Sunday, 4 October 2015

VERIDIA and Manic Drive Concert

Well, I haven't been very faithful in blogging this summer. Especially with a concert coming up. Now here I am, a few days after the concert finally blogging again about what actually occurred.

So, first a little catch up. My last post was that I had booked VERIDIA. Since then I had to find an opening band, work on the promotion and get it out to everyone, bring in sound equipment and lights for the production, organize a crew for the day, plan food, hotels, work with the local Christian radio station, and the list goes on. It's a good thing I had a few concert planning guides from attendstar and Concert Ideas. They were a big help in making sure I had all the bases covered. The websites are United States based and these organizations help with tickets and promotion in the US. So I couldn't use there services, but their information was great.

I tried to book a number of opening bands but was not having much success. On a whim is sent a note to Manic Drive. I didn't think  they would be interested in the small venue and the cost would probably be out of reach for me. Well, was I in for a surprise. Not only were they willing to be part of this concert, they would bring all the sound equipment and lights for the production for the show as well. And their cost for all of that was right in line with where it would work for this event. That contract as easy to sign and seal.

This past Thursday, Oct 1st, the concert was held. It was a long day, but what a blast! The guys from Manic Drive arrived around 11:00. After introductions and touring the church, we got to work loading in all of the equipment. Mostly they directed where and we hauled it in. The took the lead in setting things up, but even then they used the volunteer help to do a lot of lifting and moving. I was surprised at how quickly we were working as a team. A little after 2:30, everything was up an tested for Manic Drive and then the VERIDIA team arrived. So we started all over again with loading them in and setting up their set. At first I was a little worried we were in for some conflict when the VERIDIA guys had to work around. That was a short lived worry. The guys from Manic Drive and VERIDIA quickly talked through the set up, what was needed where and how the stage could accommodate both sets. Before long we were reorganizing things to have it all come together. Not long after that sound checks were done, the band merchandise areas were set up and everyone was ready for some dinner. Sometimes I think this part is as good as the concert itself. Band members, stage hands, volunteer crew, and a few extras all having a relaxing meal together, sharing stories and lots of laughter.

Of course, dinner is followed by the concert. There was a fairly good turn out, although we could have had a lot more people there. But the best part of a small show is everyone can get in close and really connect with the bands and visa versa. The bands had a good time. Those in attendance had a good time. That to me, is the measure of success!

The green men, getting into the crowd

Hard to believe we put this in our church, 30' LED, turn tables, lights. WOW!

VERIDIA connecting with audience

Deena and the joy of performing
Until next time, keep listening to the music, or better yet, show your support of the artists and go to their shows.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

VERIDIA in Concert - Sarnia

It has taken a bit of time, a few sleepless nights and a fair bit of planning, but I have booked a concert for this fall in Sarnia, and almost everything is ready to go! It will have been a year since the last concert I organized and promoted in Sarnia, but then again, these things take time.

So who is the artist I have booked, you may be asking?

I am pleased to announce the VERIDIA has agreed to come to Sarnia while they had a night off between shows in Detroit, MI and Columbus, OH, on their "Only the Crazy Survive" Tour. Kind of crazy, to add a show when you are on tour and already have a busy schedule, but then again, that's how you survive.

I first heard VERIDIA on our local Christian Radio station, Power 88.3, some time in 2014. Their song "Disconnected" was getting a fair bit of air play, and it connected with me. Then they were announced to be part of the 2015 WinterJam tour. I always go to WinterJam, and this year was no exception. Yes, VERIDIA was the first band up, but what a way to start the night! Of course, after the show I made sure I at least stopped by to say "Hello" and get them to sign their EP for me. I know, crazy kid fan stuff for someone my age. But I'm still young at heart, and music is ageless!

Anyway, it had been floated around in the back of my mind that maybe Sarnia could play host to a band like VERIDIA. That I could organize a concert for them here. Maybe in the fall of 2015. But then I saw that they announced they were going on tour though the fall, and I figured "so much for that idea". But when I saw they had a free day after playing Detroit. Well, what could it hurt to ask? So, here we are now, the band and venue are booked, the tickets are ready for sale, and all the little details leading up to the concert need to be worked.

That's right, VERIDIA is coming to Sarnia, Thursday, Oct. 1st, to play a concert at Redeemer Christian Reformed Church.  Tickets are available now, just click here! Don't miss out! See you there.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Family Force 5 and Warped Tour

So, we are less than a week away from Vans Warped Tour 2015 hitting Detroit. Last year was my first year there and it was interesting, to say the least. One day, 90 bands, 9 stages. How can one person take it all in? I had my idea of a few bands I would listen to. Mostly, I hung out with my daughter and we listened to the ones she was interested in. I heard a lot of bands that day, but there were a few memorable groups for me. My short list from last year would be Courage My Love, Echosmith and of course Icon for Hire (see my last post).

But what about this year? So I'm taking a completely different approach. There are a lot of pop punk bands and alternative rock bands on the tour. That's the music I like so I am going to hit as many of them as I can. Very simple approach. But for sure, I'm going to push to the front row for Icon for Hire and Family Force 5.

This is not my first round of seeing the guys from Family Force 5. Most recently on the 2015 WinterJam Tour and also a year before that at a concert they did in Port Huron with We As Human, Flame and V Rose. So, this will be my third time rocking with the guys from Family Force 5. In our family we have really grown to enjoy the Family Force 5 music. Yes, they can get serious about faith and life in there music, but must of the time it's fun, fun, fun! Song like BZRK, Sweep The Leg, Chainsaw, Jet Pack Kicks, and just for me Dance Like Nobody's Watching. Most of all, when they are on stage, it's just fun! The close they wear, is fun. The songs they sing, are fun. The way they perform, is fun. And they try very hard to get the crowd to have fun with them.

So, this Friday. The old guy with all the young kids in the front row, yeah, that's me!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Icon for Hire

I can't believe two months have passed since my last post. The idea for this blog was to be weekly posts related to music and primarily "Christian" music. Unfortunately, life is busy and I have missed seven posts. But, I'm not going away, so let's get to it.

"Christian" music. Why the quotes you may ask. Really, what makes music Christian? The fact is many of the bands and music you read about here may be termed Christian, but that does not mean the music tells a Christian story. The reality is that in bands making music, that if some or all of the members are Christian the band gets labeled a Christian band. Good or bad, that's the way it seems to be. Not always, but most of the time.

Icon for Hire is one of those bands. Ironically, I think their name speaks to this issue of "Christian" music as well. The "icon" or label used to categorize stuff so we don't have to think. Not thinking is not good. Listen for the music and the message and let's leave the labels out of it.

Although Icon for Hire claims it wants to be a mainstream band, their members are Christian. They were first signed by Tooth and Nail Records, again a "Christian" record label. Their first two albums went to #4 and #5 on the US Christian Album charts, much higher than on Billboard or the US Rock chart. So they are a Christian rock band. But anyone who says "I'm not interested in them because they are Christian" is missing out on one awesome fun unique pop/rock band.

I saw Icon for Hire during Vans Warped Tour 2014 in Detroit Michigan. I had never heard of the band before but I did check out their music before I went to the concert. I must say, their live show was just too much fun. It was actually the best part of my day. And they are on the Vans tour again in 2015. You know where I will be!

Want some fun now. Check out this video from Icon for Hire on YouTube. Make a Move, you'll be glad you did!

So, as this band is trying to help us see, let's forget the icons and check things out for ourselves. And, as for Icon for Hire themselves, check them out. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

BloodTypeG and Human Trafficking

A few weeks back I mentioned that I had gone to a MANAFEST concert back in December in California and got introduced to the band BloodTypeG (BTG) at the show. At the time I was not sure what to make of them as their blend of sound was totally unique to me. As their website says, their musical anatomy is a mix of a Rap-Rock heart and a Hip-Hop Soul. But their blend of personal styles was also very unique. Ela, the female vocal lead was dressed very classy and has a classy voice as well. Hashemi, the male vocal rap lead was dressed more gangster and the deep rap voice he has is totally different. And then there is Progc. Lead guitar, hard rock, long hair, jeans and T-shirt type. For their first song, my thought was, this guy is totally out of place. Church choir, gang rap and hard rock all mixed together. Who are these guys? Put on top of that the cultural / ethnical mixture of the members of this group. No wonder they are so unique!

So, needless to say, they were unforgettable due to being so different. I thought I would buy one of their CDs, just so I could listen to them again, but instead they gave me all three for less then I would have bought one normally. So glad I did, because I just cant get away from this sound.

Which brings me to part two of this post. A new band that interests me gets added to who I follow on twitter (@lavenderphoto) and Instagram (@lavenderphoto7). Through that follow I noticed that BTG was in a contest doing a Sting/Police cover as part of Rock Against Trafficking. If they win the contest they win a spot of the album being created by Rock Against Trafficking. So they did a cover of "Message in a Bottle". All I can say is wow!

After watching the video, if you would like to vote for them, go to Talent Watch and the Rock Against Trafficking contest and vote for Blood Type G!

I could jump to the other aspect of myself that looks at how we can impact the injustice in this world, but I will not in this post. But I will say that organizations like Rock Against Trafficking do get my support. Rock Against Trafficking (RAT) use the power of music to generate proceeds and resources to fund organizations who work directly in rescuing and rehabilitating abused children and prosecuting perpetrators, as well as creating global awareness of the horrors of child labour and sex trafficking. BloodTypeG have put that message into their song, even though it is a cover of an existing song. Extremely well done!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Newsboys concert March 27, 2015

A few weeks back we had the distinct please of attending a Newsboys concert again. Yes, I mean again. The first time I saw the Newsboys live was in 1997 when they had their "Take Me to Your Leader" tour. That was my first Christian rock concert. If I recall correctly, opening that night was MxPx followed by Third Day. Interestingly enough, those bands are still around today!

Since that first time in 1997, I have seen the Newsboys a number of times (like about 5) and every time I see them, they put on a great show and interact with their audience like they are best friends. Although I can't say I own physical copies of most of their albums (I have a few), their show is something I try not to miss. Duncan Phillips, the drummer, is one of the best out there, and someone you do not want to take your eyes off of, due to everything he does during and between songs.

Our local Christian radio station, Power 88.3 was playing host to the Newsboys "We Believe, God's not Dead" tour. When I mentioning it to my family that the Newsboys were coming to our area again, everybody got excited for this show.

The night started off with John Tibbs. Ever heard of this guy? Me either. He is about to release his first EP, but what a start for his music career. He is playing to sold out shows across North America because he is opening for the Newsboys. One guy, his guitar and some songs to share. We will see in the years to come what this new comer has to offer.

John Tibbs - one guy and his guitar
John was followed by Finding Favour. These guys took the dynamic of the night up a notch. They have been together for a while, releasing their first EP in 2013 and will be releasing their first album shortly. David NeeSmith is the vocalist for the group and new how to get the crowd engaged, cracking jokes and sharing his life. I expect I will be seeing these guys again in the future.

Finding Favour - southern rock worship
Next up was Audio Adrenaline (sorry no link, website was This current band called Audio Adrenaline is a bit of a mystery to me. The current four members of the band all started in 2015! Audio A started as a group in 1986 and released their first album in 1992. They had some early line up changes, but from 1996 through 2007 they were a fixed band. And then they took a 5 year break. Actually they all stayed on that break except one founding member, Will McGinniss, who restarted the band in 2012 with an entirely new line up. And then the line up changed again in 2013, and again in 2014 and again in 2015! Will is also out of the line up now. Most of the members of the new Audio Adrenaline are former members of other bands. So there is no lack of experience, but really, is this Audio Adrenaline? Needless to say, it's hard to predict what future this latest line up has. But as far as the concert went, these guys seem to be working together well and put on a great show.
Audio Adrenaline - changes
Finally, my concert favourites for the night, the Newsboys, took the stage! Talk about taking it up a few notches. The show was awesome. Duncan did his finest. We all had a great night of worship and rock!
Michael Tait - singing the songs

Jody Davis - on guitar

Jeff Frankenstein - on keys and other gadgets

Duncan Phillips - drums and facial expressions
Keep listening and enjoying the music.

Sunday, 5 April 2015


Last December, while on a business trip to California, I had the opportunity to see MANAFEST in concert. Usually, when I travel, I look to see if there are any concerts that I might be able to attend. For the hundreds of business trips I have been on, I have never attended a concert, do to some conflict or bad timing. But last December, that changed. For the first time I was able make a concert I was interested in.

I have seen MANAFEST in concert a few times before, and being a fellow Canadian, I wanted to make the effort to get out and see him. To say the least, it was an interesting night. There were two opening bands, the first that made no impression on me at all, but the second one was different and dynamic. If you are looking for a unique blending of music check out BloodTypeG. But more on them in a later post.

So, the place was almost empty, but regardless, the concert was performed as if the hall was full. MANAFEST (a.k.a. Chris Greenwood), put all his energy into his songs and worked on connecting with the small crowd that was there. But for me, the best part was after the show. Small crowd and Chris selling his own merch, made it easy to wait until he had helped other people and then just spend some time talking to him.

Two things followed out of that. One was his book that he wrote, I bought, he signed, and I read on the plane ride home. His book "Fighter" is a common sense book about facing your fears and having the courage to overcome them. Common sense, but something many of us face and struggle with. The second was a discussion we had about  a concert in Sarnia again. Hey, I've organized concerts before and Chris is a musician looking for places to play. So, for the last few months, that's what I have been working on. Details are not final, but I am hoping that in the near future, I will be announcing on these pages yet another concert hosted by MAD Entertainment.

Until then, if you haven't listened to the music of MANAFEST before, take some time to become familiar with him.