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Relient K rocks Compassion to help with Haiti relief

Photograph by Kim Huddleston

Imagine standing in the crowd of a packed arena listening to ethereal gospel tunes swirling past your ears. There are students to the left of you with their hands raised high and one young woman murmurs, “Thank you, Jesus,” as a single salty tear runs down her cheek, spoiling her makeup. A man to the right of you collapses to the ground repenting for forgiveness of his sins and a prayer circle gathers as the music continues to play in the background.

Reality Check: This hyperbolic description of a “Christian concert” you just read is the exact opposite of how the philanthropic concert Compassion went. The only time hands were raised was when fists were pumped into the air in time with the songs and when people steadied their cameras above the thick crowd to snap pictures of Relient K.

The concert worked as a means to promote student involvement in helping with world issues such as child sex trafficking and Haiti relief. The concert was a solid success and brought out a large number of people in the audience.

There’s been a lot of debate floating around the Facebook groups and talk on campus about Compassion. Many people consistently expressed their disdain with Student Government for funding a “Christian” band to come and perform at our secular university. Overall, the event was tame in terms of presenting a Christian message. A speaker briefly discussed love and Jesus at the beginning of the event, but that was the extent of the message. The San Francisco band Jaymes Reunion opened for Relient K, as well.

Relient K mostly played songs from the new album, “Forget and Not Slow Down,” and a few performances of some older hits. The crowd seemed unresponsive to the music for a majority of the show, until the band played “Be My Escape” and some tracks from their B-side collection. The strongest response from the crowd jumped up during the band’s hit song, “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been.” The crowd jumped in time with the rhythm of the song, pumped their fists in response to encouragement from the guitarists, and sang in unison the lyrics of the song.

The band does not come off as preachy when it comes to live shows. Relient K only plays songs that allude to Christian themes, but the band hopes to spread a positive message regardless of someone’s religious beliefs. Bassist John Warne said, “I’d like to think and hope that our message is one of hope and redemption.”

Recently, Vocalist Matthew Thiessen worked with Adam Young of Owl City to create some nifty melodies and tongue-in-cheek lyrics on Young’s debut album, “Ocean Eyes.” Thiessen hopes to work with him in the future.

“It was a joy to work with him … He’s one of my best buds,” Thiessen said.

Compassion played out well as a fun concert to attempt to spread awareness on world issues and raise money for Haiti relief. The band played a great set and the acoustics in the amphitheatre were excellent quality.

The event did not talk about helping Haiti as much as I expected, since most discussion took place at informational booths prior to the show. The band showed enthusiasm for raising awareness and money for Haiti. Drummer Ethan Luck said, “It’s definitely humbling to do something like this for people who are less fortunate.”

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    UNF StudentFeb 23, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Of course they didn’t address Haiti all that much… this concert has been planned since well before the earthquakes in Haiti. Student Government was simply more than happy to take advantage of the disaster to promote their event.