With the band leading the Sunday evening crowd in an acapella rendition of “I Love the Lord”, Rend Collective finished their two-night residency at The University of Northwestern – St. Paul. Rend Collect, the Christian folk rock band, were performing at Northwestern in support of their new record, As Family We Go.
If you have only listened to their albums and not had the chance to see them live, you are doing yourself a disservice. The energy that their recorded music has does not touch energy they put out live. The amount of running, jumping, thrashing about the stage that the band does is tiring just to watch. The passion and energy that goes into their performance is hard to match. After an extremely energetic open song, Rend Collective’s second song upped the ante by having different band members play a different instruments every 30 seconds. Everyone except Chris Llewellyn, the front man, changed instruments. While Chris stayed playing his very weathered acoustic guitar, he jumped around the stage and belted out lyrics in a style he called, “Irish soul”. Patrick Thompson, the electric guitar player, went from his guitar to auxiliary percussion to the drum kit. Gareth Gilkeson, the drummer/percussionist, went from his drum kit to other percussion to the banjo. Ali Gilkeson, who started off on auxiliary percussion, moved to keyboards and accordion. Steve Mitchell, bassist extraordinaire, stayed on his bass most of the night, but he was all over the stage and tore it up like the rest of them.
A big thing that Rend Collective emphasized was that their concert was not a regular show. They were instead worshiping with the people who came to see them play. They brought this idea home when they played their song “Build Your Kingdom Here.” My friend, Hayley, who was among some friends at the concert with me said, after the show, that being able to worship and dance with the people around her was easily her favorite part of the night.
Rend Collective ended their final set at Northwestern with electric, rock based songs from their new album, complete with panda heads, that brought the atmosphere to a level of energy that sent the audience off into the night on a Jesus high. If you have not seen Rend Collective live, I would highly recommend it. Their live performance has easily become one of the top five I have ever seen.
Photo credit: Rend Collective twitter page