Needtobreathe rocks crowds at Calvin and debuts unreleased songs

File photo.
File photo.

On Wednesday night Christian rock band Needtobreathe performed for their first time at Calvin College’s Covenant Fine Arts Center for its 2013 ‘The Stomping Ground Tour.’

The show started off with a performance by opening band The Wild Feathers, who sang a mix of rock and roll, blues and country.

“They’re the first band on the road more redneck than we are,” said Needtobreathe lead singer Bear Rinehart to the audience.

Following intermission, the hundreds gathered at the sold-out show were entertained by a funky jazz tune introducing the band, prompting the crowd to rise their feet in anticipation of the incoming band.

“Nicest place we’ve ever played in Grand Rapids,” said Rinehart. “When we say nicest, I mean it’s the cleanest,” he added as the audience laughed.

However, Rinehart assured audiences that the concert would be no different than others. “Don’t let that bother you tonight, ‘cause it’s still gonna be a rock and roll show,” laughed Rinehart.

And a rock and roll show it was.

The band, which predominantly creates a fine mix of the piano along with country-styled elements including the banjo and the harmonica, brought about an air of excitement for the audience.

Accompanying the show was a distinctive and tactical use of lighting, which complemented the intensity and zeal of the fast-paced performances.

The brothers Rinehart also showcased their enthusiastic and restless fervor for live performance with Bo Rinehart dancing the stage as he strummed his guitar to the beat of the music. Both brothers also delighted the audience with their notable guitar solos, bringing a rock and roll performance to those gathered.

The band did not only captivate the ears and eyes with their rock and roll music, but also featured several slower songs, including “Haley,” a song which Bear Rinehart said was about heartbreak and was also one of the first records they wrote.

Throughout their performance, the audience was entertained by many songs, including their hit singles “Washed by the Water,” “White Fences” and “The Outsiders,” the last of which Bear expressed as “a song about being yourself even if it don’t feel right.”

The group of five also articulated their love for the music and their work on their latest record.

“We’ve been doing this for 13 years, and it’s been amazing the whole time … we are still making a record; it’s been the longest time to make a record,” said lead singer Bear Rinehart to the audience.

The band, which last released an album in 2011, has been in the process of working on their new album and during the show Wednesday night performed some of their latest unreleased songs to eager listeners. These songs included “Oh Carolina” and “Difference Maker,” songs which had been performed at prior concerts.

Following an encore performance, which included the single “Keep Your Eyes Open,” the four members moved their performance to the balcony and crooned an acoustic version of “Something Beautiful.”

The voices of the four singers brought out an feeling of calm and tranquility as fans were entertained to not only a spectacular harmony of the performers but a period to reflect on the presence of God in that room.

What we are seeing as listeners to Christian music today is an increasing use of various genres to exhibit praise and worship for God.

This continual transformation in music and worship by Christian artists, and particularly by Needtobreathe, shows the contemporary music lover and faith follower that God can be exalted in ways that carry out not only the best in us but the best through us.

Through their music, Needtobreathe and many other contemporary bands have brought forth a valuable approach to reaching out today’s millennial Christians through their faith-infused lyrics, reaching to both believers and nonbelievers.

In an interview with Relevant magazine in 2011, the Rinehart brothers said, “We have never been a band to reject people who love the music. Some people want their fans to be a certain thing, and we want our fans to love music. However they come, it doesn’t really matter to us because I think the level at which we relate to them is all about the music.”

That night what the audience left with was an experience of sensational rock and roll worship, bringing the glory of God through the music of a group of two brothers and their band from South Carolina.

About the Author

Alden Hartopo

Alden Hartopo is the Chimes Online Editor for the 2014-15 school year. He is a senior from Jakarta, Indonesia studying Economics and International Relations. Alden believes that campus journalism is key to maintaining transparency and communication between the college and its stakeholders. He has previously served as the Campus News Co-Editor for the 2013-2014 school year.

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