On May 30th, 2012, JesusfreakHideout.com, in association with SBA, Inc., welcomed the Words and Worlds Tour to central Florida. The Sumter County Fair Grounds was home to the tour featuring two of Tooth and Nail’s biggest up and comers in Sent By Ravens and Nine Lashes. The bands started loading in their equipment and all of the production equipment around 10:30 am. With five different bands loading in along with a large box truck full of production and stage equipment, "busy" is an understatement for the scene at the fairgrounds early on.
Being there pre-show, before the bands started to arrive, and being involved in the process all the way until tear down, gave a completely different insight into the touring life for me. Though I’ve always been aware of what the process entails, you can never know just how much work really goes into set up night in and night out for an entire tour.
The stage setup itself was truly unique. It was designed and constructed by Tank and the other members of Nine Lashes and featured custom metal work all over the stage. The stage setup present for this tour was just a small form of a much more elaborate future plan. The stage design, accompanied by a unique light show and the typical rock show fog machines, made for a really nice looking stage show.
Failed Escape, a last minute addition to the tour after artist Cory Lamb had to back out, was first up on stage and featured the brother-in-law of members in Nine Lashes. Though their music wasn’t the most original, the Alabama band showed good energy and interacted well with the crowd. They clearly embraced the opportunity they had and performed quite admirably.
Second to the stage was The Protest. The band has recently gone through a name change (formerly Protest for Pluto) and a bit of an identity change musically. Singer Josh Bramlett informed me that band had made a commitment to be more dedicated to Christ in their life and in their music. With a much more aggressive sound than the previous act, The Protest took the stage. With an excellent live performance and a sound similar to that of The Showdown, The Protest got the energy up in the building and greatly appealed to the metalheads present.
Next up to the stage was the most unique act of the evening, Pure Star Movement. According to the group's Facebook page, they feature “4 black guys and 1 token white guy”. The bassist, known as Gizmo, wore a mask with blue LEDs in the eyes and bass guitar with strings that glowed green. The keyboardist had a laser glove and the drummer had a nice pair of light-up LED sunglasses (available for sell at the merch table!). The band’s sound is more alternative/hard-rock and the lead singer’s voice sounds a lot like Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust. Pure Star has an exceptional stage presence and, in between hard hitting rock songs, they played hip-hop beats. The band was definitely a crowd favorite, both on stage and after their set back at their merch table.
After the final touches were made for the next band to start, I took the stage myself to get the crowd pumped for the headliners, thank some special folks that made the event possible, and give a quick word about Jesus freak Hideout. The crowd showed a lot of love to the previous and up-coming bands and as I stepped down, the stage darkened.
The evening had finally led up the first of the tour’s co-headliners, Nine Lashes. The band emerged with great energy and got the crowd pumped all over again. The guys ripped through most of their Tooth and Nail debut and the attendees responded with jumping, singing, and moshing. Lead singer Jeremy Dunn took a moment to set up “The Afterglow” and told the story of loss that inspired the song. The most powerful part of the set, and the entire show really, was when the rest of the band exited the stage and Jeremy stood front and center alone. With stirring music playing in the background Jeremy laid out the gospel plain and simple for the entire crowd. He passionately and unapologetically spoke of God’s love, his necessity in our lives, and how to accept him as he led the audience in the sinner’s prayer. The remainder of the band rejoined the Dunn and Nine Lashes finished up a powerful and energetic set.
Finally, it was time for Sent By Ravens to take their turn. The band has a large following and it seemed a lot of them were in attendance. The energy and electricity in the air was at an all-time high. The group played through several songs from their newest album along with plenty of songs from their debut. While the music was excellent, the most entertaining part of the show was singer Zach Riner’s crowd interaction. In between each song, Zach would speak to the audience on a very personal level as he shared stories of his life, stories behind songs, and other personal anecdotes. The most intimate part of the set was when the band began playing “Best in Me” and everyone in attendance began to worship. This was an unexpected turn of events and was the most sincere worship experience at I rock show I had witnessed since the Supertones. After a strong chant from the crowd, SBR came back for one more song. An energized crowd and band rocked through one more song, and as the set finished, Zach gave a much appreciated shout out as he encouraged everyone to, “Check out Jesusfreakhideout.com”.
The entire event was an amazing experience. Everything from setting the date, promoting, set-up, the concert itself, etc, it was so much more than I ever could have anticipated. All of the bands were amazing to the staff and crew as well as all of the fans. They watched one another’s sets, hung out with fans at their merch tables, and witnessed to those who had questions about their faith. All-in-all, the evening was a huge success. A very special thanks again to JFH and everyone else involved in making this tour stop a triumph!-- Michael Weaver, 6/25/12
Pure Star Movement:
Sent By Ravens:
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