Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rev Gen 2009 Exceeds Expectations

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot capping off Saturday night's line up at the 2009 Revelation Generation music festival.

Christian rock, contemporary, urban, metal, acoustic and some genres yet undefined were offered at this year's Revelation Generation concert in Frenchtown New Jersey, Sept. 4-5th. With its professional sound & staging effects, it is easy to see how this event is one of the most well attended in the tri-state area. As a family oriented venue providing many types of music to sample, it is Delaware Valley's premier music festival.

According to concert promoter Sean Grom, over 25,000-30,000 people were expected this Labor Day Weekend and the weather plus the music made for a incredible turn out. Offering more than just great music, the Revelation Generation concerts have opportunities to minister and be ministered to. Five stages, games, skateboarding exhibitions, food and merchandise vendors make this a true festival in every sense.
Photo: Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay performing on Friday night. Together for over 16 years they released their tenth album, Long Fall Back to Earth this past April 2009.

Last Concert for Delirious?

Every concert has a story. Rev Gen is celebrating it's 5th anniversary this year. Their quest to provide wholesome musical and cultural entertainment has been met with success evidenced by huge increases in attendance each year. This is at a time when many other concerts are being cancelled because they can't fill the seats. People are looking for value for their purchasing dollar. Spending a day out with your children in farm country is becoming even more appealing as the economy continues to regain its footing.

This year was bitter-sweet as were watching one of the last performances by Delirious as a band. Impeccably dressed, all of the members showcased immense virtuosity while sealing the deal with their performance of My Soul Sings which will likely be their final CD. Better known for such spiritual anthems as the 1994 classic, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever and My Glorious, this is one of their last American dates.
Photo: Members of the British band, Delirious during a radio show interview in the press tent. This is the group's last tour according to Martin Smith (far right), who does lead vocals and guitar.

BarlowGirl & Fireflight-Women Taking Charge

With male bands dominating, it was refreshing to see some all women bands. Barlowgirl are three sisters and integrated groups such as Flyleaf and Fireflight. As many of the concert goers were young women this was encouragement for them to get involved and express themselves musically.

Barlowgirl did a fantastic job of reaching out to the audience both musically and emotionally. Speaking as a sisterhood, they spoke to the audience about choices and opportunities.

The family warmth they share extended to the crowd. Their playing was a little reserved perhaps because of their their family church origins. That's simply their performing mode. All the same the vocals were tight and well done. BarlowGirl has four albums out with another one being released on September 22 nd, 2009. Photo Above: Rebbecca Barlow on her Gibson during BarlowGirl's Saturday afternoon set on the New York stage.

Taking Flight

We also liked Fireflight as the women in that band were not shy to take some of the same risks as the guys do in post grunge. Fireflight played with heart but left the "croaking" to the guys in the band. Very well balanced between high energy and artistic expression. True to form.

Featured on tour with Disciple, Family Force 5 and Decyfer Down, Fireflight has also played Shoutfest. Their album, The Healing of Harms was their major label debut. This 2006 release reached #37 on Billboard Magazine's Top Christian Albums chart.
Photo: Fireflight taking off Saturday afternoon on the Philadelphia Stage.

Relient K, Reliably Rocked

Relient K, so named after one of the band member's cars by the same moniker. Known for their sometimes quirky, oftentimes moving lyrics and high energy stage shows, they are one band you will not forget. Although they are categorized as a pop-punk band, they defy pigeon holing. Their frontman, Matthew Thiessen, showed amazing versatility on the piano and guitar while holding it all down with solid vocal performances. Not afraid to sweat but still looking very fresh, the band gets big kudos for knowing what the audience wants and then bringing it.

Thiessen knows how to interact with the audience while keeping a tight hold on the set list. It was great seeing him switch from a Gibson to a trumpet for what he called one of the band's silly songs. There was nothing silly about their performance which got the audience motivated and involved.

Relient K's upcoming tour includes Australia this month with their new album, Forget and Not Slow Down, set for an October 6 release. To find out more about the band's concerts and CD's visit Relient K online.

Photo: Matthew Thiessen during Relient K's Saturday afternoon performance at Rev Gen. PODCAST ALERT!!! Hear our LIVE Podcast from Relient K's Rev Gen performance at Dr. M's Radio Show.

After their cross-over hit, I Can Only Imagine, MercyMe has sold millions of discs, toured the world and are consistently on the radio station's playlists. Why? Well perhaps part of the package is their warmth. Hailing from Texas, they are not ashamed of their Southern Baptist roots. While on tour last month, the band was involved in a fatal crash when a vehicle turned into the path of their tour bus. No one on the bus was seriously injured but all four passengers traveling in the car were killed. MercyMe has continued their touring despite this tragedy which says something about their convictions to their work in reaching people. Their latest album, All That is Within Me is being promoted amidst non-stop touring. They are also helping the Go Foundation which is a missionary cause. Visit MercyMe to learn more about their work and music. Photo: Bart Millard, lead vocalist. MercyMe's performance of I Can Only Imagine was a moving interlude.

The Revelation Generation festival is perhaps one of the best organized events I've covered to date. Most of the staff are volunteers and I have found them to be genuinely concerned with the safety and welfare of the concert goers. The grounds are clean and the crowds very well behaved with perhaps a little expected rowdiness amongst metal fans at the Philadelphia Stage.

One of the standout performances of the concert was Needtobreathe's Yahweh. What impressed me with the band's tightness and unity in playing. Their music video for this song reminds me of a Beatles theme. They are definitely the band to watch. There are concerts and there are events. This was a happening. Hands down the Revelation Generation Concert of 2009 was the best to date and a must-go for music lovers of all genres.
Photo: Relient K's bass guitarist, John Warne working that Fender during their Saturday afternoon performance.

For more information on the Revelation Generation concert series, visit them online.

All photos under Copyright 2009 Dr. M. All rights reserved.

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Rev Gen's 2008 Concert

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