NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Hundreds of Christian rock fans from across middle Tennessee gathered inside a small, grungy building in downtown Nashville to welcome some of the nation’s most popular alternative Christian bands currently traveling the nation on the Electric Youth Tour.
The nationwide tour includes Ace Troubleshooter, John Reubon, Relient K and, the highlight of the show, Five Iron Frenzy. The two-month tour, including stops in 49 cities, arrived in Nashville at 328 Performance Hall on Oct. 18.
One of the first things I noticed upon arriving at 328 Performance Hall was the overall environment of the place. The rundown building was littered and had spray-painted signs all over the brick walls.
The interior of the club revealed very little in the way of encouragement. The first thing I saw when I walked through the door is the bar, along with signs scattered around the place advertising beer and liquor.
I found myself wondering, “What’s a Christian band doing in a place like this?”
“The one thing that bothers me the most about this place is the liquor and beer signs,” said Josh Holmes, 16, from Smyrna, Tenn., pointing to one above his head. “I hate it.”
However, the non-church environment did not seem to bother most fans.
“I like this club,” said Will Shinnick, 15, of Franklin, Tenn. “It’s a great place to have shows and to have a fun time while doing it.”
“It’s different and neat,” said Valerie Hearst, 18, from Murfreesboro, Tenn. “It definitely adds to the style of the music.”
“Rock n’ Roll just doesn’t fit in a [church] sanctuary,” Matt Thiesson, lead singer of Relient K, said. “The place where you listen to a sermon on Sunday morning is hard to be transformed into an environment fit for this type of music.”
Still, the artists do try to perform in churches and other Christian venues.
“We realize that some Christian parents won’t let their children come to some clubs that we perform in so we try to balance it out and play at churches too,” said Brad Dunham, Five Iron Frenzy’s trumpet player.
However, I must admit that after the concert got started I was having too much fun to even notice my surroundings. The artists themselves were very entertaining and provided a great and often amusing show.
“We try to have fun onstage,” said John Warren of Ace Troubleshooter. “Non-Christians usually have their own mindset about what Christians are like, but when they see a crowd full of them having a good time listening to a band that doesn’t swear, curiosity gets the best of them.”
The artists said they want to make sure that what they do onstage and off is a ministry.
“Playing worship songs at a concert is new for us,” Thiesson told Baptist Press, “but we think it’s a cool thing for us to do.”
“Any band that provides an alternative to negative lyrics is a ministry, so we believe our band is a ministry,” said Reese Roper, lead singer of Five Iron Frenzy. “Whether it means talking to people after the concerts, providing them with a fun show without the negativity, or the way we live our lives off and on the stage.”
The Electric Youth Tour is not for everyone, though. As you might expect from the name, it is aimed towards teenagers, especially teens who like extreme music such as ska, punk rock, and rap.
And because of whom it’s aimed towards, anyone who attends the concert can expect to find plenty of loud music and mosh-pits in the crowd.
If you do not mind the environment, the loud music, some moshing, and you are a fan of the music style, then this tour is right for you.
Otherwise, I advise you to stay home.
For additional information on the Electric Youth Tour, including concert dates, check out www.fiveironfrenzy.com.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net.
Photo titles: STANDING ROOM ONLY, HANGING WITH THE BAND, RELIENT K and A FRENZY.