Gen X, Nottingham, Saturday 25th May 2002 concert review by Lukas Willcocks.
You know how life is! So busy trying to hold down paid employment, ducking as the (usually friendly) banter flies between your work colleges about your hypocritically unchristian character, reorganisng a missed band practice, groaning under the weight of another household issue, balancing your finances with your significant other (the inland revenue!), wondering if your old banger will ever get through the MoT, trying to love your friends and relatives let alone your enemies (yes, some of us lump them all together at times!), remembering to put out the recyclable waste products every 2nd Thursday of the month, choosing between 17 types of ice cream 12 and a half minutes before your guests arrive for Sunday lunch and then the phone rings... "Ah yes, Tony Cummings! Not heard from you in a long time... Fine, thanks... Cross Rhythms benefit gig... Nottingham...really? Ummm.... What five bands playing? Yes, er okay... mmmmbye!"
And with that parting "God bless you mate," Tony had done it again! Had God not saved him, maybe he'd be doing a roaring trade in sun hats with the tourists outside the often rainy international arrivals terminal of Heathrow airport! Okay, okay, you want to know what happened so you can relax in a world free from the usual cares...
Parking in Nottingham... oops! Sorry! I mean the gig! Yes, the sound check for local alternative rockers Sibling was in full swing as I arrived at the purpose built Gen X venue. This place is an amazing resource right in the heart of the city of Nottingham. It is linked to the Central Methodist Church on Lower Parliament Street and hosts all kinds of multi-media events for the youth as well as offering an excellent non-alcoholic bar and cafe area away from the maddening crowd.
Gen X host Chris Nicholls and his team of volunteers worked in conjunction with Phil Edmundson of Sibling to put together this musical extravaganza to benefit Cross Rhythms. All the bands agreed to allow all proceeds from this venture to go directly into Cross Rhythms ministry coffers.
The aforementioned four-piece rockers kicked off the evening with a firecracker of a set. Blasting through 30 minutes in what felt like 10 they played a number of tracks from their new EP 'rEPutation'. Their website www.sibling.co.uk is well worth your attention. Phil introduced each act and provided ample entertainment with pop quiz action and the occasional witticism!
Next up was Freddi Kofi - man can this guy sing! He performed with just an acoustic guitar and a few backing tracks but got the audience going with interactive singing. Listen carefully for a new recording tentatively titled 'Quiet Revolution' due out early next year. His rendition of the classic "I Believe I Can Fly" lifted many a low heart that night, (www.littlegiant.co.uk)
David Ellis, rapper and man of unique verse better known as Prodigal Son, entered the fray at 9:45pm and captured the heart of the event with his streaming verbosity describing the pains of the world we share but mixing it with the ultimate hope of salvation. Some raps induced congregational worship as he praised the Lord in a joyful way and in an acappella he described the life of a cousin deeply entangled in drug culture and its false promises of fulfillment. Pray for God's hand upon Prodigal Son's prison ministry (www.theprodigal.co.uk)
Elaine Hanley is perhaps best known for her amazing vocal talents with WWMT of Manchester. She filled the hall with soaring melodies as she performed some of her 'Listen To The Words' solo material which concluded with the beautiful "Jairus' Daughter". To hear more go visit: www.elainehanley.com
The latest Cross Rhythms video was shown on a giant screen and many enthused over its quality and moving testimony content.
Last but never least the ex-Durhamites but now Nottingham-based Coastal Dune finished off the evening in fine style. At present bassist-less but coping admirably, their sound has progressed markedly with the release of a new EP called 'Survive'. The set reflected the harder edge and greater diversity of the latest recording. The pace was set by drummer Nick Thorley and lead singer Becky Drake overcame initial PA difficulties to provoke at least two members of the crowd into a dancing frenzy! They even included a tribute to 1)2 with Andy Wolfe and Nick Drake dueling Edge-esque guitar parts (although Andy's weapon of choice was actually a keyboard!).
As you read this they are probably meeting record company executives in a valiant effort to secure a deal. They have featured on Emma B's terrestrial TV music show as well as won acclaim from literally hundreds of venues around the land. More can be grasped by surfing to www.coastaldune.co.uk Pray God gives them wisdom as they seek new pastures amongst the potential minefields of the mainstream music business.
So thanks Tony, Phil and Chris for a great way to avoid the ordinary life for three hours or so and support a worthy cause. Cross Rhythms has probably done more to support the grassroots heart of Christian music in the UK than any other organisation. The talent demonstrated here by the five excellent musical outfits shows their efforts are hugely appreciated.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.