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Soulfire Before Sunday 60 Foot Swell

Then again, it is for charity…

Soulfire/Before Sunday/60 Foot Swell

Central Church of the Nazarene, Tulsa, OK

Nov 6, 2004

Charity concerts are always interesting. This was a charity concert for “Project Yellow Crayon”, a church-run charity that gives to the extremely underprivileged in Tulsa’s shady area of town. All the bands went in for free- all the proceeds went to the charity.

Unfortunately, it seems that the event was overstaffed and under-audienced. By letting everyone in the church volunteer, no one bought tickets. Heck, I was a volunteer, and I don’t even go to the church- I just have connections. Safe to say, I could’ve run the concert 16 times better and gotten a much bigger response. But on to the music.

After looking at Soulfire’s merch table, my friend Brent looked over at me and said, “Looks like a Pillar rip-off…”. I perused their merch, and I came up with pretty much the same idea. From the shirt designs to the slogan to the logo, it all looked reminiscent of Pillar’s material. When they took the stage, the music was reminiscent of Pillar’s hard rock too- only not as rocking and less hard. It felt watered down in the highest degree, and as much as I tried to listen to them, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to snicker. Their over-the-top banter paired with their lack of musical prowess to support it created a nearly cartoonized feel. To their credit, they did have at least one good idea per song- but never more than that. Soulfire wasn’t just disliked by me- they didn’t do much for anyone in the crowd.

Soulfire removed themselves from the stage, and the band with quite possibly the world’s most boring name came onstage: Before Sunday. I mean come on- that’s just devoid of creativity. Get SOMETHING better….

Thankfully, their music was not so devoid of creativity. Sounding a bit like U2, a bit like Coldplay, and a bit like British worship megaliths Delirious?, Before Sunday hit the stage hard and well with their infectious melodic rock. Whereas Soulfire alienated the crowd with hard-rock posing, the guys in Before Sunday included the crowd the right way. Mixing up their set with fast songs and slow songs, they effectively immersed every type of music fan there in their musical amalgam. Their most memorable song was a cover of “My Glorious” by Delirious?, as the audience latched on to the instantly hummable chorus and just belted it out along with the singer. The rest of their set was great too, especially one song in which the lead singer took the time to teach the audience the vocal line. The kids went nuts over that- and I did too. It was great fun, and I regretted seeing Before Sunday leave the stage.

Sixty Foot Swell is like a Christian version of the Killers- all bass, no guitars, and all they want you to do is dance. Their rock set was primarily dance-rock cover songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Scooby Doo”, which were great fun both to listen and dance to.  Even better, the vocalist sounded a lot like Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins when they slowed it down and rocked it out in a completely artistic way. The slurry waves of sound that they created when originals were played were simply fantastic, and I’m sad to report that there simply weren’t enough originals of that quality in their set. I had to leave part-way through their set- it was mildly annoying.

Before Sunday took home the prize for ‘best band’ here- no matter how much the dance rock was fun and hard rock was loud, it was no match for the artistic presentation of Before Sunday. They just couldn’t measure up.

-Stephen Carradini