One of the hottest names in praise music these days is Casting Crowns, from Atlanta, GA. Tonight, they visited Århus, and I had the privilege of bringing one of my best friends to a wonderful “concert”.
And I put concert in quotation marks, for seldom do you experience prayer and preaching from the big stage at Århus Music Hall. Seldom do people give their lives to Jesus in that spot, which is the city’s main venue for classical music and entertainment (which means that I have now performed in the same venue as CC :). But this happened tonight, and I’m guessing also the night before – the concert was an extra, since the first one sold out in almost no time.
Not to say that the music wasn’t great. Casting Crowns are known for hits such as Lifesong and Who Am I, the latter played in an acoustic version that gave the audience ample opportunity to hear each other. Their music is mostly hard rock, with resemblances to Third Day and Nickelback (both personal favorites). Tonight’s set was wonderfully played; I love the feeling of being surrounded by music (this requires a volume that my neighbors usually wouldn’t appreciate). The heavy-rock, up-tempo rendering of Hillsong classic My Redeemer Lives was interesting in a good way, but for me especially “Praise You In This Storm” from Casting Crown’s self-titled first album was chilling.
What really tied the night together, though, were the heart-felt comments by band leader (and youth pastor) Mark Hall. There are no rock stars, he said, we’re here to praise Jesus. And amazingly, I believe the humility is honest. Casting Crowns are an awesome band, but they also came to Århus with a purpose – and delivered.