Monday, May 16, 2011

I love Abandon Kansas loves me

Kevin and I had a date last night. We went to see a band. The last time we did that, it was 2008, we went to see Liam Finn, I posted about it before we went, someone read that info, showed up at the show, harassed us, and we had to go get a restraining order.

Good times, good times.

Last night's date was no less weird, but far more pleasant. And look! I'm not telling you about it until AFTER the fact. I'm so smart.

There is this band that I love. Really love. They are called Abandon Kansas.

These days, it's hard for me to find new music that reaches my heart. That's a cheesy way to put it, but it's true. There are a lot of bands and musicians that I hear and like, but very few that draw up the intense desire to listen and absorb the music.

I'm talking about a feeling I got a lot in college and right afterwards - a time when I woke, ate, slept, dreamed, breathed, lived music. I was majoring in music. I was working in a CD store. I was playing in a band. I was the pianist at a church. It was nothing but music, and I was constantly finding music that resonated so deeply with me that it became part of how I would identify myself.

Anyway, back to present day. I found this band, Abandon Kansas, on Amazon when they released a free mp3 of "O Come All Ye Faithful." It is the most beautiful arrangement I've ever heard. I barely breathed through the entire first listening.

I immediately searched for more of their music and found an EP which was also stinking amazing. Flat out fabulous.

Soon after that, they released a new full length CD. I went over to their tour page to see if they were playing anywhere near us, and to my complete surprise, they were opening their tour - wait for it - - - in a church.


If I hadn't rambled on so long already, I would enter into a diatribe about the disdain I hold for Christian music and the industry that drives it. I could go on a bit about the fact that the word Christian isn't a very good adjective, and how there are plenty of musicians who are Christians, but who make good music that doesn't isolate itself by using bone tired imagery of being on your knees and writing lyrics that make it sound like Jesus is your boyfriend. Not to mention the times I've been told my music wasn't "Christian enough."

Oh, sorry. Did I just make that personal? Hmph.

Here's the funny thing though. It's not the first time that a band or artist has hooked me with their music before I realized they were "Christian artists." Buddy and Julie Miller. Sixpence None the Richer. Just to name a couple.

When the only date in North Carolina on Abandon Kansas' tour was at a Baptist church in Pittsboro, I was skeptical. I have to admit, I was worried there would be a love offering and an alter call. Hand raising, swaying, and lots of people pretending to look at the ceiling but whose eyes were really closed.

The whole idea made me shudder.

But we went anyway. That's how amazing this band is.

And we were not disappointed.

There were four bands playing in a tiny sanctuary complete with lights, a really really crappy PA, and a fog machine. The first band, a local group, moshed about, did that growly scream thing that is supposed to be metal, and generally played too damn loud. The second band was in the middle of the most annoyingly long sound check I have ever endured, so we left and went to get a bite to eat. Third band was actually pretty good. They claimed to be from Tupelo, MS, but I think they are actually from Booneville, not that it matters.

FINALLY, Abandon Kansas went on, and the entire experience became worth all of the weirdness. Even playing through a PA that was shot early on in the evening, they sounded amazing. They were tight. Really tight. And they played in sync with their own videos, which were being shown on monitors behind them during the show. If you aren't a musician, you might not know how hard that is - but let me tell you - it's really damn hard. And the result is very cool.

In the midst of all of that, we got to hang out with the bass player a good bit. He is adorable and was great fun to talk to.

So, yeah. Weird. Hanging out in a small Baptist church with about 20 teenagers to hear a great band.

Not your typical date, but can I just say how much I love my husband for putting up with my bizarre plans and outings? Because I do.