SWC 2009 gathers the masses for another weekend of top Christian music.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Last year, Spirit West Coast hit Monterey County with arguably the most ambitiously full three days of Christian music the festival had seen in a decade. This year, a family of decorated Christian rock royalty is showing up – including tobyMac, Brandon Heath, BarlowGirl, Jeremy Camp, and David Crowder – to see if they can’t take the energy higher.
tobyMac looks like the type of middle-aged hipster you’d see scoping out cuties at clubs. Except this guy’s married with – count ’em – five children and more interested in bringing people to Jesus than pullin’ honeys. But don’t get it twisted: When it comes to the music tobyMac is on. He raps, sings, and cranks out harmonies that sound like a mash up of John Mayer and rock/rap group CrazyTown.
On the year of his third solo studio album, Mac found himself being named “one of the 50 most influential evangelistic leaders in America” by Christianity Today magazine. But in spite of the accolades, he remembers to keep it real: “People’s lives [are] being touched by this music because God is breathing through me,” reads his website. “This is why I continue to be passionate.”
A newly appointed “it” boy with mousy brown hair and startlingly blue eyes, Brandon Heath has been enjoying an extended reign atop the Contemporary Christian Music Charts. After swooping up a Dove Award (gospel music’s Grammy) for best new artist in 2008, Heath’s kept cranking out smooth beats and introspective lyrics against an all-American guitar backdrop. “One of the things that bothers me about this world,” notes Heath, “is that we’re all in this for ourselves.”
His latest hit, “Give Me Your Eyes,” explores this issue, asking to see people as God does, not as the world does.
BarlowGirl, a trio of hard rocking sisters, breaks up the boy’s club with almost heavenly harmonies and good looks to spare. After bursting onto the scene in 2004, the lovely Barlows (Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren) have taken the family act to new heights. “It’s awesome that we get to be in a rock band!” Alyssa told Contemporary Christian Music Magazine. “But, we know that we are ministers first.” Their music style and vocals sound similar to Evanescence, only with harder chords and tougher vocals.
In addition to more than 30 music acts, Spirit West Coast has a little something for everyone going on constantly. Riders can pull ollies in the skate park, climbers can get high (literally) on the rock wall, and ballers can shoot some hoops, all while scores of auxiliary entertainers, retailers and food vendors further feed the faithful.
SPIRIT WEST COAST happens July 29-Aug. 1 at Laguna Seca Campgrounds, 1025 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Salinas. $129/general event pass; $65/child 13 and under; $59/general day pass; $39/child 13 and under. For full schedule visit monterey.spiritwestcoast.org.