Out & Aboot: Christian rockers bring family-friendly tour to townWORTHINGTON — Rock concerts aren’t always considered the most family-friendly environment, but organizers of the Out & Aboot Tour featuring two Christian rock bands, Downhere and Rush of Fools, stress that the show is appropriate for all ages. The local event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in Worthington.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Rock concerts aren’t always considered the most family-friendly environment, but organizers of the Out & Aboot Tour featuring two Christian rock bands, Downhere and Rush of Fools, stress that the show is appropriate for all ages. The local event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in Worthington.
“Some previous concerts have been geared to young people — hard rock, rap — and a lot of families don’t want to bring little kids,” explained local organizer Pete Beerman. “This Sunday is going to be more of a worship night. This is a rally for families, and we want to make that clear, that families are welcome. Kids even as young as second or third grade on up would probably really enjoy the night. It’s rock ’n’ roll, but it’s worship-focused.”
Beerman is the founder of OneDropNation, an ecumenical ministry that meets weekly at BenLee’s Café in downtown Worthington.
“It’s a very laid-back worship and study youth ministry for any high school kids and college kids who want to come together on Saturday night,” Beerman explained. “It’s not associated with Journey, which also meets there, but is a non-denominational ecumenical youth ministry. What we really try to focus on in our mission statement is boldly awakening young people to the story of Jesus, not really dealing with a bunch of doctrine. We teach the Bible and worship a lot, and we love our music.”
OneDropNation is partnering with the Worthington Area Youth Ministers Association and local sponsors for Sunday’s concert event.
“We’ve always had the heart to bring more music into Worthington, so I brought the idea to the youth pastors association,” Beerman said. “We just thought if they could come on Palm Sunday, it would be a neat Sunday night to come, to get ready for the week of Easter.”
Beerman was especially pleased to secure the talents of Downhere and Rush of Fools, because their music fits with the atmosphere he wanted to create.
“Part of it was their hearts,” he said. “I’ve worked with several bands in the past — I’ve done youth ministry for 13 years, grew up here, went to high school in Fulda and moved away for 12 years — so I know quite a bit of Christian music, and they have the right mindset when it comes to a concert like this, so I wanted to snatch them up. It’s not hard rock; it’s stuff you can understand. And they’ll also do a worship set, not just the original stuff they’ve written, but some worship songs as part of the evening. It will be an opportunity for a family to worship together.”
Calling it the “Out & Aboot” Tour is a play on headliner Downhere’s Canadian roots. The band is promoting its latest album, “Ending is Beginning.”
“First of all, we’re not ending as a band, not by any stretch,” explained co-lead singer and guitarist Jason Germain about the album’s title. “But the title does reflect the idea of coming to the end of yourself, of letting what you can’t change be and letting God make His strength known in our weakness. Those things that we all experience, things that don’t seem to run true, He often uses to achieve His ultimate aims for us. God uses us in our weakness. He is closest to us when we most need him. We want to capture that idea in the work we’re doing now, so ‘Ending Is Beginning’ in many ways reflects of where we are as a band.”
Downhere emerged from the Canadian alternative rock scene with a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year, two subsequent Juno Awards for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year and Best Gospel Album, Canadian Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards for Rock Album of the Year and Rock Song of the Year and a Dove Award for Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year.
“Ending Is Beginning” is the group’s fourth album, one in which Germain and the band’s other lead singer and guitarist, Marc Martel, speak candidly about how they’ve handled struggles in life while also preparing for the triumph promised by their faith.
“With our previous album, ‘Wide-Eyed And Mystified,’ I think we found our sonic stride,” said Martel. “With ‘Ending Is Beginning’ we’re building on what we’ve discovered we really are. We’ve found the balance between Jason and me as lead singers.”
“But we’ve also changed in ways to reflect how the world is changing and how that relates to faith,” added Germain. “‘Ending Is Beginning’ is probably the most positive record we’ve ever recorded. It’s almost epic in its statement of hope. But that message is set against a backdrop of despair. There comes a point in anyone’s life when you realize that some of our wounds aren’t going to heal. Some of our problems won’t go away. There are always going to be temptations. I mean, hope has always been at the core of who we are, but it’s taken on a more complex form.”
Rush of Fools
“Wonder of the World” is the second full-length release for Rush of Fools, a Christian rock band that hails from Birmingham, Ala. Their self-titled debut album yielded “Undo,” which was ASCAP’s most-played Christian song in 2007.
“I think that compared to the last record, we actually had time to breathe,” said lead vocalist and songwriter Wes Willis about the second album. “We played hundreds of shows and wrote and sat and played together and worshiped together. All those things fed into this album, and I think we were able to write songs the same way we did last time and yet we found a new voice, a growth in ourselves and in our collaborations with our producers. We’re still a worship band, and we still love writing those kinds of songs.”
Willis is joined in the band by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Kevin Huguley, bassist Jacob Chesnut, drummer Jamie Sharpe and Jacob Blunt on electric guitar. Constant touring has been a big lifestyle change for a group of young guys who went from winning a national talent contest to landing a record deal, management deal and booking agreement in a short period of time. Their sound has been tagged as “progressive worship,” and they don’t hesitate to proclaim their faith boldly.
“People want to know the truth,” Huguley said in the band’s online biography. “Reality TV is the biggest thing right now. Everyone wants to know what’s real, and what’s real is that we are tainted. For far too long now, Christians have been scared to say that because we’ve got to put on our armor and look great in front of everybody. It just doesn’t work because it’s not real and honest. Our message is to tell the truth.”
Doors for the Out & Aboot Tour will open at 6 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. Reduced-price individual and group tickets are available in advance at BenLee’s Café, 212 10th St., Worthington; or by contacting Pete Beerman, (507) 360-0717; e-mail email@example.com.