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Category: SA Recaps

Review: Christmas Coffeehouse

December 9, 2016

December 3rd was a day that will go down in Christmas Coffeehouse history as one of the best. Attendees of the show cannot deny that there was a vast amount of talent displayed; from bands to dancers to skilled videographers, the audience was entertained for two straight hours that night. After a show such as this, we believe that it is important to reflect on why this event was one of our most important.

Coffeehouse is not just a place where people can perform – it’s a place where community is grown and talent is shared. Standing side-stage before and during the show was when I realized the camaraderie that exists between acts. When one act would come down from the stage, the other acts that were around would congratulate them for a job well done. When acts were about to go on stage, they would circle up and pray for each other. Of course, these small kindnesses among acts are reflections on our University as a whole. Coffeehouse is a time where encouragement and excitement for others isn’t put on the backburner, and this creates the Liberty community that we all know and love.

The event in itself wouldn’t exist without the Student Activities staff, who work so hard to put everything they can into making the show look and feel like exactly what we need to propel us into Christmas. The decorations on the concourse alone take months to design and build so that we can give you the opportunity to take fabulous photo-ops. The acts that are included are judged by our SA staff before being submitted to be judged by our full time staff. Our event staff/supervisors put in so much time behind the scenes in order to make Coffeehouse what it is every semester – nothing short of an exhilarating and memorable experience.

Christmas Coffeehouse is special because you can count on it every year to send you into finals feeling like you’ve been a part of something important. Entertainment is something that we care deeply for here at Student Activities, and we know that showcasing the talent here on campus is the best way to entertain. So now, we look forward to the 2000’s Spring Coffeehouse experience with high hopes – we want to see you there!

Review: Tour De Compadres

November 15, 2016

The night of Tour De Compadres began just the way it should – with our Student Activities staff being notified from the Ticket Office that the show had sold out! Selling out meant a lot to us here at SA, but first and foremost it meant that the night would be at the maximum capacity of not only people, but also excitement.

And exciting it was! From the moment the doors opened to the Vines Center, you could see people scurrying down the aisles, trying to find the closest seat they could to the stage. There were a few “No running!” yells and some people who weren’t the happiest that they didn’t find the closest seats to the stage, but any feeling of negativity was slung into the void as Welshly Arms opened the show. Their alternative rock sound was the perfect way to open the show and pique the interest of anyone who didn’t previously know their music.

The next act to come on stage was Parachute – and yes, there were tears when “She is Love” played. Quick fact: did you know “She is Love” was released in 2009? All those years ago, the song was released when you were a teeny-bopper and it still brings you to tears when Will Anderson softly sings “She is love, and she is all I need”. After an around 30-minute set from Parachute, the way was made for Mat Kearney.

Mat Kearney made his entrance singing hits like “Air I Breathe” and “Nothing Left to Lose”. It was clear that a crowd goes pretty wild for a man in an all-white outfit and a fedora as Kearney stepped off the stage and walked through seats. Fans were screaming and reaching out for him, and this excitement carried all the way through his performance until the end when he sang his hit song “Ships in the Night”.

After Kearney wrapped up, everyone was caught up in anticipation for the headliner of the show: NEEDTOBREATHE. Around 10pm, the band reported to the stage as the crowd’s enthusiasm was at an all-time high. A room full of people screaming NTB’s hit song “Happiness” together is something that one must experience at least once, and for over 6,000 fans, this experience happened on the perfect night.

At the end of the show, all of the artists from the Tour De Compadres were together on stage, singing “Brother” as the crowd was singing along with them. And in this moment, the epitome of the Tour De Compadres was shown – the feeling and definition of community, which we all long for, was found in the finale of the show. This moment and the show as a whole will surely not be forgotten by any fan who attended.

Movie Review: Finding Dory

July 21, 2016

Finding Nemo: the beloved fish tale that left heart strings all over the world being tugged when it premiered in 2003. With a high volume of emotional twists and learned life lessons, Nemo is a motion picture that sticks with its viewers far beyond their initial movie experience. Out of all the occurrences and characters that made Finding Nemo important, there is one fish that stuck out to all: Dory, the fun, spunky blue tang. And this is why the fish now has her own movie: Finding Dory, released June 17.

Although Finding Dory is the sequential movie to Nemo, it did not seem to be a sequel at all – instead, the attention was taken off of Nemo and Marlin and focused on Dory and her past. Because of this shift in character attention, the films felt separate, illuminating each for its strengths. While Nemo focused more on a father’s love for and protection over his son, Dory focuses more on overcoming obstacles and facing her infamous short-term memory loss head on in order to find out more about herself and where she came from. Instead of allowing Dory’s memory issue to make her feel alienated, Dory’s parents and friends work with her in order for her to live her life as “normally” as possible. Alissa Wilkinson from Christianity Today writes, “Dory’s short-term memory loss isn’t the result of an accident: it’s just something she’s born with, and something her parents need to help her live with, while figuring out how to avoid being overprotective.”

Tasha Robinson from The Verge seems to pinpoint the overarching theme of the film in her Dory review when she states, “disabilities aren’t the same as limitations.” Dory’s parents and friends will work with her as much as they need to in order for her to feel safe and cared for despite any challenge she may face. An example of this lies in the fact that Dory’s parents do not chase her when she leaves, but instead leave a trail for her to find her own way back home despite her memory struggles. Her parents trust her intuition enough to allow her to survive on her own although they wish so badly that they could take care of her.

When it comes to the plot as a whole, the movie is a bit predictable in a Pixar/Disney “everything will work out” sort of way. Yet, having this in the back of your mind does not mean that there is not excitement happening through the journey of Finding Dory. In the case of this movie, the means to the end is exciting even if the end is already foreseen.

Finding Dory is not “better” than Finding Nemo, but it does a great job of being everything it needs to be: adventure-packed, fun-filled, and gently instructing to all ages. Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood writes that Finding Dory is “a sequel that proved you don’t have to stint on quality”, while A. O. Scott from New York Times writes, “certainly the best non-Toy Story sequel the studio has produced.”

The Life of Pablo / Kanye West

April 13, 2016

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why I think Christians need to pay better attention to rap here. Now that Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo has been out for over a month and was just added to Spotify and Apple Music, Kanye is in the spotlight again for his work. Of course, we know that The Life of Pablo is explicit, therefore as I represent Student Activities through this post, I will not be endorsing his music or who he is as a person. Instead, I want to bring in a new perspective about an individual that we are probably pretty shut off to learning more about.

Hey – don’t be turned off by those nine letters K A N Y E  W E S T! Has he been known for some controversial situations, his prideful attitude and for being a potential presidential candidate in 2020? Well, maybe… his track record isn’t the greatest when it comes to speaking his mind. We all remember the 2009 VMAs when he “let Taylor finish, even though Beyonce had the best music video of all time!”

Therefore, the question that lies before us could be “What can we gain from Kanye and why do we care about gaining anything from him at all?” When it comes to the second part of the question, it is mainly personal preference. If you have no interest or desire to know anything about Kanye West, no hard feelings here. Yet, I care about finding the positives in Kanye, however few or many they may be, because he is prevalent in our culture. He is one of the most famous rappers alive, and at some point we have to step back and ask ourselves why.

It makes sense to me that Kanye is important because aside from being an award-winning rapper (and having a longevity and relatability in his career that not many rappers possess), Kanye is expressive. People are attracted to people who speak their mind, and Kanye is an artist who has no issue speaking his mind, eloquently or non-eloquently.

And when it comes to speaking his mind, Kanye receives more heat in Christian circles than your typical Drake or Chris Brown. This is probably because he mentions Christianity often. The first song on The Life of Pablo “Ultralight Beam” begins the album with phrases such as “So I look to the light
(Lord) To make these wrongs turn right” and “I’m tryna keep my faith (Yes, Jesus) / But I’m looking for more / Somewhere I can feel safe / And end my holy war.”

His lyrics, although they do discuss Christianity, do not always line up with the moral aspect of it, and this could be why he is easily criticized. It is genuinely difficult to hear lyrics like the aforementioned ones and then listen to the rest of the album’s explicit lyrics and feel comfortable, but it is also understandable that Kanye is conflicted. The lyrics “I’m tryna keep my faith, but I’m looking for more…” perfectly describe this album. Kanye is obviously searching for something to believe in, but he seems to not have found it yet.

Relevant Magazine published an article March 3rd about Kanye and Kirk Franklin’s relationship, and the following statement makes sense when it comes to the Christian criticism of Kanye:

“No one (or at least no reasonable critic) is suggesting that Kanye West is actually a credible theologian. No one is suggesting his words should be held to the same standard of a pastor or a Christian leader. But when we criticize the orthodoxy of what are essentially artistic choices, we elevate the words to a higher level than they are meant to be held. Kanye West isn’t a teacher or a leader. He’s an artist wrestling with ideas and emotions. It’s OK to disagree with them—but we shouldn’t automatically criticize him for expressing them, just because they mention our faith.”

Maybe instead of shutting Kanye West out, we as Christ-following, gracious people should welcome him in. No matter your thoughts or opinions on Kanye West and his new album, it is important to keep an open mind as you listen to his lyrics and try to figure out how you feel about them. Discussing The Life of Pablo is a great way to have some conversations with people about culture and what it means for Christ followers.

Review: Documentary Now!

April 5, 2016

Bill Hader and Fred Armisen are back at it again with a crafty series that they have co-written entitled Documentary Now! The series aired on August 20, 2015 on IFC and has recently made its way over to Netflix, where it is becoming more noticed and picking up steam.

Documentary Now! consists of seven episodes that are only twenty minutes long. The series covers a variety of topics, and with an almost “Portlandia-n” feel Bill Hader and Fred Armisen act as different characters in each one. The premise of the show is that the season that is currently airing is the 50th. Helen Mirren hosts the show by giving an overview of the mini-documentary at the beginning of each episode.

As a major fan of the work of Hader and Armisen in the past, this show has quickly become one of my favorites in my Netflix queue. Separately, these two actors/writers are hilarious and important, but together they achieve a new level of strange humor that begs the question “What is happening on my screen right now?” through tears of laughter.

This show is definitely not one that everyone would find to be worth laughing at. When encouraging my Director Steph to watch it, my friend Jordan and I had to tell her that the show is funny, but not every sense of humor would find this to be the case. If I had to make a recipe for an episode of Documentary Now!, the ingredients would consist of a third of an episode of Portlandia (because of the changing characters and outlandish scenarios), a third of an episode of The Office (the dry humor that we all have learned to love), and a third of Blackfish (because it’s a documentary, kinda).

Although the show is a bit out there, it is well worth your time. Give it a watch this week!

Coffeehouse Retrospective

December 11, 2015

I feel confident speaking for the staff members of Student Activities when I say that it is a great honor to be responsible for two of the best and longest-running traditions here at Liberty: Block Party and Coffeehouse. However, as fun and exciting as Block Party is, there is nothing quite like Coffeehouse for us. The collective effort that goes into each production seems to grow each time as we push just a little harder to improve on the previous show.

But those three words, “the previous show”, represent a history of Coffeehouse that stretches back into the early 1990’s, a continuous chain of productions that, from the very first event, started with the same hands-on, student-led approach that still makes the show what it is today. So if you’ve ever wondered what started it, here’s a short history of how Coffeehouse came to be.

“We had about $100 for those early shows…We had to be extremely creative with our finances.”

Brian Lewis eventually became an Assistant Director in charge of Student Activities, but when he first arrived at Liberty in 1993, he was basically a volunteer, helping out in the planning of Student Activities events. As the university grew, the demand for more events grew with it, and at the time, some of that burden fell on Student Government. Bryan had close connection with then-SGA President Matt McMurray, and together, along with a small group of students, decided it was time for a student talent show, which they decided to call Coffee House. “I honestly don’t remember why exactly we called it Coffee House,” said Bryan, noting that it may have had something to do with the popularity at the time of The Drowsy Poet, the now-vacant coffee shop in the Candler’s Shopping Center. The first shows that fall were in the multi-purpose room of David’s Place, the old student center that now lies somewhere under the baseball stadium. The first show budget: $0. Ticket price: $2. There were about 150 people in the building, a packed house for the size of that particular room, which Bryan says made them realize “we should have done the show twice (each night).” They also realized that there was going to be a “next show”, which made it clear that they were going to need a bigger space, prompting a move the following spring (1994) to the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall.

For the content of the show, there was a panel of several people, including Bryan, who sat in on all auditions for the performances. “We never hurt for talent,” Bryan said, seeing somewhere close to 40 tryouts, even at the David’s Place event. They utilized what is now CSER workers to help put on the show, as well as the few available staff members of Student Activities. “It was a full-fledged, volunteer basis, student-led, no money, good-luck project.” Well, there was some money, but it only came from ticket sales from the previous show. Bryan said, “…When it was time for the next Coffeehouse, we would get a couple hundred dollars for the next show. We had to be extremely creative with our finances.”

The Dining Hall Coffee House sold out too, with attendance somewhere around 800 for a couple shows (Ticket price: still $2). By the 95-96 school year, that good-luck project became 3 shows per semester, 2 performances of each show each night, in the old Schilling Center (the remnants of which are somewhere under the Library) with a total attendance reaching into the thousands. This was significant since the total population of the school was not much over 5,000. The show got a host, Steve Kyle, and various themes, including Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Country Music, the 1970’s, 1980’s, and an All-Star Coffeehouse which brought back the best and most popular talent from the shows throughout the year. Mike Stewart, Dean of Student Life at the time, said, “It was never intended to be something that happened 3 or 4 times a semester, but it got to be the biggest thing, besides concerts, that we did all year long.”

“Every show, I felt like I would throw up before it started.”

The Coffeehouse host has always been an unenviable position. Student expectations on the host have always been somewhere between Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman, a funnyman facilitator who also is never allowed to make a mistake. Matt Gallagher, host from 1997-99, said, “Every show, I felt like I would throw up before it started.” And who wouldn’t? Stepping out on stage, staring at thousands of your peers, a significant number of which were ready to pounce on any mistake or not-so-good joke, should make anyone nervous. No, Coffeehouse has never had the perfect host. It did, however, have a string of outstanding students who moved the show along, told some good jokes (and perhaps a few not-so-good jokes), and contributed to the overall excellence of a show with a now 23 year history. “A lot of credit goes to Steve (Kyle) for making the show more successful,” said Bryan Lewis. “Steve always hosted the Liberty Olympics and Block Party, so he was a natural fit to take on Coffeehouse hosting duties.” Mike Stewart said that they “had to script everything, and I had to approve everything…(The hosts) would always deviate from the script.” But, both Mike and Bryan said that in those early years, they never had a major controversy. (At least not with the host – Mike said, “We had people line dancing on stage [during Country Coffee House], which, looking back, was probably pretty controversial at the time.”) But, Mike added that the effort to improve the show was always something the host had a hand in as far as content was concerned: “It was always a challenge – we always asked ‘How can we top that [last] one?”

Two hosts carried Coffeehouse smoothly through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s: Matt Gallagher and Nic Carver. For most students attending Liberty between 1997 and 2003, the Coffeehouse they saw almost certainly featured one of those two. For Matt, hosting duties were assumed reluctantly, and initially with only a 33% chance of getting it at all. In the fall of 1997, Matt was one of three people who were given a chance during an actual Coffeehouse to audition as host. The three were then put to audience vote to officially become the next host. He went third out of the three. “I told some corny jokes, corny but clean,” he said, and after the audience voted, was selected as host. “If I had gone first, I probably would have primed the pump for one of those other guys,” he told us. But he didn’t, and he went on to host Coffeehouse for the next three school years. David “Moose” Pierce, who worked with Student Life at the time (1997-99) and contributed to the show alongside Matt said, “I cannot brag enough about Matt. I had a ton of fun writing with him because he was so willing to collaborate and work with everyone’s ideas.”

Nic Carver had a somewhat easier path to Coffeehouse host, as he was already hosting well-attended karaoke nights in David’s Place in the 2000-01 school year, and so was an easy choice to bump up to the bigger show. As for his role, Nic said he “tried to stay off the stage as much as possible” because too much stage time could easily become tedious. “The host is basically the ambassador for the audience. I wanted to do everything I could to keep myself on the audience’s side during the show.” However, Nic was (and still is) an accomplished musician, and so he was able to bring his musical talent to Coffeehouse at times, including opening a show with a song of his own that led into all of the acts on stage singing “We Are the World.” Both Matt and Nic talked about the increased prevalence and quality of technology by the late 1990’s/early 2000’s as doing the most to affect the show; by then, it was much easier to shoot and edit videos, so video content became a more prominent, and we would now say essential, part of Coffeehouse. Both of them had a significant role in transitioning Coffeehouse into the show as it appears today.

“After the show, I always realized it was worth it.”

Cosmetically, Coffeehouse has changed quite a bit from the first show in 1993. We’re in the Vines Center now, with a significantly bigger budget, allowing bigger sound, bigger lights, and more decorations. The crowds are bigger too, with over 7,900 students in attendance last Christmas alone, greater than the entire school population in the early to mid-90’s. But even with more money and bigger space, Coffeehouse is still that same student-led, all-hands-on-deck show that started 23 years ago. Bryan Lewis’ quote ties the first show to the last show: “We never hurt for talent.” Easily the most repeated statement we hear at every Coffeehouse, whether it’s by word of mouth or on Twitter, is essentially, “This student body is so incredibly talented!” The volunteers and Christian Service workers, the Student Activities staff members, the full-time leadership, the hosts, and every single act and performer, all of them have contributed from the very beginning to make this a lasting tradition that is truly by the students, for the students. And no matter the challenges Student Activities has faced, regardless of the reception of the show afterward, and despite all the long hours and sore feet, we have always been proud to be part of such an amazing tradition. The day after the show, we can always say proudly, “It was worth it.”

Concert Review: Dustin Kensrue

September 10, 2015

On Tuesday night, Student Activities hosted Dustin Kensrue and The Rocketboys in concert at the LaHaye Event Space.

One of things we love most about Dustin Kensrue’s music is the appropriateness of his voice for both the style and thematic elements of his songs. Of course, much of that is natural ability, but this is not just an observation that Dustin has a great voice for rock music. No, it is appropriate in the sense that despite his grit and growl, his vocal quality moves effortlessly between tracks regardless of tone or topic. Anyone who was in the building last night heard this on full display throughout the nearly 90 minute, 20 song setlist.

But before Dustin started, fans were treated to a terrific set by The Rocketboys, their sound reminiscent of groups like Band of Horses, some of the more atmospheric moments of Kings of Leon, and the rockier moments of Coldplay. The highlight (for me, at least) was the soaring track “Carry Me”. Everyone was treated to their version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, which closed the show. The Rocketboys then served as Dustin’s band for just under half of the concert and were nearly flawless in their accompaniment. “I love these guys,” said Dustin between tracks, and their fit together made the feeling seem mutual.

Dustin sang 9 of the 10 songs on his excellent, new album Carry the Fire, opening the show with the first two tracks on the album, “Ruby” and “Back to Back”. Fans were also treated to most of his first album Please Come Home. He made it clear during the solo, acoustic portion of his set that songs from his worship album The Water & The Blood would not be part of the show (though he did perform the absolutely crushing track It’s Not Enough from that album). From the earliest moments, the power, depth of emotion, and ease with which Dustin sings was evident, perfectly demonstrated on lighter-hearted tracks like “Pistol” and heavy-hearted tracks like “There’s Something Dark Inside of Me”.

Much of Carry the Fire deals with darkness, a theme that appears throughout his other work as well – darkness as evil, whether within us or in the world around us, or, as he pointed out in the commentary to the track “In the Darkness”, as that which is unknown. There is a requisite familiarity with such things, one that comes from honest introspection, that allows someone to sing about them and sound like they’re telling the truth. Dustin accomplishes this on his studio albums, but hearing it in person made it an enrapturing experience. “You are all very respectful,” Dustin whispered into the mic in a quiet moment between songs. Though the crowd was a bit quiet, lack of noise shouldn’t be confused for disinterest. It was more like intent focus, even reverence. Which would you rather have: too much “WOO!”-ing, or none at all? For Dustin’s show, quiet worked just fine.

Dustin covered three songs as well (four, if you count “A Song for Milly Michaelson” by Thrice), each of them with themes that fit perfectly with much of what he sings about in his own music. He explained that he likes to choose pop songs that, if you can peel away the fabrication and façade, actually have a lot to say about love, relationships, and truth, and then proceeded with Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”. Somehow, Dustin made a song so easy to hate completely easy to love. His performance of Lorde’s “Buzzcut Season” was possibly the highlight of my night, as Dustin singing her words, “Nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true”, added a new dimension to an already excellent song. But the defining moment of the night came from the last song of the night, a cover of a Tom Wait’s song called “Down There By the Train”. “This song gets the gospel better than 95% of the songs that play on Christian radio,” Dustin said calmly. Read the lyrics. Listen to the song. It is hard to argue with what he said. Dustin sang much about difficulty, fear, and sin throughout the night, but he ended the show with grace.

Dustin Kensrue makes excellent music, he crafts lasting stories with hymn-like poetry and themes that touch on the deepest parts of life. But most of all, he tells the truth. Every one of his songs is worthy of consideration and exploration. Hearing him perform some of those songs live in concert last night was nothing short of outstanding.

Spring 2015 – Semester Review

April 30, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I honestly can’t believe the year is over! It’s been unmatchable in many ways, and I want to take a moment to thank you. We owe it all to students like you who show up to our events religiously, have a good time, and especially those of you who had enough faith in us to come to our new events (some that rocked and some that we promise to never do again)… you guys are the reason we do what we do! Thank you for stopping to chat at our promo tables and for experiencing new things with us. We have loved getting to foster relationships with you at Movie Nights, Bingo, our races, countless trips, 90’s Coffeehouse, and every event in between!

For those of you graduating, we wish you the best in all you do. Finish strong these next couple days – you’ve almost made it! For those of you returning, we can’t wait to see you at Block Party on August 29. Next year has some big shoes to fill, but we’re up for the challenge! For now, have a great summer and thanks for an awesome year!

90’s Coffeehouse In Review

March 25, 2015

It’s the night of 90’s Coffeehouse, and the clock says that it’s 10:29 pm.

The golf ball shaped building is lit up from the inside with neon yellow shirts that shine like little lightning bugs on a summer’s night. The yellow shirts pace back and forth, looping the concourse of the building, running up and down the seemingly thousands of stairs that take them from the floor to the concourse and back down to the floor again. Some of the yellow shirts can be seen close together and some can be seen alone, possibly lying on a nearby couch for a bit of extra rest before the next minute comes.

I am one of these neon yellow shirts. My name is Erin and there are a lot of things about me that are not the same as the other shirts, but tonight we are one. Our shirts signify that we are a collective, and we have a purpose.

I stand in my yellow shirt at the bottom of section 120, looking around and admiring. I appreciate the props, the scenes, the stage, the lights, and many other parts of this night. But mostly, I admire the other yellow shirts that surround me.

When I see these shirts, I think of the love I have for the person in the shirt. I also think of the hard work that individual put into making this night magical and sentimental and unique.

Years ago, before I had the privilege of wearing a neon yellow shirt on this night, I wore a normal outfit and was on the outside of the building at 10:29 pm. I never could have known that the incredible, life-sized Furby that sat inside took days and days to build. Furby began with a roll of chicken wire, a piece of plywood, and some zip-ties. A few people worked incredibly hard to take these tools and create a piece of nostalgia for thousands of people. This is just one example of the hard work that goes into making Coffeehouse memorable.

Coffeehouse is not anything about the staff of Student Activities needing recognition. But I’m a senior, and I’m sentimental because some of the people who wore neon yellow shirts to this event, the event that defines us, are trading in our neon shirts for a cap and gown in less than two months. And then we go our separate ways.

But we’ll never be apart. For the rest of our lives, we will be able to say that we were a part of something. We will be able to think of those neon shirts and smile, knowing that we were a group with a purpose – a purpose to make people relate to each other through our events. We worked hard on Coffeehouse and we executed it well and, after the event (at 4 am), there was a swarm of neon yellow shirts at IHOP because we really, really like each other.

I check my phone. The clock flips to 10:30 pm, and the “No running!” yells begin. I grab the hand of the neon yellow shirt standing to the left of me, Cherish, and we say, “Let’s make the most of this. It’s our last time.”

And we’ll never forget this night. And we’ll never forget each other. And we’ll forever be able to say, “We did it. We made 90’s Coffeehouse happen.”

Jon Foreman Concert Recap

March 4, 2015

On Saturday 2/28, we proudly hosted Jon Foreman for a sold-out concert in the LaHaye Event Space. On a cold Virginia night, this proud San Diego native sang, laughed, and shared with a really excited crowd. Jon is not a stranger to Liberty University, having played here with his band Switchfoot several times over the past few years.

During this concert, he pulled material from various parts of his career. We heard some Switchfoot favorites such as ‘Dare You to Move’ and ‘Only Hope’. He also performed some of his older solo material such as ‘Your Love is Strong’ and ‘Southbound Train’. One of the main highlights of the night was hearing Jon play some new tunes that aren’t even released yet. These included the songs ‘Terminal’ and ‘The Patron Saint of Rock & Roll’. He explained that he has new material being released later this year. The crowd latched on, singing along, shouting suggestions, and having a great time.

The instrumentation was very bare – just Jon on acoustic, and a cellist (the very talented Keith Tutti). This stripped down set sounded surprisingly full – full of textures and layers. Jon’s fantastic vocal range, along with Keith’s creativity on the cello gave the whole evening a really unique sound. They came out for an encore, and the crowd was clearly happy. Jon told everyone that he was having a great time, even veering from his intended set list. “It feels like off-roading in a train” he told the crowd.

We still have some more great concerts this semester. Be sure to get your tickets soon for Propaganda on April 2 and Colony House on April 20. As always, keep up to date with concert info by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.