In mid-August, David and I were wildly extravagant and rented ourselves a cheap hotel room in Florence, South Carolina, for the express purpose of stalking my two favorite bands in the whole wide world: Switchfoot and Needtobreathe. These two bands, each with a pair of brothers in the forefront, decided to tour together for the summer, trailing their warm-up bands with them, namely Colony House and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, respectively. So, it was a total blow-out of an evening, with four really good musical acts following one another over four hours. In case you’re keeping track, yes, I did this with my neck and arm still killing me, but hey, I had bought these tickets in February, as soon as my tax return came in, so there was no way I was skipping it.
We got there about an hour early, chatting with our neighbors—because it’s the South and we’ve never met a stranger— and, as you see, buying tour t-shirts before the first band came on. Just to let you know, we were not the oldest ones there, thank you very much. I did wonder how Switchfoot, in particular, felt about having so many old people in the audience, since they are a hard rock band. We gray-haired ones heard Switchfoot fifteen years ago, when our kids were teenagers, and became even bigger fans than they were. As my son says, they are an intellectual’s rock band. Truth. Neither were we the youngest, of course. I had a high-schooler named Elizabeth to my left—very nice, excellent taste in hats—and David had about five high school girls to his right who could go from zero to shriek in no time flat. It was startling.
Nobody expects much from the first band. Not even all the seats are full until about an hour after a rock concert starts, in order to skip the first band on purpose. When Colony House hit the stage, we all stood politely and tried to look friendly. They left us with our mouths hanging open and people rushing to the table to buy the CD. About the second song, I leaned over and yelled to David, “This drummer is awesome!” As a fellow drummer, David refused to be impressed and replied, “He certainly seems to think so.” (He did, actually.) Every song was excellent, and they finished with “2:20,” which has such deep bass that the air in the civic center was humming. In the last act of the night, Needtobreathe came onstage with two drummers, one of whom was the borrowed drummer from Colony House. I guess he really is good.
When we got back home, I gathered up some birthday Amazon gift cards and purchased their CD, When I Was Younger. It is easy to find: it’s their only album to date. They have released EPs in the past, but never a complete album. I’ve been listening to it fairly constantly for the past month, and I can attest that it stands up to repeated playings. It’s on my phone, laptop, and in the car. David also has it on his laptop. You would be correct if you assumed that I knew all the words. One of my first impressions was that they talked a lot about death and guilt for such young guys. After listening to the album several times, I wanted to know more about them and found out that the lead singer and songwriter is Caleb Chapman, and his drummer brother is Will Chapman. Name Chapman ring a bell? They are the sons of Stephen Curtis Chapman, which might explain how they became so talented at such a young age! If you know Will’s tragic story, it also explains the depth of meaning in his songs and his great sorrow. I, for one, rejoice to see him redeem his life so beautifully. He deals with his struggle in the song “I Won’t Give Up.”
As for the sound, it is original and generally upbeat. Caleb has a surprisingly pleasing falsetto in many of the songs, which I usually dislike, but in this case, my favorite song, “Learning How to Love” shows his voice to full advantage. It also has a very complex drum pattern that I can’t quite follow, but I love it! “Silhouettes” hits me right where I live right now, as does “Lose Control.” Their usual pop-rock sound turns to hard rock on that bass-heavy “2:20” My sister and I had recently complained that you could tell a contemporary Christian radio station without hearing any of the words. It’s the same sicky-sweet sound all the time. I guess that’s what you get when your biggest goal is to be inoffensive and “family friendly.” Colony House is signed with Descendant Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music, so they are able to take full advantage of their artistic freedom.
I highly recommend that you get in on this ground-floor opportunity with a new band. You can start now and collect their albums one at a time!
In other news, Switchfoot is home, writing their next album!!! I can’t think about this too much, or I will hop on a plane to San Diegoand run into their studio like Veruca Salt, yelling, “I want it now!”
*If you are unfamiliar with the Chapmans’ tragedy, you can look up Stephen Curtis Chapman on Wikipedia. Sorry, it just doesn’t feel right to provide a link.
* Veruca Salt is the girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who was a “bad egg.”