One of Cross Rhythms' youngest reviewers Sarah Lawrence attended Spring Harvest at Skegness and filed this report.
Spring Harvest is a major event in any Christian girl's calendar. Okay, maybe not in every girl's but it is a pretty big thing for a lot of people. I was at Skegness Week 3 (Thursday 13th to Tuesday 18th April) and as a teenager was part of the iScape programme. It was amazing. The teaching was deep and thought provoking, the worship was inspiring and the evenings were filled with loads of fantastic bands both in the after hours but also in the evening celebration. It was for me a powerful and emotional week and I shall try to convey to you something of the music and performances I heard and saw.
Rex Allchurch Band
The Rex Allchurch Band led the worship in the iScape venue for the week. Their rock pop style is similar to many other worship leaders at the moment but instead of this being a drawback it prevented people from feeling uncomfortable and allowed them to be truly involved in the worship. West Sussex-based Rex, who led, was not forceful in his approach but gently encouraged us in our worship, introducing ideas appropriately and often allowing us to sing by ourselves unaccompanied by his vocals. The band were able to use a range of dynamics effectively which produced both powerful worship sessions where you could sing at the top of your lungs with no fear of being heard, and inspiring worship sessions which allowed meditation and relaxation. In addition they did not just stick to their own material but also used others'. The band's "Through Everything" did feature but they also used Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable" and Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name" as well as other well known worship songs. As a worship band they were exceptional and certainly more interested in leading us into worship than performing to us, a trait which in some worship leaders at Spring Harvest in the past has been missing.
Onehundredhours (Day 1 - 13th April)
An electric atmosphere filled the venue which led to an exciting and vibrant concert. Before we had entered the stewards had done a wonderful job, keeping our spirits high by starting a magnificent Mexican wave whilst we waited outside the venue in the chilly wind. Once inside groups of people randomly started to clap, an indication that the band would need to give very little encouragement to the audience in order to get them to participate in the evening. In fact the audience participation was immense, which is amazing for a Day 1 concert where participation is normally limited so this made the night all the more memorable. The Harpenden rockers' musical talents were staggering. Tori Sheppard's vocals were beautiful, though in some cases we were unable to hear her above the rest of the band, the result of a dodgy mike. However, despite being at the back of the group's formation she really owned her space. Onehundredhours' newest member, Stevie, also put in a stunning performance and produced some amazing guitar solos. The rest of the band also gave equally spectacular performances. There was a good mix of songs ranging from the energetic "Light It Up" to the mellower "Love Come Take Me Home". It was a fabulous evening that gave us a taste of some their new songs but also allowed us to join in with some of their older ones. It was a fabulous concert and the band did not detract anything from the God they were singing to, constantly reminding the audience why they were there.
LZ7 (Day 2 - 14th April)
Whenever I see Lindz West andhis collective perform I am always amazed by their sheer energy and passion. I also always seem to have to exit the building due to smoke machines setting of the smoke alarm. Yet despite this setback LZ7 produced a dynamic performance with an extremely powerful message. The free runners put on a stunning show and caused great excitement amongst those watching. Bryony's lovely voice added to the beauty of the songs whilst Lewis' dynamic performance added to the group's impressive energy. Lindz was excellent and really encouraged the crowd to participate it what was going on. The set included the catchy "Start Something", the party track "Jump2" and the challenging and chilling songs "Colour" and "Why". Both songs are challenging and tackle issues that are relevant to us today. "Colour" talks about the issue of racism whilst "Why" looks at poverty. Lindz explained to us the band's mission in prisons and talked powerfully about how those in prisons are told they are worthless, a mistake. However there was an extra element to this LZ7 gig. Lindz had promised us a treat and we certainly got one. Tim Owen came onto the stage and he and Lindz performed the old Tribe classic "Jumping In The House Of God". This caused a great reaction from the audience, as Lindz pointed out this was a one-off and we were indeed privileged to witness the performance of much loved oldie.
David Fitzgerald, Dave Bainbridge and friends from
Iona (Day 3 - 15th April)
Normally when you go to a concert the band come on the stage and start to play, but not this band. Whilst the audience were still talking amongst themselves the sound of rhythmic breathing could be heard and then a booming voice spoke. As it was talking the band slipped onto the stage and at its conclusion broke into the beautifully played "Flight Of The Wild Goose". For this piece David Fitzgerald played the sax but through the course of the evening he played a wide variety of woodwind instruments, each with an impressive display of skill and each with great beauty. Dave Bainbridge, from Iona, gave an equally stunning performance playing both keyboard and guitar magnificently whilst Frank van Essen, also from Iona, was mesmerising on the violin. Luke, who was playing bass and Andrew on keyboards also played with great skill and helped to build a concert filled with inspiring Celtic music. The evening was filled with a variety of splendid pieces all of which were fascinating as each piece has its own story and as you listen the story unfolds. "John - The Eagle" and "Luke - the Calf" described the nature of two of Christ's followers. The use of the saxophone gave the impression of John being a magnificent figure, whilst Luke was portrayed by a mournful flute. We were also given a flavour of the Orient through the song "Beijing" which was inspired by the events of 2nd June 1989 when Chinese student protestors were crushed by tanks. The piece was dramatic and had a chaotic feel to it. All the music was emotive, thought provoking and was dazzlingly beautiful.
Andy Flannagan (Day 4 - 16th April)
Spring Harvest is always full of spectacular performances but for me this was the best of the week. Andy Flannagan's performance was exquisite and thought provoking. He was accompanied by Daniel Warwick on the bass and Lucy Payne on the cello. All three played magnificently and with a passion that was greatly impressed on the audience. Many of the songs in the set were from Andy's next album and we were privileged to be amongst some of the first to hear these played. "Stars" was one such song. The deep sound of the music and the long notes were both dramatic and awe inspiring like the stars the song was named after. Another was a song titled "Fragile" which talked of the fragile nature of human life and was written in particular for a community Andy met which was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. It was a quieter, emotive piece with questioning lyrics which had a powerful effect on the audience. However it was not just a set of sorrowful songs, there were also plenty of energetic numbers too. "Drowning In The Shallow", again a new one, and "When Was The Last Time" from 'Advertising The Invisible' inspired the audience to clap along. Both songs were played with passion and skill. But the most impressive thing about the concert was how genuine a performer Andy Flannagan is.
Daniel Bedingfield (Day 5 - 17th April)
As Dave Steele walked onto the stage to bring the evening's sermon several hundred note books were whisked out to take notes on the wisdom he was about to impart. Suddenly offstage beat boxing could be heard and members of those congregated who had seen the culprit started to cheer, whilst the rest of us wondered what was going on. Then Dave Steele revealed all by inviting to the stage Daniel Bedingfield. The place erupted with noise. Those several hundred people who had previously brought out note books, plus a few more, brought out their mobile phones and cameras to take pictures of this man who walked amongst us full of energy. However, Daniel's primary reason for being there was not to sing, though indeed he did. He sang three songs, one whilst playing keyboards and the others whilst playing guitar, all of which were performed beautifully. His second song was the moving "Plains Of Asia", which he wrote when he was going through a bad time at the age of 15, which he performed emotively. This was followed a song about backsliding that seemed to be made up on the spot and was therefore light and entertaining particularly as the audience was encouraged to clap along. But his real reason for being there was to tell us about Stop The Traffik which he was clearly passionate about. Stop The Traffik was the charity of the week and is designed to raise awareness of and prevent people trafficking in the world today, including the West. It's an amazing cause and if you wish to find out more you should check out the website www.stopthetraffik.org.
tbc (Day 5 - 17th April)
The group of people waiting to watch tbc were of a variety of ages consisting of kids still at primary school, their parents and teens and it was great to see such a wide range of ages coming together to see the same band. The four girls who make up tbc gave a dynamic and enthusiastic performance. All four had stunning voices and the choreography was clever and impressive. Their set mainly consisted of energetic tracks, some of which required audience participation as well as one slower number. One song which required the audience to learn some dance moves was "Mind Your Head". It was a fast paced song which had some impressive choreography and which was greatly enjoyed by the majority of the audience. This was followed by the slower "Loved" which talks about God's love for us. Shell sung it beautifully and the powerful lyrics were filled with warmth as well as fitting in amazingly with some of the week's topics as a whole. The evening ended with "When I Get To Heaven", another cheerful number from the girls' self titled debut album. This also required the audience to participate actively. It was performed beautifully and provided an uplifting ending.
thebandwithnoname (Day 5 - 17th April)
This was the first time I'd seen thebandwithnoname's new line up. I was crammed in a building with masses of young people, which caused problems whenever we were told to sit down as there wasn't much space, yet despite this I was excited and eager to see what was in store. I wasn't the only one; the atmosphere was brimming with anticipation particularly as many had just seen tbc's performance. Many of the songs tbwnn performed were from the group's past two albums and it was strange to here the same lines coming out of different mouths, but there was some new material too. "Put Up The Vinyl" was the first of the new tracks to be performed. It was certainly different from their old style yet it seemed to lack something of the power of the hard hitting lyrics of the earlier material, however it still had a varied range of beats and a catchy tune. The other new tracks were "Shake It Down", which was a thought provoking reaction to rappers such as 50 Cent, and "Justified" in which Innervation Trust's two bands joined together in a dramatic finale. The most outstanding song of the set was the rendition of "The Best Thing" which was very moving and allowed members of the audience to worship God, plus it brought forth a stunning performance from the band members. The dancers were extremely talented and energetic and the rapping and singing were flawless. The new line up is definitely a success technically and do not lack energy but overall I was disappointed. What they really need is a complete overhaul of their set with more new songs.