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Concert Preview: Rend Collective

March 29, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

On Friday, April 1, Student Activities is proud to present the As Family We Go Tour featuring the return of Rend Collective, with special guests Urban Rescue. Join us in the Vines Center starting at 8 p.m. for one of the most enjoyable nights that pop worship can offer. General admission tickets are just $10 in advance for students ($15 for general public), floor seats are just $18 in advance, and all of them are on sale now on our website.

Aside from dropping the “Experiment” from their name, Rend Collective haven’t changed all that much since the earliest part of their career. This might be taken as an insult when it comes to other bands, since change and progress are often seen as synonymous. But with Rend Collective, it is not so much unchanging as it is a very intentional commitment to their musical style. It is ingrained like DNA, as bandleader & percussionist Gareth Gilkeson might say. He elaborates: “We would far rather be defined by joy, fun, freedom and laughter than any genre title or pop-culture label.” Joy, fun, freedom, laughter – if these are Rend Collective’s goals, they are certainly successful. The continuity of their sound revolves around major key tonalities, driven by upbeat melodies, and powered by the energy flowing out of the surging success of folk rock that has been going on since roughly 2008. “Foot-stomping” is a commonly used adjective when it comes to their music; in many ways, they function as a CCM version of the first two Mumford & Sons albums. And though they dropped the “Experiment” from their name, it doesn’t mean they avoid the experimental. They are not afraid to play any soundmaking thing, whether hurdy gurdies or the so-called “Jingling Johnny” wielded by Gareth, not to mention the likely hundreds of gallons of bubble solution they have gone through at their concerts. All of this flows out of the virtues they named and that they want to define them. In short, they make celebration music, because what other reaction should we have in the face of God’s grace?

This remains true for their most recent release for which the current tour is named: As Family We Go. Gareth breaks the four word title into two parts to explain the idea behind the album. “As family” is the reminder of our place before God the Father as sons and daughters and therefore our unity with one another in collective purpose. “We go” is the reminder to be active, moving past either fear or comfort towards God’s purpose for our lives. Interestingly, none of the songs on the album have much to do with the actual going part of this. Thematically, the songs have more to do with the steadfastness and faithfulness of God in our lives, which makes the album more of a soundtrack to the going. The songs generally fit the aforementioned foot-stomping style that fans are accustomed to, with a few moments of variation, such as “Never Walk Alone” or the outstanding “Your Royal Blood”, a variation on the great hymn “Nothing but the Blood.” Regardless, the true draw of Rend Collective is the live performance of these songs, so the catches of the album will be in the joy, fun, and laughter brought on by the first three tracks of the album: “Celebrate”, “Free as a Bird”, and “You Will Never Run.” As Family We Go may not be breaking any new, musical ground for Rend Collective, but it is very much to the high standard already set by the band with their earlier works. It maintains all of the energy and excitement that defines them to this point, and we are excited to see that translate to the stage on April 1.

Be sure to keep up with our concert calendar (and other event offerings) on our website, or follow us on Twitter to the most up-to-date information about upcoming concerts in the Vines Center or the LaHaye Event Space.