If you were a 12-16 year old kid or teeny bopper looking to gaze at pseudo popularity, the Cain’s was the place to be on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Popular Christian pop/rock group Relient K put together an entertaining evening of music and show to a very small crowd. Call it a school night audience, call it weak publicity, or call it a lame bill, whatever you call it may be spot on.
Openers were Seattle based, Barcelona and Copeland a band out of Lakeland, Florida. The first band, Barcelona was entertaining. They had good stage presence and energy. Really did a good job of connecting with the audience. Had some catchy songs and the guitarist, Chris Bristol, showed some moments of that were the stand out of the set. Shifting from playing guitar to playing a small xylophone that had some of us thinking it was piano being struck. Singer, Brian Fennell, has a very strong voice and great range. These guys interact well together on stage.
Next was Copeland. I will be honest and not sugar coat this. These guys may need to call it a night. Nothing about this band stood out and I found myself thinking, “I am at a concert and I am very bored.” I decided to walk around some and see what the crowd reaction was, judging from the people staring into cell phone screens and not really even paying attention to the events on the stage I would have to say, I may not have been the only one bored. If ever there was band suffering from LSD (Lead Singers Disease) it is this one. He was the only one that sang, the only one that spoke and what the heck was that opening song all about. Way to grab the crowd by the throat. Your voice, your guitar and 4 other guys standing around looking at you like, “Really?! This is what we have to open our set with?”
Finally, in what seemed like a lifetime, Relient K was set up and ready to take the stage. Kevin Pyle and I were trying to figure out what the deal was with some of the stage set. There was a boats life ring hanging off the front of the piano and fishing nets hanging from the guitar stacks. Things that make you go, “Hmmm?” Lights go out and lets see what happens next. Ah, a familiar sound reaches my ears and takes me back to when I was 8 yrs old, “Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale…..” Yes, the Gilligan’s Isle theme! Aces! Suddenly the band emerges and the show starts. I mean literally, everything leading up until that time could have easily been axed.
Relient K is a very energetic, tight knit group that has a unique way of drawing the crowd in and making them part of the show. It may not be the biggest name in Christian music today but they do have what seemed to be a loyal following. Their songs are very uptempo and catchy fun. Looking at the audience at this point was a complete 180. It was as if a curtain had been lifted allowing the fans to lean in and get intimate with what they had come for. They have a very playful, youthful sound and wit. Nothing over the top or too showy, just entertaining. Lead Singer, showed his quirky sense of humor in leading the band in a short tribute song to “The Office.” Stating that he was a very weak fan because he hadn’t gotten caught up on the show. It is okay Matt you were busy tonight trying to rescue a doomed concert.
Overall, Relient K was solid. Catchy, fun and energetic. Have been around since December 1997 and look to have a firm hold on the future. Good things for these guys and possible for Barcelona. As for Copeland, may want to look into using your Emo skills for something else.
About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so.
Photos: Kevin Pyle