The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Mar11Filed under: Ichthus Festival, Music, rc talk - Christian pop culture, Religion, Rupp Arena; Tagged as: Anthony Armstrong, Break Me Down, C.S. Lewis, Chris August, Conan, Faceless, Feed the Machine, Francesca Battistelli, Ichthus Festival, iTunes, Jason Castro, Joe Rickard, KJ-52, Kutless, Michael Barnes, Newsboys, NewSong, Randy Armstrong, reathe Into Me, Red, Rupp Arena, Sidewalk Prophets, Skillet, TBS, the David Crowder Band, Till We Have Faces, Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Until We Have Faces, Winter Jam
In 2006, the band Red released its debut album, hoping someone would listen.
The group wasn’t even on a label at the time, but slowly people tuned in to the hard-rock sounds of the disc, which spawned the hits Breathe Into Me, Break Me Down and a couple of other chart-toppers. The album ended up nominated for the Grammy Award for best rock or rap gospel record.
Five years later, Red doesn’t release albums quietly.
Quickly after the Feb. 1 release of Until We Have Faces, Red was hovering near No. 1 on iTunes’ sales charts, and the band was booked on TBS’s Conan and NBC’s Tonight Show With Jay Leno, national television debuts for the band.
“We can’t even believe the numbers that are coming in,” guitarist Anthony Armstrong said a few days after the album’s release. “Some amazing things are happening.”
For Central Kentucky fans of Red, one of those things is a slot on the Winter Jam tour, which comes to Rupp Arena on March 12. The bill is topped by the resurgent Newsboys, the David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, Jason Castro, Chris August, Sidewalk Prophets, KJ-52 and tour hosts NewSong.
But Red is easily the hottest band at the moment on the show, like many other bands successfully crossing the line between mainstream and Christian venues.
“We try to play the same way whether we are playing in a church or a bar,” Armstrong said at last summer’s Ichthus Festival. “We want people who see us to say, ‘Those guys are the same no matter where they play. They’re not putting on an act or trying to hide anything.’”
One thing Red showed very well at Ichthus, where it was the Friday evening main stage opener for Skillet, was that it could play to a huge crowd — sort of like the one it will see in Rupp Arena, where last year’s Winter Jam drew 14,756 fans.
If you are one of the Chronicles of Narnia enthusiasts who thinks book three, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was the best of the C.S. Lewis series, you can stop waiting for your cinematic ship to sail . . . at least from Disney.
Over the holidays, the Mouse announced it will not pick up its option to co-produce more films from the Narnia series with Walden Media. The studio said in a faltering economy it had to be choosier about the films it produced. Last summer’s Prince Caspian, the second in the Narnia series, was considered a disappointment after the success of the first film in the franchise, 2005′s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which doubled Caspian‘s domestic box office gross of $141.6 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
News was no better for another fantasy franchise, The Golden Compass, as Warner Bros. Pictures passed on producing its sequel after a disappointing performance by the first film over the 2007 hoiliday season.
We often complain Hollywood makes too many sequels, however these are two a lot of people wanted to see. But it doesn’t seem enough people were interested to justify the expense of more CGI-heavy epics.
Both cases illustrate why it’s hard to build a literary-based franchise.
They were all the rage earlier this decade, as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series swept into theaters, wowing viewers and leaving them itching for the next installments. As with any success, Hollywood wanted more, and the Narnia and Golden Compass series seemed like logical places to turn. Narnia has long fascinated readers, particularly Christians who had been flexing some financial muscle in the entertainment industry with successes such as The Passion of the Christ and a growing audience for contemporary Christian music. And Compass was from author Philip Pullman’s hit His Dark Materials series.
If the stories did as well on screen as they did on the page, Disney and New Line Cinema, Compass‘ original home, had built in tentpoles for several blockbuster seasons to come, like Potter and Rings.
But there were flaws with each series.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich