Monday, April 30, 2012

Music Monday - The Choir Concert!

I have mentioned previously that one of our favorite bands is The Choir. Their talent is exceptional. Their creativity and artistry is original. Their longevity is, well, long. Their first album was released in 1985 – “Voices in Shadows” – then called The Youth Choir. Some 27 years later they released their latest record: “The Loudest Sound Ever Heard.” With almost 3 decades of making music (my point is not to acknowledge their age…), There comes a respectable level of experience, perfection and just plain old good music.

We had the pleasure of seeing them live a couple of weeks ago, performing their “Chase the Kangaroo” tour. We had an exceptionally busy weekend (especially my amazing and gorgeous wife) and almost didn’t make it to the show. Perhaps it was a combination of needing a break from the busyness and my persistence in needing to experience and support this band at every opportunity at any cost (the show was free!!!), I don’t know…. But we made it – the two of us and 5 of the 6 kids!! And it was so rewarding! I have been following The Choir since 1991ish, this was only my second time seeing them perform – the first time with the 4-piece band.

The first time I saw them was almost two years ago as a wedding gift from my marvelous wife. We went to a cookout they had in Nashville, at Dan Michaels’ home. Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong played some of the “greats” on the patio with a small circle of fans. This is how cool the guys are: I went over to Dan, who was standing off to the side adding some commentary in between songs. I asked him if they would play a request – “About Love”, one of the top songs in the running for our first dance song at our wedding – just the night before. He said they would be glad to and he brought out his sax to play in that song just for us! (They all got a kick at the fact that we were there a day after our wedding just to meet and hear them. As if we didn’t have other things to do…..)

We saw Derri about a year later doing a side project with Mike Roe (Kerosene Halo). Before the show we went to talk to him, reminded him that we met at the cookout and he remembered us as the crazy couple who was there the day after our wedding. So last week, almost 2 years later, we get to see the full band play. It was such a good show. To hear Derri’s melodious voice, their skill in making music, and how they pull it altogether to make one harmonious sound is just captivating!!

Again, this is another way the band is way cool: After they played their set and went off stage awaiting the encore, I mustered up enough courage to go back stage and attempt to make a request. It was kinda funny, I pulled the curtain aside, stepped in and they were all standing right there – I almost ran over Derri as he was about to walk out. I humbly pled my case for them to play, you guessed it “About Love”. Perhaps a little shocked by my intrusion, they said ok, we’ll see. They ended the night with our favorite Choir song:

Sorry to call so late

The planet turned 4 times

You're on my mind but you're nowhere

In my world

Please kiss the little bird

God bless the cozy cage we share

You kill me

You thrill me

You threaten my dreams, girl

There's something wonderful about love

There's something wonderful about love

There's something lost about me with you

There's something blind about the chosen few

There's something wonderful about love

So, of course, after the show we hung around to say hello to the guys and introduce the kids. Derri recognized us right away, Steve and Dan knew they knew us from somewhere, and quickly remembered as we told them the story. They were excited that we brought the kids and took time to greet them all.

We were talking to Dan for a few minutes (showing off tattoos) when Matthias chimed in. He was really curious about this “funny looking” instrument that Dan played – curious enough to have the courage to ask him about it… Dan was so patient and kind to invite all the kids over to his “lyricon” to give them a little infomercial and demonstration. The kids were all very excited (as were we)!!

A lyricon is an electric saxophone that is shaped similarly to a clarinet. It is a pretty cool instrument (I think I need to have one…), you can change the sound to other instruments and even add in some neat effects. If you were to look up “lyricon” on wiki-pedia you would find a list of prominent lyriconists, and there in the list is none other than Mr. Dan Michaels!!

What an awesome group of guys!! But, don’t take my word for it. Check them out for yourselves. Whether you are young or “older”, there is something in their music for everyone. A “MUST” for any musical connoisseur! God has used the musical gifts he has given these guys to influence the Christian music scene for many years. The reach of their influence goes wide as they have worked with many many other artists. And Lord willing they will continue to do so for years to come.


At Chili's after the show. The kids were begging to go to sleep without brushing teeth or putting on pjs

Side bar from the wife – My favorite lyrics to the song differ from aaron’s:

When you get home come spring

Wont you be glad to be mine

Just don’t laugh

Please don’t cry

Just say so

We started dating in the spring of 2010, and it would make sense to anyone who knows us well, why this is my favorite verse.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Music Monday - Snow Patrol Concert

My gracious wife was kind and merciful to give me a couple weeks off the assignment. Now, I’m back in full swing…

Venue oddity #1

Last Monday night, Victoria and I had the privilege of going into Atlanta to see Snow Patrol in concert - one of our favorite bands. They played at the Tabernacle, a really cool place for a concert, although it has it’s share of oddities (maybe I’ll do a post on concert venues soon).

There are a few qualities that make a band/musician truly great. For me one on the top of the list is how well do they sound live. And I am talking mostly about vocally. Anyone can sound good on a recording. With technology as advanced as it is, the most tone-def person can sound talented. It wouldn’t be too difficult to compile a list of singers who can’t really sing. I don’t wish to offend, so please work on your own list.

Gary Lightbody

A few who have accomplished this feat (in my humble opinion) would be Chris Martin of Coldplay, Karen Bergquist of Over The Rhine, Derry Daugherty of The Choir, Dave Matthews of (you guessed it…) The Dave Matthews Band amongst a few others. And now added to the list is Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. It takes talent and a unique quality these days for a singer to stand out amongst the masses. Most people can sing to some degree and a few of those can captivate an audience both on an album and live. Snow Patrol has been able to capture this ability.

I think most people would agree that if they are going to go to a concert they have certain expectations. One, to be entertained of course, but also they want to hear in person what they hear on their favorite CD. As a listener, if I enjoy a show then I will follow a band throughout their career. If the guy can’t sing in real life then no thanks. There are plenty of truly talented artists that I would rather support.

Victoria and I really enjoy going to shows. We try to go as often as possible, but with ticket prices as high as they are, we have to pass on some concerts. We felt Snow Patrol was worth the expense (although it wasn’t too high). We chose their hit song “Chasing Cars” to be the “first dance” song at our wedding. So, yea, they are a big deal to us.

We love music, and we love live music. As I mentioned, we go to shows as we can. We are fortunate for the next few months we have some great shows lined up: I took the boys to see the 77’s last month, we saw a friend play in downtown Woodstock (keep an ear out for Jonathon Peyton). We just saw Snow Patrol this past Monday, We are going to see OTR (Over The Rhine) in a couple weeks with some dear friends (two great shows this month!!). We have tickets to see Coldplay in july (our anniversary present to each other). We will have our eyes open to fill in the gaps in between. Sadly we will have to miss The Choir this year…

God has blessed us to be able to enjoy these great musicians in a live setting. Since He created music for our enjoyment, then concerts are just an extension of that gift. He is so kind.


Preoccupying ourselves between acts!