The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Third Day’s Mac Powell walked into enemy territory Saturday night.
Stepping up to the microphone in the home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, he admitted, “I’m a big Alabama Crimson Tide fan,” to a hearty round of boos.
“How can you boo me when you destroyed my team?” he asked, referring to Friday’s 73-67 UK victory over ‘Bama in the SEC Tournament. “You gotta admit we drained y’all. You barely beat Tennessee,” he added, to laughs from a crowd well aware the Cats pasted the Vols by 29 points Saturday afternoon.
Powell moved toward common ground saying, “Can we all agree that Tennessee orange is just nasty? Well tonight, everybody’s on the same team. We all love Jesus, right?”
With that, the Christian Southern rockers launched into Born Again from Revelation, the Georgia band’s latest chart topper. And Third Day topped the bill at Winter Jam 2010 which rolled into Rupp Arena Saturday night for the third straight year.
This year’s edition attracted 14,756 fans to Rupp for a show that featured Central Kentucky’s first chance to see Newsboys with Michael Tait as the lead singer. The band’s set featured Tait working all sides of the stage and a catwalk that took him to the center of the arena, where he briefly took flight on Jesus Freak, a monster hit for his old band, dc talk. The new Newsboys’ set included the hit Something Beautiful, new material from the band’s forthcoming album Born Again and classics like Shine.
Both Tait and Newsboys, now nearly a year into their partnership, seemed to be invigorated by the new act. At the end of their set, Tait introduced his bandmates ending by saying somewhat emphatically, “My name is Michael, and we are the Newsboys.”
Rounding out the lineup were Fireflight, delivering their smash, Unbreakable, and stuff from their new album, For Those Who Wait; Tenth Avenue North setting the stage for Third Day with a set from their debut album Over and Underneath, and Newsong once again playing host to the event.
Winter Jam has one more Kentucky stop in Louisville March 28, which will close the tour.
Mar6Filed under: Ichthus Festival, Music, rc talk - Christian pop culture, Religion; Tagged as: Born Again, Breakfast, dc talk, Duncan Phillips, Fireflight, Ichthus Festival, In the Light, Jeff Frankenstein, Jody Davis, Mac Powell, Michael Tait, Newsboys, Peter Furler, Rupp Arena, Shine, Something Beautiful, Tenth Avenue North, Third Day, TobyMac, Winter Jam
Last winter, Christian music fans received some of the most shocking news in the genre’s history: Newsboys frontman Peter Furler was stepping down from the microphone, and former dc Talk singer Michael Tait was taking over.
Third Day frontman Mac Powell said the move, fusing two of the biggest bands in Christian rock history, was like McDonald’s joining Burger King.
Tait was as surprised as anyone when he got the call.
“It was a pretty heavy mantle,” Tait, 43, recalls. “They said, Peter wants to step down and spend more time with his family — his mom and dad are getting older, living in Australia. But the Newsboys don’t want to quit, and you’re at the top of a very short list of able cats. I thought, ‘Oh boy.’ Newsboys were my old competitors, if you will, back in the day.
“So I prayed about it, and thought about it and said, ‘This could be fun. Let’s see what happens.’ But to tell the truth, I went into it with one eye open thinking, we’ll see how it goes.’
“Now, 130 shows later, I freaking love it.”
The singer says it’s like being in a garage band without the hassle of hauling amplifiers and sleeping in the back of a van.
Central Kentucky audiences have their first chance to see the Tait-fronted Newsboys on March 13, when the band plays the annual Winter Jam concert that is stopping at Rupp Arena for the third straight year.
They’ll be joined by headliners Third Day and supporting acts such as Fireflight and Tenth Avenue North.
Out of all those acts, Newsboys definitely sports the biggest curiosity factor, particularly since it has not released a new album since Tait took over. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve seen a lot of dream tours lately.
Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman went out for a show that hit Rupp Arena earlier this year. Another heavenly lineup was Third Day, Switchfoot and Jars of Clay – who didn’t get to Kentucky.
Thanksgiving weekend will close out with another great headlining duo, playing in Louisville, that offers a compelling look at the current state of Christian rock.
Winter Wonder Slam blows into Broadbent Arena with TobyMac and Relient K topping the bill.
With its growing mainstream cred, it seems a little surprising Relient is still taking part in faith-based tours. But as targeted at general-market listeners as its latest album, “Forget and Not Slow Down,” is, it’s also a reaffirmation of the band’s faith base. And by teaming with Toby, Matt Thiessen and company help present a microcosm of the best of Christian rock that is both reaching out and playing to the choir.
TobyMac has yet to score a mainstream hit, though that is certainly not due to a lack of quality, as Toby and his Diverse City Band offer a blend of hip-hop and rock that is second to none. And Relient K has moved out into the marketplace by being another crack ensemble that has shown a faith-based band can write songs with mainstream appeal, and secular audiences don’t mind.
So here it is, a tour that shows you where Christian rock is going: in several different directions.
Coming next year
One big marquee tour making a return to Rupp Arena for the third straight year is Winter Jam, the Newsong-presented tour on which the venerable band willingly plays second fiddle to current chart-toppers.
Headliners for the 2010 edition, which will be at Rupp on March 13, are Third Day, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Fireflight, Sidewalk Prophets, Robert Pierre, and Revive. This will be the area’s first chance to hear Newsboys with former dc talk member Michael Tait on lead vocals.
Tickets are $10, and they are available only at the door.
- If you are looking for the David Crowder Band concert review that appeared with the print version of this column, click here.
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