Posts Tagged ‘Tree63’
…or bands making christian declarations or something…
so there are christian people out there who don’t listen to secular music. i don’t either…but by that i mean i don’t believe in secular music. i think it’s a myth. music can’t be sacred or secular – what i mean is, i don’t believe in distinguishing between the two.
case in point: i saw the kiffness music video on tv. i would have never guessed just from listening to that song or seeing the music video that those two guys are christian. the only way i know that they are is because at arise they said so, they give glory to God for their talents and they want to use them to bring him glory. that’s what makes a song “christian” i think, not that it says “Jesus” in it (cos there are songs out there that are supposedly christian but do not point people to Christ), but that it’s purpose is to bring glory to God.
but i can understand the other side of the coin. i would have never known the the kiffness where christian if they had not said so at arise…it could have just been another song. bringing me to the reason for this post – the whole “share the gospel always, use words when necessary” bit.
so listening to bands like showandtell/theater/other-hardcore-bands, i wouldn’t be able to tell that they are christian. not because their lyrics aren’t “christian”, but because i can’t really hear the lyrics. too much screaming, and throat-grunts for me to distinguish words. at arise on the 31st, i was getting coffee and there was a guy sitting there with the coffee dudes offering help to any and everyone.
him: “hey volunteers, what are you guys doing now?”
us: “nothing right now”
him: “oh, if you need any help any time today just let know cos i really have nothing to do and i’m really bored and would love to help”.
he said the same thing to the coffee guys, the food guys, and the merch guys. and i just thought, wow dude is really keen to help. we ended up talking to him and he turned out to be a really cool guy, and also of the guys from theater. later that day, getting another cup of coffee, i overhead him talking to another guy about why he chose being a musician over going into “full-time” youth ministry. and i thought, dang, i wanna be that amped for the kingdom!
during their set, the lead arrows chick gave this speech about how they’ve lost fans because christians say their music is less “repent or burn” and more…”secular”…just because it’s getting “serular radio airplay”. and she went on to explain that they were not any less christian than they were before (maybe more), they were not any less about glorifying God than they were before (maybe more), they just wanted their music to reach a wider group of people, to reach those people who would have otherwise turned their back to christ because they felt judged by the “repent or burn” music.
and i’ve already touched on the John Ellis leaving tree63 controversy so i won’t go into that one again.
the first time i heard new altum (now versus the wolf) i didn’t know they were a “christian band” cos i didn’t know the lyrics to their music. but then at some point during the show Rash shared that they were all christians and that their heart is to give glory to God and share the love of God and the hope it brings with others through their music. there were 2 chicks sitting behind me and the one goes “what? i didn’t know they were a christian band” and the other goes “but they are so good though”…which i thought was funny. but i loved the fact that the band was reaching those people who wouldn’t go to church or go to a christian concert and sharing Jesus with them. and that’s when i fell in love with that band. now i listen to new altum/vtw and totally hear the christian lyrics in there, but it’s written in a way that even a non-christian can listen to it and relate, and maybe thru that they will realise they also want that hope that the music speaks of.
soemone once said to me that they think christian bands shouldn’t be singing about relationships and heart-breaks and money and other worldly things…i think christian bands MUST sing about those things, because at the end of the day, christian or not, we are all human beings and we all go thru relationships and heartbreaks and worry about money, but as christians we have a hope in those circumstances and that’s we need to share with the world – meet them at their need and share with them the hope we’ve found.
i first heard about tree63 in 2003. that was the year i decided to stop listening to “secular” music (for about the third time since becoming a christian) and my radio was constantly dialed to CCFM (local christian music station). i really dug their stuff. and i found out they sang the wimpy song aka treasure (lol). then i found out they were south african. so i bought a bunch of their cd’s. and they quickly surpassed the OC Supertones as my favorite band.
anyway, i remember trying to go to one of their gigs when they were playing in cape town but i couldn’t go and i was so bummed…i think this was in ’05…i think. fast-forward to 2009 and i hear they are playing at assembly. now 2009 was the year i sealed my “groupie” status by attending as many live music stuff as i could. and this time i had friends who were also into live music watching so they were willing to tag along to stuff. so i got a couple of friends and we went to see tree63…except when we got there, it wasn’t tree63 playing…it was John Ellis and friends. i was kinda bummed to be honest. and i got more bummed when he said that he was leaving tree63.
but then he started the show and my bummed-ness was replaced by “on my word, john ellis is a living legend”-ness. he played the old tree stuff and the whole of assembly sang along at the top of our lungs. and he has amazing charisma on stage. and he makes playing seem like fun…like he’s enjoying himself up there. and he’s always interacting with the crowd. and the whole show was soooo much fun! and that’s when i became a john ellis fan. plus i’ve heard from certain people who know him that he’s a really humble and down-to-earth guy – i don’t know if he know that he’s John Ellis! (i’ll stick to “certain people” so it doesn’t sound like i’m name-dropping or pointing out the fact that I KNOW PEOPLE WHO KNOW JOHN ELLIS!)
then i saw that the end of the year he was playing at arisefest along with one of my favorite south african bands new altum (who are now called versus the wolf and have since becoming my favorite south african band since the release of their latest cd “uncovering faces”) and i was like “i have to be there!” anyway, i’ve written about that experience already so i won’t go into it again.
2010 saw john ellis release his solo cd “come out fighting” surrounded by a whole lot of controversy over his christianity (that sentences sounded like it was copied out of some magazine or something…eeewww). i was half amped for the cd and half scared. i really loved tree63, and i loved john ellis singing tree63 songs, i wasn’t sure about this new controversial, political, revolutionist john ellis. then i found out he’ll be playing here in stellenbosch to promote the cd and i was like – awesome, i get to hear the songs before deciding whether to buy the cd or not.
so i go on facebook and invite people to come with me to see john ellis in stellies (woo hoo it’s gonna be a vibe, come join me) and then the next day i find out that irvine will be supporting him on the cape town shows and i’m like “hells yeah that is happening!” cause i figure even if i don’t like john’s new stuff at least i get to hear irvine…again…for the second time in one week [side note: i also went to see them on tuesday (the 9th) doing an accoustic set with gravity wins again (gravity's back woo hoo!)] and they absolutely rocked. i think i love irvine more and more with every listen…yep, i definitely do!
anyway, so this past saturday (13th) i went to the purple turtle in cape town to check out john ellis’ new stuff – and mind = blown! i love the new stuff. it’s political and controvertial and jesus. feed the hungry, clothe the naked, water the thirsty, get off your fat ass and do something, “we did not fight in the revolution so that we can sit back and feed our already too large asses and go yes sir mr malema sir while watching the rich get richer and poor get poorer”, aluta continua kinda stuff. so now i seriously want that cd. i might have gone a little overboard with tweets while he was playing…i even had someone asking me where to get his cd…i should probably leave that stuff to him and his promoters.
and now i’m thinking about going to his Q&A Workshop for musicians and guitarists happening this tuesday (the 16th) – although i’m neither a musician or a guitarist (owning a guitar and teaching yourself a few songs doesn’t make you a guitarist just as singing in the worship team at church doesn’t make you a musician)…i just wanna pick his brain on the stuff he’s going through and dealing with and stuff – so maybe not the right time/place.
and i’m also thinking about going to see him again this saturday (20th) when he plays in stellies.
oh my flip, that man is a legend! check out his new stuff at http://www.johnellis.co.za
[update: i did not go the Q&A session...quite bummed...but now i'm very keen for the 20th]
so brett has this belief that worship events should be free. and in principle i agree, just dont know if it’s practically possible.
march 4th some friends and i went to go see the Jesus Culture crew do their thing. i really dig their songs, and they are quite easy to worship with and stuff and well, i think i’ve mentioned my connection with the song “how he loves us”, sloppy wet kisses and all.
anyway, the day before that we had cell group – we are working through the pastoral letters and that day we just happened to be looking at chapter 5 which, among other things, deals with pastoral wages and stuff. we had a really good debate around that, whether we should pay for worship events, whether there should be paid worship leaders, whether the verse only pertains to pastors and not other church-empoyeed people, how that, if it does, relates to the israelites and the levites, etc.
one of the questions raised was whether it was ok from a Jesus follower point of view to pass by a homeless person to go buy a ticket to a worship event…but then in the same way, is it ok to pass by a homeless person to go buy a meal from some super expensive restaurant when it’s cheaper to cook at home…or is it ok to buy a 3 bedroom house when there are homeless people on the streets…or is it ok to buy a guitar when there are children who might go without food tonight?
another point raised was on the fact that these worship events, or these “christian celebrities” can end up being the point of worship…in other words, you end up worshipping them instead of letting them be vessels of worshipping God. for instance, why on earth do we have christian music awards? really? worship song of the year? what – God liked that one out of all the others this year? and who are glorifying when we tell the songwriter that they had the best worship song of the year?
my thoughts on the whole worship should be free thing are: worship is free. you can’t pay for worship, it’s impossible. you can use your money to worship something, but you can’t buy worship…it’s something that happends internally. but at the same time, if i’m willing to pay R300 on a Muse concert (which i totally am…so love that band…especially live) then I should be willing to pay it for a worship event. again, i’m not paying for the worship, i’m paying for the event. I’m paying for the venue, I’m paying so that the sound guy and the technicians can get paid, and for flights and accormodation for the band and whatever else…that’s where my money is going right? I can’t say i’m paying for worship because, even without the money, worship can happen…and even with the money worship can not happen.
And i totally get the whole who are we worshipping vibe. but it’s not kim walker’s fault. she’s here to worship with her brothers and sisters in africa. and well, songwriting and touring and all that is her job and according to Paul she should get paid for it. The problem is not with the musicians, or the worship event itself. the problem is when we focus on who’s leading the worship instead of who we are worshipping. the problem is when we make the worship leaders celebrities instead of fellow workers in the vineyard. the problem is that we take our eyes off the ONLY one who’s truly deserving of our worship…Christ himself.
Having said that, I must admit that I’m a huge fan of the David Croder*Band and Tree 63 and New Altum and a few other bands out there. So not excluding myself from the whole celebratising of worship leaders. For instance, a couple of years ago the Passion crew (Louie Giglio et al) were doing a world tour with a cape town stop. i saw DC*B on the lineup and bought a ticket immediately. but then they pulled out…and I was really sad for a moment…and that got me thinking, am i going to the passion conference to hear DC*B or to worship God? And once that was resolved I had an awesome time worshipping God with 6000 other young people. Again same thing happened with New Altum and Tree 63 at Arise Fest. And each time God keeps reminding me where the focus should be.
Another stewardship goal: be a good steward of my yearning to worship. where am I laying my worship? whom am I putting before God? who/what do I worship instead of Him?
Dec ’09 – Jan 10 holidays
Holidays started at 5pm on December 22nd – last day of work for 2009. On the 23rd I moved my stuff out of my flat, but didn’t have keys to my new flat yet so I stashed my stuff in the Anderson’s garage…yay for church being church! then my sister and i boarded a bus and drove 12 hours to Thaba Nchu in the Free State to my grandmothers house, which is where i grew up. so many childhood memories…and yet my small little town keeps growing and i barely recognise some of the places anymore…guess that’s what happens when you don’t go home in 5 years. we spent Christmas in the Free State surrounded by my grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc…then on the 29th we boarded the bus again and headed to Howick, Kwa-Zulu Natal for “Arise Fest”. It should have been an 8 hr journey, but because of delays ended up being 14 hrs…oh, and actually the bus only took us as far as Peitermaritzburg (mouthful) and then my friend Katie picked us up from there and we went with her to Howick.
i generally don’t celebrate new year’s day/eve/whatever…for me it’s just another day/eve/whatever. i was born on april 4th, therefore for me the year ends on the the 3rd and starts on the 4th…of April, that is. i actually just prefer sleeping on the 31st rather than doing the whole count-down thing. i don’t mind going out on that night…but then it’s like a normal going out night. well, this year Arise Fest – a christian music festival – was organised from Dec 30 to Jan 1st so I decided to go because i’m a live music junkie – turned out to be the best thing i could have done. i was introduced to much new music…and they were all south african musicians/bands. anyway, i think i’m gonna take a break from buying international music and get more acquainted with the local scene.
as i said, it was a christian music festival so most of the bands i’d never even heard of…no christian music stations in my town…and they are local so they don’t get any airplay on TBN. i decided to go cos John Ellis (formally of Tree63) and New Altum (one of my favorite bands right now) were playing, but i was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by all the talent that i encountered. i’ll list the bands at the end of this post. Arise Fest was organised by Arise Ministries who apparently do a lot of youth events in KZN…check them out if you live in that area. anyway, so we brought 2010 in with worship, and i hope to daily live in worship till there are no more calendars to buy.
on Jan 1st we went with Katie back to her house for breakfast and oh my stomach! i usually don’t eat breakfast, but on that day i ate! such a feast! thank you so much to the Wirth’s for their hospitality and the lifts from the bus station to howick, and back again. again with church being church…love!
ok so noon’ish we boarded the bus once more and headed back to Free State. got there in the evening, went straight to bed and woke up to a very rainy, wet morning so stayed indoors the whole day. the next day – the 3rd – we loaded up the car and began our 9 hr trip to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. I then spent the next few days either sleeping, reading, or on the beach watching surfers do their thing. was super awesome. i have to say, Summerstrand beach in PE has sealed it’s place as my favorite beach i’ve been to so far (side note: summer strand beach? summer – english; strand – afrikaans for beach; summerbeach beach? and why the double language? anywho…) the highlight of PE though, has to be when I got to watch my cousin and his band (New Afro Teens) open for an international artist – Puff Johnson, whom I don’t know but apparently she’s big on the R & B scene…but yea, my cuz (Melikhaya) has a VOICE!!! Talent in that kid! Anyway, early on the morning of the 10th of Jan my mom and I packed up our bags, said goodbye to my dad, sister and brother and headed back to the Western Cape, she to Cape Town, I to Stellenbosch. another 9 hr trip – of which I drove 6 hrs. I then moved some of my stuff into the new flat, met my new flatmates and…well, the rest – as they say – is chemistry.
List of Bands from Arise Fest
the more church-worshippy vibes
John Ellis (love love love John Ellis live, he makes being on stage look fun…but then he dissed me and my sister in front of hundreds of people – not cool, Johnny, not cool)
5 Fold(have heard Brad Klynsmith’s solo stuff before and still love “let me found…” and “Majesty”)
Hilton Greig Band
Harbourlight (bagged me a new autographed cd and they provided me with a soundtrack to my drive from PE to Stell)
Tracing Sunday (lead singer/guitarist is also lead for Arise Band and was main organiser for the festival if i’m not mistaken)
Arise Band (played us into the new year which was awesome. i would have been bummed if they had stopped to do the countdown cos…worshipping is so much more yay than changing a calendar!)
the more hardcore stuff
New Altum (bagged me a pin…and a future_glasses tank – read about future_glasses here)
Show and Tell (the event managers had to stop their set cos things got kinda out of hand in the mosh pit and things were being thrown and hecticness)
for the less hardcore rock lovers among us
Coals of Juniper (instrumental)
the Ranks (bagged me a new t-shirt)
for the dancing fools
and the hip-hoppers
The accoustic sessions:
Arlyn Culwick (accompanied by Stephen Wirth) – Arlyn’s voice is UH-MAZING!!! Wow! Also, got a cd of him covering Donovan’s “Young but growing”.
Miles – his guitaring left me speechless…oh my wowness!!!
Molly And I – who were also the Ranks, with lead/drummer switching and bassist and keyboardist switching…classic.
Crossingpoint (another hardcore one) was on the line-up but ended up not playing because the first night things went on way past the planned stopping time (i heard some people from another camp next to us came and complained about the noise and the lateness)…but it’s all good cos they sent me a tweet and apologised for not playing (shweeet!!!)
- Did I leave out anyone?
Anyway, I tweeted about Arise as much as I could and took as many pics as I could before the battery on my phone gave out on me so if you’re on twitter search for #arisefest. I also posted a few pics on my flickr page.
i want more…so much more…
not more money, not a bigger house, not more things…
i want more love…i wanna love more, i want more of Christ, i wanna do more for the kingdom, i wanna see more miracles, i wanna see more “full stomachs and both parents and a Church that acts like it really believes that the good news is good news for everybody everywhere”
[side note: went to a Tree63 concert last weekend and still on a high from seeing John Ellis do his thing, hence the "revolution" reference]
problem is, it all feels so pointless…i jealously want to do stuff. i hear about the Mission Year stuff and I think “oh, i wish i was doing that”, i hear about a certain tour happening next year and I think “oh, i wish i was doing that”, i hear about people doing things in the K and in other townships around south africa and I think “oh, i wish i was doing that”, i hear about people doing stuff to take a stand against human trafficking and I think “oh, i wish i was doing that”, i hear about people going to zim and I think “oh, i wish i was doing that”…
the problem is i sit there and i wish i was doing all that but i don’t do that…i just sit and wish…which helps no one…
if i doubted the fact that the chair i’m sitting on could hold me i wouldn’t sit on it.
when i doubt that God can hear my prayers i pray to him to help my unbelief.
if i doubted the credibility of what someone was saying i wouldn’t believe them…plain and simple.
when i doubt whether God is still walking with me as his Word says he is, i ask him to help me feel him…cos i know that although i don’t feel him around, he’s still there.
christianity is so weird…beautifully weird…with all it’s twisted logic.
if someone kept stabbing me in the back over and over again, i, as a human being, would not keep forgiving him over and over again…and yet he does…and that’s what makes him God
That is the beauty of grace!
It’s like the song says [Beauty of Grace by Krystal Meyers (chorus)]
But anywhere you are
Is never too far away
There’s freedom from your scars
The mistakes that you’ve made
The memories erased
Baby, that’s the beauty of grace
The song that so perfectly describes me right now [Prodigal by OneRepublic (chorus)]
And I take everything from you
But you’ll take anything
Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don’t you wait for me
Don’t you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me
So glad that he’s God
So glad he’s nothing like me
So glad he loves me nomatter what I do
So glad he doesn’t get tired of forgiving and loving
So glad he allows me to be his
So Glad by Tree63 (chorus)
I’m just so glad that what I can’t you can,
and where I end that where you begin
What if Jesus really meant what he said to the rich young man when he told him to “go sell all his posessions, give the money to the poor, and come follow me”. That’s the question Shane Clairborn asks in his book “Irresistible Revolution”. It was probably one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. Made me think about my walk with Christ. Made me want to be a follower of Christ. Now I’m not saying I’m gonna sell all my posessions (not that I have a lot of them anyway) and be poor, but it means letting the things that break God’s heart break mine. Jesus wasn’t too concerned with the rich and religious people of his day – I mean he did want them to see the light of course, but his main purpose is seen in the people he chose to reside with, the broken, poor, and untouchables. The people society had rejected. As he said, its the sick that need a doctor not those that think they are healthy.
Jesus could have chose to come into this world into a royal family – and maybe more people would have been his followers then (no matter how shallow their following would be) but he chose to come into the world in a manger as the son of a carpenter and become homeless with “no place to rest his head”. Makes you think…
We live in plenty. There’s more than enough for what the world needs but not for our greed. –quote from Mother Theresa paraphrased by John Ellis in the song Revolution (Sunday, Tree63 – and by the way that is my favorite band if you ever feel like giving me a little prezzie).
What would the world look like if we all unselfishly shared what we had with our neighbor? This is what the early church was all about. This thought kinda follows on my train of thought on living in community – real ubuntu, or at least my understanding of it. It looks really beautiful in my head.
Matther 25: 34 – 36 and 40 gives us a very practical way to live church and to live all out for Christ. Isaiah 58: 6 – 8 tells us how to let our lights shine before all men that they may see our good works and praise our Father in heaven.
I have fallen in love with 2 songs that talk about this topic – I’ll just give you a little taste.
search my heart and make it clean
open up my eyes to the things unseen
show me how to love like you have loved me
break my heart for what breaks yours
everthing i am for your kingdom’s cause
as i walk from earth into eternity
freely we’ve recieved now freely we will give
we must go live to feed the hungry stand beside the broken
we must go stepping forward keep up from just singing
move us into action, we must go
I had a revelation the other day – thanks to a friend of mine (Josh Ratiani). For a while my mindset was, live all out for Christ cos if you do then you’ll be covered even if Christianity turns out to be a hoax. Think about it: you’ll be ok with Allah cos you’re a good person, you’ll get to come back as something really good cos you’ll have good karma build up if bhuddism turns out to be true, etc. Here’s the revelation: live so all out for Jesus that if you were to die and find out its all a lie you would want a do over. Paul says we should live our lives so much for Christ that if Christianity is a hoax we should be pitied above all others. In a sense we should live our lives so all out for Christ that even if we are good with Allah, we should look back and say “dude, in that time I was serving JC, I could have [fill in whatever here]“. So that’s my goal: to let my light shine, to do for the least of these, and to recklessly abandon my life to him.
I am gonna need lots of prayer.
The link, by the way, leads you to Josh’s blog. If you have questions on the topic of “God of Justice” I would refer you to him cos that is his passion so i’m sure he’ll have something to say on it. He has unknowingly been instrumental in my spiritual growth in the last year and 4 months that I’ve known him. So yea, even though he’s not gonna read this: thanx Josh.