Friday night won't be your typical night out at the Cain's. If you're not familiar with the David Crowder Band yet, he's one of the artists at the forefront of Christian music's Praise and Worship movement, bringing a more progressive and experimental musical style to what can otherwise often be considered a sugary-sweet, candy-coated genre.
Though the crowd will likely be dominated by 20-somethings and college types, don't be surprised to see a group as diverse as the crowd at your Sunday morning worship service.
When discussing the upcoming show with the band's namesake David Crowder a couple weeks ago, he explained his connection with the younger audience. According to Crowder, the band's initial exposure was primarily from college kids passing music around.
As students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Crowder and his band mates were part of a new church start that was mostly made up of students.
According to Crowder, "Some of us who were more musically inclined started writing songs to articulate our experiences and relationship with God and the band kind of grew out of that. We're still at that church, still articulating our experiences and relationship."
Of course, once the band signed a deal with Louie Giglio's Sixsteprecords and radio took to the tunes, the music took on a life of its own and expanded the group's exposure well beyond college students.
As Crowder told me, "That's why the demographic is what it is."
The thing is, the Crowder Band's style doesn't fit what you'd normally think of as worship music. The band has a grand design and vision, but the music isn't as dated or simplistic and "churchy" as one normally expects from the genre. Instead, Crowder presents the songs with a hip and modern sound and more intelligent lyrics than many other acts, making listeners think.
When discussing the theme of the new CD Remedy Crowder said, "We're sort of picking up where we left off with the last album. We hinted at it at the end of A Collision, in the apologetic."
"We were going to follow up with the other side of those things, thinking about mortality and death," he continued. "As we were unpacking those ideas, we realized death doesn't win and if you reach that conclusion, you end up in a space that is hopeful."
"When we reach that conclusion, wed want to export that and be the story of God's redemption," Crowder went on, sharing that if the remedy is inside us and already at work, then you naturally want to share that with your neighbor.
Sure, that's evangelic and slightly heady, but the thing that really sets Crowder and his band apart is their ability to present those concepts with music that's more diverse than and not as predictable as his peers'. While he admitted there's some value in a standard pop song structure that's very cut and dried, that's not how the band writes or records.
"When we approach the writing process, we view technology as a compositional tool," Crowder told me. "We get excited when we're recording and use the studio as a composing device."
A single statement revealed much about the band's recording perspective when he continued, "One sound will unfold an entire song for us."
Drawing creative inspiration from a particular sound or feel quickly explains the diversity of sounds in Crowder's catalogue, from the bluegrass undertones of A Collision (which were delved into further on the B Collision EP) to the electronic remixes on the Sunsets and Sushi disc. As Crowder shared with me, the band has no problem jumping around musically and sees no need to only make slight musical progressions.
"If something catches out ear and takes us down a trail, we'll follow it," he said.
"If something moves you, it makes sense to want other people to experience the same thing."
Fortunately, as diverse as the CDs can be, the band's real strength is in its live show. No matter the mood or tone of the room, it always becomes a celebration. Electric guitar, keytars, strings, megaphones, you name it--everything gets brought into the live mix. And with Crowder leading the proceedings, the band always manages to turn a rock concert into a massive praise and worship service like you'll rarely experience in church, instead of the other way around.
With the material on the new CD, which is more direct than the last album, Friday night's show promises to involve the crowd even more.
"This record is different," Crowder explained. "We wanted people to just be able to sing to God. You know, if people are into the awareness of the reality they live in, the world will be a different place..."
From the chorus of the lead track on the CD, "Oh, the glory of it all is he came He came here for the rescue of us all" to the final lyrics of the title track, "You're the remedy, in us, you're the remedy/Let us be the remedy" the message is clear. It's spelled out even more clearly, with the banner inside the CD jacket: "Where there is pain, Let us be the remedy."
Even if it sounds cheesy in print, I can guarantee you it's not, especially when you experience it live. You'll have to be lucky to experience it this Friday night at the Cain's Ballroom. Tickets are $25 and recently sold out, but you might want to call and check with the box office on Friday afternoon to see if any extras get released. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm with Phil Wickman and The Myriad opening. By the time the evening is over, the Cain's might just have more in common with The Tabernacle in Atlanta than a roadhouse juke joint.
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