IDOLS FALL)
Our heroes are not what they used to be (OUR IDOLS FALL AWAY)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Show Recap: Phil Wickham / Leeland @ Crossroads Church

I could get used to this! Nothing against my homie Aaron Britton but a "Night of Worship" led by Phil Wickham, Leeland and Matt Maher is pretty sweet!
The Mercer's and the Boyle's trekked down to Wheat Ridge to catch the A Night of Worship Tour co-headlined by Leeland and Phil Wickham. Wickham is amazing live, i've only seen him once before where he did an acoustic set so i was excited to see him with a full band. I've been a fan of Leeland since their first album but somehow have not managed to catch them live. The tour info indicated this was a "co-headline" tour which meant either could be the main act, it turned out to be Leeland this night.

We found our seats in this average size sanctuary of Crossroads Christian Church, actually it was 3 different section of General Admission, which i can't stand personally but whatever. The house-lights dimmed and we were greeted with 3 dudes on guitar and a piano player, playing common worship songs the typical church-goer would recognize (songs made popular by Chris Tomlin like Your Grace Is Enough). Expecting Matt Maher who i didn't know much about, i was surprised to see all three performers on stage, Leeland, Wickham, and Matt Maher, and Leeland's piano player Jack Mooring. The vocals were impressive, each having their own unique sound; Maher was strong and lower than the other three, Leeland has a higher range and some indie-sounding raspy tone, and Wickham is all over the place, crazy vocals as Randy Jackson might claim. I could get used to this team leading worship, incredible!

After 3-4 worship songs there was a smooth transition in Matt Maher, accompanied by Leeland's band. I was not super impressed with Maher's original stuff, his voice was cool but his lyrics were a little corny / elementary for my liking. he did however bust into Bob Marley's Everything Is Alright for a few minutes which was pretty cool. He only played about 3-4 songs before Phil Wickham was on.

Phil Wickham is currently supporting his latest album, Heaven & Earth, his third full-length album. It was a little different to see Wickham rocking an electric guitar, and with a band, but he pulled it off no problem. He opened the show with Eden off his latest record and then continued to move effortlessly into his collection of great worship songs like Cannons, True Love, Divine Romance, and In Your City. Wickham does a great job of mending songs together, leading into the next song usually with an insightful explanation of his lyrics.

After this group of songs Wickham brought out his acoustic guitar and let the band take a break. He lead into Safe, his latest "single" off of Heaven & Earth, my favorite track. Without the band you could really see that Wickham is most comfortable just playing his guitar and singing, his voice is spectacular. Unfortunately Safe was the only acoustic track we got to hear as the band made their way out and played a new track that according to Wickham he just wrote. he played probably 2-3 more songs and then it was intermission.

During the intermission Leeland, Phil Wickham, and Jack Mooring (Leeland) came out to make a presentation, showing a video of LEeland's recent missions trip with Food For The Hungry and presenting the case for FFTH. We were given the chance to sponsor a child right then, through Food For The Hungry, in either Cambodia or Haiti.

After the intermission Leeland was set to play. His sound is different than Wickhams in the sense that Leeland isn't so much congregational worship songs, but just rock songs that have lyrics about everything. It was a little harder to sing along with since Leeland's vocal range is higher than most people, and despite having the words displayed on the wall (same for Phil Wickham) a lot of people didn't know most of Leeland's material. We saw a handful of people leave during Leeland's set as well, i think a lot of people were there for Phil Wickham, i wish he would have headlined because Leeland is a great band if you give them a chance.

Anyway, they rocked on through Carry Me Through, Pure Bride, Yes You Have, Beautiful Lord, New Creation and my favorite track of the night; Sound of Melodies. Unfortunately i was waiting to take a video of Tears Of The Saints and they never played it, so i didn't get any video. I was hoping for more of a rocking set with songs like Opposite Way and Count Me In but i'm thinking that since the tour was billed as "Night of Worship" they skipped out on the rock songs and stuck with the corporate worship songs.