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Concert Preview: Tenth Avenue North

September 16, 2015

written by Brian Shesko

On Friday, September 18, 2015, Student Activities will host the All the Earth Is Holy Ground Tour featuring Tenth Avenue North, with special guests Sidewalk Prophets and Dan Bremnes.

Tenth Avenue North has become one of the defining bands of Contemporary Christian Music. We hesitate to call them the defining band as long as artists like Casting Crowns, MercyMe, and Third Day are still around. But the thing Tenth Ave. has going for them is that they have Mike Donahey and those other bands do not. True, a band is not all about the lead singer, but seeing just one concert with Tenth Ave. demonstrates why they have risen to the top of the Christian music charts. Dynamic, magnetic, endearing, adorable: take your pick of terms to describe Mike Donehey. We got to see this on display first hand during the K-LOVE Fan Awards in Nashville this past May. Mike performed his expected duties during Tenth Ave.’s show performance, but in some ways he stole the rest of the show during the “Not So Newlywed Game”, a “how well do you know your significant other?”, Q&A segment featuring Kirk Cameron, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steven Curtis Chapman, and their spouses. Sporting a gaudy sweater and Guy Smiley-level cheese, Mike took a short bit for the show and stole the stage from the show’s (supposedly) biggest stars. Few lead singers possess the quality to transfer from lead singer to game show host. For Mike Donehey, it speaks to a lightheartedness and fun quality about him, but also reveals the talent it takes to have the vocal quality and on-stage persona to pull something like that off.

As for Tenth Avenue North’s music and stage performance, that lightheartedness and fun shines bright. They are qualities that you can feel in every melody in almost every song, sometimes, perhaps, to a fault. For example, such positivity in melody and song crafting makes the ideas of their 2010 album The Light Meets the Dark a bit heavy on the “light”, and pretty light on the “dark”. This does not take away from the band’s heart in addressing life issues, however. It is clear on tracks like “The Struggle” and “Cathedrals” that there is hope and grace for us despite our weakness, and that resonates with Tenth Ave.’s listeners as much as anything else about the band.

Despite this, no one can fault Tenth Avenue North for writing catchy songs. The videos for just two of them, “Worn” and “You Are More”, have been viewed on YouTube over 10 million times. And you can certainly hear their improvement in quality and polish on Cathedrals, especially on dynamic and honest tracks like “For Those Who Can’t Speak” and “Forgive Me”. Plus, as it is with many, excellent bands, their live show has propelled them to fan-favorite status, as evidenced by their numerous Dove and K-LOVE Fan Awards nominations.

That live show will be here in the Vines Center on Friday with another K-LOVE fan favorite, Sidewalk Prophets, and up-and-coming artist Dan Bremnes. The show gets started at 8 PM, and tickets are available by clicking on the Tickets tab on our website here. It’s sure to be a good time at the All the Earth Is Holy Ground Tour featuring Tenth Avenue North, brought to you by Student Activities.