By Tanya Vazquez, 17, Downtown Magnets HS
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These guys rock. Tanya never expected a Christian band to have such a vibrant stage show and guitar-heavy sound.
Photos by Tanya Vazquez, 17, Downtown Magnets HS

Usually I don’t bother to listen to Christian music because when I hear the words “Christian” and “music” I think of choirs and people singing about God and religion. When my mom told me she had an extra ticket to a Christian rock concert featuring the group Kutless and asked me if I wanted to go, I accepted simply because I wanted to go out and have a little fun since I had been overwhelmed by school.

When we arrived around 7:30 at the Vault 350 in Long Beach on Oct. 12, I stood in front of the club, admiring the Roman architecture. When the bouncer opened the door, I stepped inside and noticed that the wood floor was shiny with polish, that the bar tables and stools were made of rosewood, and the bar looked really cool. Everyone there looked like a rocker, punk, Goth or skater. They didn’t look like Christians at all; at least not what I thought what Christians looked like. I was a little uneasy. I didn’t know what to expect at a Christian rock concert.

These guys don’t rock quite so much. Tanya said that The Tim Matson Band was too mellow for her taste.

A couple minutes later, the curtain pulled up and a band, which I thought was Kutless (later I found out that this was the Tim Matson Band) started playing. It was mostly a guy singing with a lady (who I later found out was his sister) while playing acoustic guitars. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t very heavy rock. Everyone seemed kind of bored during their 10-minute set but was appreciative and clapped courteously.

Then the curtains closed, and I thought that might be the end of the show. I noticed a lady with her two kids sitting on the floor and asked her if that was Kutless.  She told me that was one of the opening acts.

Since my mom and I weren’t sure where our seats were, I asked where the VIP seats were. The person who gave us the tickets, had made arrangements for VIP seating since he had planned to have dinner with his son during the show.

The hostess, who looked gothic, was really nice and gave us our choice of seats. We chose a table close to the stage, which had a full view. As soon as we sat down, the band Dunamis came on. The guitarist started to shred the guitar like crazy and it caught my ear immediately. It was amazing. This sounded like heavy metal and I always thought Christian music would be soft pianos and sappy ballads about praise. Dunamis sort of sounded like Arch Enemy. What was really sweet of the guitarist was when he announced that his mom was in the audience and that she just had a birthday. Everyone started to sing to her and they even put the spotlight on her. She turned really red and the band then kept playing for about five more minutes.

The next band, The Kry, was a pair of French-Canadians who now live in Chino Hills. They started preaching about God and everyone listened intently, except me.  I got really bored. I don’t like people preaching religion to me at all, let alone for 10-15 minutes.

They finished their last song and to my surprise, Dunamis’ lead guitarist and bass player were on the dance floor also waiting for Kutless. A lot of mainstream artists seem stuck up to me. But these guys were talking with people, signing autographs, giving hugs, and the lead guitarist even held a baby. I went up to the lead guitarist, Gideon, and said “hi,” then he said “hi” back and asked me what I thought of his band’s playing. I told him that it was OK but kind of ambient for me since I’m used to listening to bands like Black Sabbath, which are much heavier. He just laughed and went on to say that he agreed that Black Sabbath was heavier. I didn’t even expect him to know what Black Sabbath sounded like since he was Christian. I asked him if I could have his e-mail since I saw everyone around him and I didn’t want to take up any more of his time. Then we shook hands and I got chills down my spine.

Kutless came on and I went back upstairs and watched. As if the night hadn’t already been full of surprises, Kutless was just amazing. They were like really hardcore screamo and the lead singer was jumping around like crazy on stage. Mosh pits started everywhere on the floor level and I was glad we had a table. You could see everyone pushing each other, then Gideon started to crowd surf, then a few others followed and I couldn’t help but laugh. Halfway through their set, the lead singer decided to start preaching. I was annoyed because I didn’t want to hear any more preaching. When I go to a concert I want the band to play music, not preach. Once they got back to playing everything was smooth sailing. When we thought that the concert had finished and my mom and I went down the stairs to leave but then everyone was chanting “One more song, one more song” and the band came on again playing a couple more songs. I just stood there watching the crowd go wild.

The whole night was incredible and if given the chance, I would do it again. I think the biggest highlight for me was seeing that not all artists are stuck up. When I went back to school I had a new perspective and relieved from my school stress. A show that I had initially been apprehensive about because of the Christian factor ended up just fine. I learned to expect the unexpected.