Friday, September 22, 2006

Music Report

So, I went to Lufkin, Texas last night - a two hour drive from my humble abode in North Harris County - to attend the Sara Groves concert at the Texas State Forest Festival. (In fact, I even got my lovely bride and little princess to come with me, tempting them with a petting zoo and carnival.) As I previously mentioned, besides Sara Groves (who said she didn't believe them when they told her before leaving chilly Minnesota that it would be 90oF here) the show opened with Leeland, Ana Laura, and Anthony Evans (in that order). I'll give you a brief report on the show, what of it I can convey.

First, I'll rate the audience. Having seen my wife in many plays, and gone to countless others with her, I know that the audience is half the show. The people on stage can poor their hearts out, and if the crowd is just sitting on their hands the show will come across dead. There is only so much a group can do to wake up a dead crowd. This crowd, it wasn't dead, but it was definitely on its way to hospice care. You must understand, there was a carnival, chainsaw carvers, an alligator wrestler, pig races, and a petting zoo in addition to the music festival: the crowd changed after practically every song, with people coming and going, eating kettle corn, sausage on a stick, and turkey legs, and chatting amongst themselves all the while. There were only a few people who stayed in place for the entire show so it was hard to keep a vibe going through all this.

First up, as I said, was Leeland. These young fellows from my neck of the woods have been getting a lot of hype over the last few months. They open with a nice, rockin' number - "Reaching". What really came across about these guys was 1) boy do they look young (or maybe I just look old), 2) they want to lead in worship, not put on a performance, 3) they've got some talent and I think we'll keep hearing about them, and 4) from chatting briefly with a couple of the guys after their set, they are nice, humble guys - really interactive with their audience. If you haven't heard their music, check it out soon.

Next up were Ana Laura, followed by Anthony Evans (neither of which traveled with a band). I would love to give a better review of their sets; however, a three-year old girl can be pretty demanding, especially when we walked by a petting zoo to get to the seats for a concert that was (in her words) too loud. So we adjourned for a little while to hit the petting zoo and the carnival. I did manage to hear one song from Ana Laura and three from Anthony Evans, and I enjoyed what I heard.

After the three half-hour "warm-up" sets, Sara Groves came out. Or, I should say, Kirby Groves came out. Kirby is Sara's oldest boy and has the pleasure of introducing his mom at every show. Usually, Sara's other son, Toby, introduces Kirby; alas, he fell asleep a little too early this night. Sara came with a small band - herself on keyboard, her husband, Troy, on percussion, a bass player, an a backup vocalist. Her show was very intimate: she shared her goofy sense of humor, the things that inspire her in her writing, what she tries to convey in her music. My wife is correct that I really like "talkie" music, and this is what Sara Groves does best. She is very conversational, and her music is just one form of conversation that she employs. She talks about God, seeking Him and living in Him, what it means to work for God (not in big things, but in the little, daily things) and, through her openness and honesty, draws you into the conversation with her. Very warm, very friendly, her show was what I drove up to see.

Overall, apart from a what I would consider a lack-luster crowd, the evening was well worth it. I heard some very good music, was drawn into worship and reminded of who God is and who I am supposed to be. Beautiful.

(On a side note, please pray for Erin. While we were at the festival, she twisted her ankle and its been sore and aching since.)

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Seth Ward said...

I am a fan of Sara myself. Good taste my friend. Lack-luster crowds kinda suck. But, you take the good with the bad. I think it is so strange that one night you have people dancing in the aisles and they are telling you it is the best thing since sliced raisin bread, all with tearful stories of how God had blessed them through a certain song then you can play a coffee shop like tonight and they act like they could really care less.

Anne said...

I know all about this type of crowd. I used to be a singer (for a living). If it makes any difference to you, the artist DOES notice those who are listening and even those few (or one) are important to the artist.

But, it does make for a GREAT show when the audience is feeding off the performance.

I miss it - a lot.

euphrony said...

Anne, what kind of music did you sing? You mentioned that you listen mostly to bluegrass; was that what you sang? Just curious. (As I type this, I'm listening to Nickel Creek's "The Fox", by coincidence.)

Anne said...

I really like Nickel Creek. Yes, I used to play rhythm guitar and sing lead vocals in a Bluegrass group and then on to a rock band, then country. Now I just sing in my living room to my kids in my jammies. At least I get to perform for someone. :)

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