Venue: Hillside Wesleyan Life Center
City: Clyde, MI
Date: April 22, 2016
Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)
City Rock Fest 2016 is the latest installment of the annual traveling Christian Rock festival and it stopped in Michigan twice over the weekend, with the first of two shows taking place on the east side of the state, just outside of Port Huron. The Hillside Wesleyan Life Center was an intimate venue that was converted to a cool venue for this rock show highlighting five rock bands who wear their hearts and faith on their sleeves. As fans of the various bands rolled through the doors and into the concert area, the excitement of the upcoming show filled the air.
Children 18:3 kicked the show off and brought a punk punch to the evening show from the first note until the last. Watching this trio of rockers bounce, stomp, and run all over the stage set the tone and mood for the show. With a short set, Children 18:3 wasted no time getting their music and their message out to the crowd all the while pleasing their fans as well as making new ones along the way.
Next up was Spoken and they picked up where the previous band left off, but delivered more of a rock sound and less of a punk groove. The band moved through their set seamlessly and kept everybody in the place pumped up as the night progressed. The bands front man moved around often singing from the wings and shadows in the front corners of the stage, greeting fans and making sure to allow the rest of the players their time on the spotlight, while keeping their faith and music in the forefront of the show. The group left the stage with enthusiasm as they took to their merch area to shake hands, take photos, and thank each of their fans.
Rockers Decyfer Down took their places on stage with guitarist Brandon Mills and singer/guitarist TJ Harris assuming their positions in front. While the rhythm section - bassist Chris Furr and drummer Benjamin Millhouse - was out of the spotlight most of the show, their playing anchored a killer hard rock performance that was one of the highlights for me. The songs were straightforward and brought messages of faith and love, while getting the foot tapping, head banging, and fans singing songs from their latest disc, including a fan favorite "Nothing More." Watching the band play song after song, it was obvious they were in their element as they smiled throughout the show and interacted with the fans from the stage.
Co-headliners Seventh Day Slumber were next up and hit the ground running, with flames and a rock show that delivered the goods. Founding member Joseph Rojas controlled the flow of the set from center stage, signing, playing guitar, and sharing stories of faith and deliverance. Flanked by Jeremy Holderfield on guitar and Ken Reed on bass, the front of the stage was a constant flow of movement and excitement. Behind the kit anchoring the rhythm section was Rojas' 14-year-old son Blaise. Listening to songs from their catalog, including the moving hit "Caroline," written for Rojas' mother-in-law during a strenuous time in her life. During the bands set, a friend of the band and last years tour sound engineer joined them on stage and sang one of the bands songs, which he also did on the 2015 edition of the tour.
Show closer Disciple took their spots on stage and filled the venue with lights, excitement, and rock. The band brought a set full of songs and messages that filled the ears and hearts of their fans. Singer Kevin Young was constantly moving and engaging the audience while the rest of the band held down their positions and delivered sonically on song after song. The twin-guitar attack of Andrew Stanton and Josiah Prince traded licks on the different selections for tonight's set, with Stanton handling most of the leads. Drummer Joey West kept the flow of the show and songs in check from behind the kit allowing the trio up front to entertain the crowd and deliver an inspiring performance.
Complete set of DISCIPLE show photos HERE
Complete set of SEVENTH DAY SLUMBER show photos HERE
SEVENTH DAY SLUMBER LINKS:
Complete set of DECYFER DOWN show photos HERE
DECYFER DOWN LINKS:
Complete set of SPOKEN show photos HERE
Complete set of CHILDREN 18:3 show photos HERE
CHILDREN 18:3 LINKS: