It was the second last stop on the Good Monsters cross Canada tour. Redeemer University opened up their auditorium doors to veterans of the Christian music industry Jars of Clay along with special guests Leigh Nash and NEEDTOBREATHE. The crowd; was filled with young people who were excited to see one of their favorite bands back on Canadian soil.
Leigh Nash was first to take to the stage. Dressed casually in a white skirt, short jacket, and brown boots that came just past the ankle, Nash opened up the evening with "Ocean Size Love"; a new track off her latest release Blue on Blue. Backing her up was Dan Haseltine and Steve Mason from Jars of Clay. After singing her first song, she serenaded the crowd with the hit "Kiss Me" from her other successful musical path with the band Sixpence None The Richer.
After a short break, it was time for NEEDTOBREATHE to rock the stage. These four guys from a small town in South Carolina brought their rock and roll style to the crowd of over 500 in Ancaster, Ontario. With their great energy and solid musicianship, these guys set the stage for the headlining band.
After two talented bands, it was time for Jars of Clay to do their thing. The venue was black with the exception of the cracks of light peaking through the side stages. Fans of the multiple award-winning band grew louder with their cheering voices as they could see the shadows of the foursome walking out on stage. Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Steve Mason, and Matt Odmark along with two accompanying musicians opened up with a cover of "All My Tears" and followed it with "Work", and their title track "Good Monsters".
Jars of Clay balanced out the evening with a good mix of their past and present hits, including a favorite of mine "Love Song For A Savior". Hearing the guys sing this particular song reminded me of just how successful a career they have had. The fact that they have made music their full time careers for so many years assures me that these are four guys who know what they are doing, and passionate about pursuing it for however long they can.
Half way through the set, Leigh Nash joined Jars on stage to sing "Mirrors and Smoke", which she also sings with them on their CD. The blend of their voices was enjoyable. Jars carried on with two hours of great music and what should have only been a two-song encore, turned into a never-ending fan request session. It was great, and the guys didn't seem to mind that some of the requests were a bit of a stretch for them to remember. This portion of the night also made it evident that these are guys who love music and care about giving their fans what they want, even if it means forgetting the lyrics or chords to songs that have collected some dust. It made for a relaxing, chill concert.
It's no surprise that by their second last stop of the tour these artists would be worn out from all the traveling and singing, but these musicians love what they do and although I thought most of the energy from Jars of Clay came after their first half of their set list, the energy that may have been hidden in the first part of the night was well made up in the second.
A big part of this tour was the artist partnership with Blood: Water Mission founded by the guys of Jars of Clay. If you were at a show and missed what they were or you're curious about this non-profit organization, check out the site below
Writer: Matt Borrelli